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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism

Feminism
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"Feminists" redirects here. For other uses, see Feminists (disambiguation).

International Women's Day rally in Dhaka, Bangladesh, organized by the National Women Workers Trade
Union Centre on 8 March 2005.

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Feminist philosophy

Major works

 A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)

 The Subjection of Women (1869)

 The Second Sex (1949)

 Gender Trouble (1990)

Notable theorists

 Mary Wollstonecraf ·

 Simone de Beauvoir · Judith Butler

Important concepts

 Feminism

 Gender

 Equality

 Performativity

 v
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 t

 e

Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and


defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.[1][2] This includes seeking to
establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or
supports the rights and equality of women.[3]

Feminist theory, which emerged from these feminist movements, aims to understand the nature
of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; it has developed
theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues such as the social construction of
sex and gender.[4][5] Some of the earlier forms of feminism have been criticized for taking into
account only white, middle-class, educated perspectives. This led to the creation of ethnically
specific or multiculturalist forms of feminism.[6]

Feminist activists campaign for women's rights – such as in contract law, property, and voting –
while also promoting bodily integrity, autonomy, and reproductive rights for women. Feminist
campaigns have changed societies, particularly in the West, by achieving women's suffrage,
gender neutrality in English, equal pay for women, reproductive rights for women (including
access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property.[7][8]
Feminists have worked to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment,
and sexual assault.[9][10][11] They have also advocated for workplace rights, including maternity
leave, and against forms of discrimination against women.[7][8][12] Feminism is mainly focused on
women's issues, but because feminism seeks gender equality, the author bell hooks and other
feminists have argued that men's liberation is a necessary part of feminism and that men are also
harmed by sexism and gender roles.[13]

Contents
 1 Theory
 2 Movements and ideologies

o 2.1 Political movements

o 2.2 Materialist ideologies

o 2.3 Black and postcolonial ideologies

o 2.4 Social constructionist ideologies

o 2.5 Cultural movements

 3 History

o 3.1 Nineteenth and early twentieth centuries


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o 3.2 Mid-twentieth century

o 3.3 Late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries

 3.3.1 Third-wave feminism

 3.3.2 Standpoint feminism

 3.3.3 Post-feminism

 4 Feminism and sexuality

o 4.1 Sex industry

 4.1.1 Pornography

 4.1.2 Prostitution and trafficking

o 4.2 Affirming female sexual autonomy

 5 Feminism and science

o 5.1 Biology and gender

 6 Feminist culture

o 6.1 Architecture

o 6.2 Visual arts

o 6.3 Literature

o 6.4 Music

 7 Relationship to political movements

o 7.1 Socialism

o 7.2 Fascism

o 7.3 Civil rights movement and anti-racism

 8 Societal impact

o 8.1 Civil rights

o 8.2 Language

o 8.3 Theology

o 8.4 Patriarchy

o 8.5 Men and masculinity


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 9 Reactions

o 9.1 Pro-feminism

o 9.2 Anti-feminism

 10 See also

 11 References

 12 Further reading

 13 External links

o 13.1 Articles

o 13.2 Listings

o 13.3 Tools

o 13.4 Multimedia and documents

Theory
Main article: Feminist theory

See also: Gynocriticism and écriture féminine

Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical fields. It


encompasses work in a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, economics,
women's studies, literary criticism,[14][15] art history,[16] psychoanalysis[17] and philosophy.[18][19]
Feminist theory aims to understand gender inequality and focuses on gender politics, power
relations, and sexuality. While providing a critique of these social and political relations, much of
feminist theory also focuses on the promotion of women's rights and interests. Themes explored
in feminist theory include discrimination, stereotyping, objectification (especially sexual
objectification), oppression, and patriarchy.[4][5]

In the field of literary criticism, Elaine Showalter describes the development of feminist theory
as having three phases. The first she calls "feminist critique", in which the feminist reader
examines the ideologies behind literary phenomena. The second Showalter calls "gynocriticism",
in which the "woman is producer of textual meaning". The last phase she calls "gender theory",
in which the "ideological inscription and the literary effects of the sex/gender system are
explored".[20]

This was paralleled in the 1970s by French feminists, who developed the concept of écriture
féminine (which translates as 'female or feminine writing').[21] Helene Cixous argues that writing
and philosophy are phallocentric and along with other French feminists such as Luce Irigaray
emphasize "writing from the body" as a subversive exercise.[21] The work of Julia Kristeva, a
feminist psychoanalyst and philosopher, and Bracha Ettinger,[22] artist and psychoanalyst, has
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influenced feminist theory in general and feminist literary criticism in particular. However, as the
scholar Elizabeth Wright points out, "none of these French feminists align themselves with the
feminist movement as it appeared in the Anglophone world".[21][23]

Movements and ideologies


Main article: Feminist movements and ideologies

Many overlapping feminist movements and ideologies have developed over the years.

Political movements

Some branches of feminism closely track the political leanings of the larger society, such as
liberalism and conservatism, or focus on the environment. Liberal feminism seeks individualistic
equality of men and women through political and legal reform without altering the structure of
society. Radical feminism considers the male-controlled capitalist hierarchy as the defining
feature of women's oppression and the total uprooting and reconstruction of society as necessary.
[9]
Conservative feminism is conservative relative to the society in which it resides. Libertarian
feminism conceives of people as self-owners and therefore as entitled to freedom from coercive
interference.[24] Separatist feminism does not support heterosexual relationships. Lesbian
feminism is thus closely related. Other feminists criticize separatist feminism as sexist.[13]
Ecofeminists see men's control of land as responsible for the oppression of women and
destruction of the natural environment; ecofeminism has been criticised for focusing too much
on a mystical connection between women and nature.[25]

Materialist ideologies

Rosemary Hennessy and Chrys Ingraham say that materialist feminisms grew out of Western
Marxist thought and have inspired a number of different (but overlapping) movements, all of
which are involved in a critique of capitalism and are focussed on ideology's relationship to
women.[26] Marxist feminism argues that capitalism is the root cause of women's oppression, and
that discrimination against women in domestic life and employment is an effect of capitalist
ideologies.[27] Socialist feminism distinguishes itself from Marxist feminism by arguing that
women's liberation can only be achieved by working to end both the economic and cultural
sources of women's oppression.[28] Anarcha-feminists believe that class struggle and anarchy
against the state[29] require struggling against patriarchy, which comes from involuntary
hierarchy.

Black and postcolonial ideologies

Sara Ahmed argues that Black and Postcolonial feminisms pose a challenge "to some of the
organizing premises of Western feminist thought."[30] During much of its history, feminist
movements and theoretical developments were led predominantly by middle-class white women
from Western Europe and North America.[31][32][33] However women of other races have proposed
alternative feminisms.[32] This trend accelerated in the 1960s with the civil rights movement in
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the United States and the collapse of European colonialism in Africa, the Caribbean, parts of
Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Since that time, women in developing nations and former
colonies and who are of colour or various ethnicities or living in poverty have proposed
additional feminisms.[33] Womanism[34][35] emerged after early feminist movements were largely
white and middle-class.[31] Postcolonial feminists argue that colonial oppression and Western
feminism marginalized postcolonial women but did not turn them passive or voiceless.[6] Third-
world feminism is closely related to postcolonial feminism.[33] These ideas also correspond with
ideas in African feminism, motherism,[36] Stiwanism,[37] negofeminism,[38] femalism, transnational
feminism, and Africana womanism.[39]

Social constructionist ideologies

In the late twentieth century various feminists began to argue that gender roles are socially
constructed,[40][41] and that it is impossible to generalize women's experiences across cultures and
histories.[42] Post-structural feminism draws on the philosophies of post-structuralism and
deconstruction in order to argue that the concept of gender is created socially and culturally
through discourse.[43] Postmodern feminists also emphasize the social construction of gender and
the discursive nature of reality,[40] however as Pamela Abbot et al. note, a postmodern approach to
feminism highlights "the existence of multiple truths (rather than simply men and women's
standpoints)."[44]

Cultural movements

Riot grrrl (or riot grrl) is an underground feminist punk movement that started in the 1990s and is
often associated with third-wave feminism. It was grounded in the DIY philosophy of punk
values. Riot grrls took an anti-corporate stance of self-sufficiency and self-reliance.[45] Riot grrrl's
emphasis on universal female identity and separatism often appears more closely allied with
second-wave feminism than with the third wave.[46] The movement encouraged and made
"adolescent girls' standpoints central," allowing them to express themselves fully.[47] Lipstick
feminism is a cultural feminist movement that attempts to respond to the backlash of second-
wave radical feminism of the 1960s and 1970s by reclaiming symbols of "feminine" identity
such as make-up, suggestive clothing and having a sexual allure as valid and empowering
personal choices.[48][49]

History
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Feminist Suffrage Parade in New York City, 6 May 1912.

Main article: History of feminism

See also: Protofeminism

Charles Fourier, a Utopian Socialist and French philosopher, is credited with having coined the
word "feminism" in 1837.[50] The words "feminism" and "feminist" first appeared in France and
the Netherlands in 1872,[51] Great Britain in the 1890s, and the United States in 1910,[52][53] and
the Oxford English Dictionary lists 1894 as the year of the first appearance of "feminist" and
1895 for "feminism".[54] Depending on historical moment, culture and country, feminists around
the world have had different causes and goals. Most western feminist historians assert that all
movements that work to obtain women's rights should be considered feminist movements, even
when they did not (or do not) apply the term to themselves.[55][56][57][58][59][60] Other historians assert
that the term should be limited to the modern feminist movement and its descendants. Those
historians use the label "protofeminist" to describe earlier movements.[61]

The history of the modern western feminist movements is divided into three "waves".[62][63] Each
wave dealt with different aspects of the same feminist issues. The first wave comprised women's
suffrage movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, promoting women's right to
vote. The second wave was associated with the ideas and actions of the women's liberation
movement beginning in the 1960s. The second wave campaigned for legal and social equality for
women. The third wave is a continuation of, and a reaction to, the perceived failures of second-
wave feminism, beginning in the 1990s.[64]

Nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Main article: First-wave feminism

First-wave feminism was a period of activity during the nineteenth century and early twentieth
century. In the UK and US, it focused on the promotion of equal contract, marriage, parenting,
and property rights for women. By the end of the nineteenth century, activism focused primarily
on gaining political power, particularly the right of women's suffrage, though some feminists
were active in campaigning for women's sexual, reproductive, and economic rights as well.[65]
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Louise Weiss along with other Parisian suffragettes in 1935. The newspaper headline reads "The
Frenchwoman Must Vote."

Women's suffrage began in Britain's Australasian colonies at the close of the 19th century, with
the self-governing colonies of New Zealand granting women the right to vote in 1893 and South
Australia granting female suffrage (the right to vote and stand for parliamentary office) in 1895.
This was followed by Australia granting female suffrage in 1902.[66][67]

In Britain the Suffragettes and the Suffragists campaigned for the women's vote, and in 1918 the
Representation of the People Act was passed granting the vote to women over the age of 30 who
owned houses. In 1928 this was extended to all women over twenty-one.[68] In the U.S., notable
leaders of this movement included Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B.
Anthony, who each campaigned for the abolition of slavery prior to championing women's right
to vote. These women were influenced by the Quaker theology of spiritual equality, which
asserts that men and women are equal under God.[69] In the United States, first-wave feminism is
considered to have ended with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution (1919), granting women the right to vote in all states. The term first wave was
coined retroactively to categorize these western movements after the term second-wave feminism
began to be used to describe a newer feminist movement that focused as much on fighting social
and cultural inequalities as political inequalities.[65][70][71][72][73]

During the late Qing period and reform movements such as the Hundred Days' Reform, Chinese
feminists called for women's liberation from traditional roles and Neo-Confucian gender
segregation.[74][75][76] Later, the Chinese Communist Party created projects aimed at integrating
women into the workforce, and claimed that the revolution had successfully achieved women's
liberation.[77]

According to Nawar al-Hassan Golley, Arab feminism was closely connected with Arab
nationalism. In 1899, Qasim Amin, considered the "father" of Arab feminism, wrote The
Liberation of Women, which argued for legal and social reforms for women.[78] He drew links
between women's position in Egyptian society and nationalism, leading to the development of
Cairo University and the National Movement.[79] In 1923 Hoda Shaarawi founded the Egyptian
Feminist Union, became its president and a symbol of the Arab women's rights movement.[79]

The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in 1905 triggered the Iranian women's movement, which
aimed to achieve women's equality in education, marriage, careers, and legal rights.[80] However,
during the Iranian revolution of 1979, many of the rights that women had gained from the
women's movement were systematically abolished, such as the Family Protection Law.[81]

Photograph of American women replacing men fighting in Europe, 1945


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In France, women obtained the right to vote only with the Provisional Government of the French
Republic of 21 April 1944.[82] The Consultative Assembly of Algiers of 1944 proposed on 24
March 1944 to grant eligibility to women but following an amendment by Fernand Grenier, they
were given full citizenship, including the right to vote.[82] Grenier's proposition was adopted 51 to
16.[82] In May 1947, following the November 1946 elections, the sociologist Robert Verdier
minimized the "gender gap," stating in Le Populaire that women had not voted in a consistent
way, dividing themselves, as men, according to social classes.[82] During the baby boom period,
feminism waned in importance.[82] Wars (both World War I and World War II) had seen the
provisional emancipation of some, individual, women, but post-war periods signaled the return
to conservative roles.[82]

Mid-twentieth century

By the mid 20th century, in some European countries, women still lacked some significant rights.
Feminists in these countries continued to fight for voting rights. In Switzerland, women gained
the right to vote in federal elections only in 1971,[83] and in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden
women obtained the right to vote on local issues only in 1991, when the canton was forced to do
so by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.[84] In Lichtenstein, women were given the right
to vote in 1984 by Liechtenstein women's suffrage referendum, 1984. Three prior referendums
held in 1968, 1971 and 1973 had failed to secure women's right to vote.

Feminists continued to campaign for the reform of family laws which gave husbands control
over their wives. Although by the 20th century coverture had been abolished in the UK and the
US, in many continental European countries married women still had very few rights. For
instance, in France married women received the right to work without their husband's permission
in 1965.[85][86] Feminists have also worked to abolish the "marital exemption" in rape laws which
precluded the prosecution of husbands for the rape of their wives.[87] Earlier efforts by first wave
feminists such as Voltairine de Cleyre,Victoria Woodhull and Elizabeth Clarke Wolstenholme
Elmy to criminalize marital rape in the late 19th century had failed,[88][89] this was only achieved a
century later in most Western countries, but is still not achieved in many other parts of the world.
[90]

French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir provided a Marxist solution and an existentialist view
on many of the questions of feminism with the publication of Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second
Sex) in 1949.[91] The book expressed feminists' sense of injustice. Second-wave feminism is a
feminist movement beginning in the early 1960s[92] and continuing to the present; as such, it
coexists with third-wave feminism. Second wave feminism is largely concerned with issues of
equality other than suffrage, such as ending discrimination.[65]

Second-wave feminists see women's cultural and political inequalities as inextricably linked and
encourage women to understand aspects of their personal lives as deeply politicized and as
reflecting sexist power structures. The feminist activist and author Carol Hanisch coined the
slogan "The Personal is Political", which became synonymous with the second wave.[9][93]
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Second and third-wave feminism in China has been characterized by a re-examination of


women's roles during the communist revolution and other reform movements, and new
discussions about whether women's equality has actually been fully achieved.[77]

In 1956, President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt initiated "state feminism", which outlawed
discrimination based on gender and granted women's suffrage, but also blocked political activism
by feminist leaders.[94] During Sadat's presidency, his wife, Jehan Sadat, publicly advocated
further women's rights, though Egyptian policy and society began to move away from women's
equality with the new Islamist movement and growing conservatism.[95] However, some activists
proposed a new feminist movement, Islamic feminism, which argues for women's equality within
an Islamic framework.[96]

In Latin America, revolutions brought changes in women's status in countries such as Nicaragua,
where feminist ideology during the Sandinista Revolution aided women's quality of life but fell
short of achieving a social and ideological change.[97]

Late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries

Third-wave feminism

In the early 1990s in the USA, third-wave feminism began as a response to perceived failures of
the second wave and to the backlash against initiatives and movements created by the second
wave. Third-wave feminism seeks to challenge or avoid what it deems the second wave's
essentialist definitions of femininity, which, they argue, over-emphasize the experiences of upper
middle-class white women. Third-wave feminists often focus on "micro-politics" and challenge
the second wave's paradigm as to what is, or is not, good for women, and tend to use a post-
structuralist interpretation of gender and sexuality.[65][98][99][100] Feminist leaders rooted in the
second wave, such as Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, Chela Sandoval, Cherrie Moraga, Audre
Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and many other black feminists, sought to negotiate a space
within feminist thought for consideration of race-related subjectivities.[31][99][101] Third-wave
feminism also contains internal debates between difference feminists, who believe that there are
important differences between the sexes, and those who believe that there are no inherent
differences between the sexes and contend that gender roles are due to social conditioning.[102]

Standpoint feminism

Since the 1980s, standpoint feminists have argued that the feminist movement should address
global issues (such as rape, incest, and prostitution) and culturally specific issues (such as female
genital mutilation in some parts of Africa and the Middle East, as well as glass ceiling practices
that impede women's advancement in developed economies) in order to understand how gender
inequality interacts with racism, homophobia, classism and colonization in a "matrix of
domination."[32][103]

Post-feminism
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The term post-feminism is used to describe a range of viewpoints reacting to feminism since the
1980s. While not being "anti-feminist", post-feminists believe that women have achieved second
wave goals while being critical of third wave feminist goals. The term was first used to describe
a backlash against second-wave feminism, but it is now a label for a wide range of theories that
take critical approaches to previous feminist discourses and includes challenges to the second
wave's ideas.[21] Other post-feminists say that feminism is no longer relevant to today's society.
[104]
Amelia Jones has written that the post-feminist texts which emerged in the 1980s and 1990s
portrayed second-wave feminism as a monolithic entity.[105] Dorothy Chunn notes a "blaming
narrative" under the postfeminist moniker, where feminists are undermined for continuing to
make demands for gender equality in a "postfeminist" society, where "gender equality has
(already) been achieved." According to Chunn, "many feminists have voiced disquiet about the
ways in which rights and equality discourses are now used against them."[106]

Feminism and sexuality


Over the course of the 1970s, a large variety of influential women accepted lesbianism and
bisexuality as part of feminism.[107] As a result, a significant proportion of feminists favoured this
view, however, others considered sexuality irrelevant to the attainment of other goals.

Feminist attitudes to female sexuality have taken a few different directions. Matters such as the
sex industry, sexual representation in the media, and issues regarding consent to sex under
conditions of male dominance have been particularly controversial among feminists. This debate
has culminated in the late 1970s and the 1980s, in what came to be known as the Feminist Sex
Wars, which pitted anti-pornography feminism against sex-positive feminism, and parts of the
feminist movement were deeply divided by these debates.[108][109][110][111][112]

Sex industry

Main article: Sex industry

Opinions on the sex industry are diverse. Feminists are generally either critical of it (seeing it as
exploitative, a result of patriarchal social structures and reinforcing sexual and cultural attitudes
that are complicit in rape and sexual harassment) or supportive of at least parts of it (arguing that
some forms of it can be a medium of feminist expression and a means of women taking control
of their sexuality).

Pornography

For more details on this topic, see Feminist sex wars.

See also: Anti-pornography#Feminist objections, Sex-positive feminism, and Feminist views of


pornography

Feminist views of pornography range from condemnation of pornography as a form of violence


against women, to an embracing of some forms of pornography as a medium of feminist
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expression.[108][109][110][111][112] Anti-pornography feminists argue that pornography is dangerous for


women and that sexually explicit images need to be controlled.[112] They argue that the
pornographic industry contributes to violence against women, both in the production of
pornography (which they charge entails the physical, psychological, or economic coercion of the
women who perform in it, and where they argue that the abuse and exploitation of women is
rampant) and in its consumption (where they charge that pornography eroticizes the domination,
humiliation, and coercion of women, and reinforces sexual and cultural attitudes that are
complicit in rape and sexual harassment).[113][114][115][116] Sex-positive feminists, however, argue
that sexual freedom is an essential component of women's freedom. As such, sex-positive
feminists oppose efforts to control sexual activities between consenting adults.

Prostitution and trafficking

Main article: Feminist views on prostitution

Feminists' views on prostitution vary, but many of these perspectives can be loosely arranged
into an overarching standpoint that is generally either critical or supportive of prostitution and
sex work.[117] Anti-prostitution feminists are strongly opposed to prostitution, as they see it as a
form of violence against and exploitation of women, and a sign of male dominance over women.
Feminists who hold such views on prostitution include Kathleen Barry, Melissa Farley,[118][119]
Julie Bindel,[120][121] Sheila Jeffreys, Catharine MacKinnon[122] and Laura Lederer;[123] the
European Women's Lobby has also condemned prostitution as "an intolerable form of male
violence".[124]

Other feminists hold that prostitution and other forms of sex work can be valid choices for the
women and men who choose to engage in it. Proponents of this view contend that prostitution
must be differentiated from forced prostitution, and that feminists should support sex worker
activism against abuses by both the sex industry and the legal system. The disagreement between
these two feminist stances has been particularly contentious, and may be comparable to the
feminist sex wars of the late twentieth century.[125]

Affirming female sexual autonomy

For feminists, a woman's right to control her own sexuality is a key issue. Feminists such as
Catharine MacKinnon argue that women have very little control over their own bodies, with
female sexuality being largely controlled and defined by men in patriarchal societies. Feminists
argue that sexual violence committed by men is often rooted in ideologies of male sexual
entitlement, and that these systems grant women very few legitimate options to refuse sexual
advances.[126][127] In many cultures, men do not believe that a woman has the right to reject a
man's sexual advances or to make an autonomous decision about participating in sex. Feminists
argue that all cultures are, in one way or another, dominated by ideologies that largely deny
women the right to decide how to express their sexuality, because men under patriarchy feel
entitled to define sex on their own terms. This entitlement can take different forms, depending on
the culture. In many parts of the world, especially in conservative and religious cultures,
marriage is regarded as an institution which requires a wife to be sexually available at all times,
virtually without limit; thus, forcing or coercing sex on a wife is not considered a crime or even
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an abusive behavior.[128][129] In more liberal cultures, this entitlement takes the form of a general
sexualization of the whole culture. This is played out in the sexual objectification of women,
with pornography and other forms of sexual entertainment creating the fantasy that all women
exist solely for men's sexual pleasure, and that women are readily available and desiring to
engage in sex at any time, with any man, on a man's terms.[130]

Feminism and science


For more details on this topic, see Feminist epistemology.

Sandra Harding says that the "moral and political insights of the women's movement have
inspired social scientists and biologists to raise critical questions about the ways traditional
researchers have explained gender, sex and relations within and between the social and natural
worlds."[131] Some feminists, such as Ruth Hubbard and Evelyn Fox Keller, criticize traditional
scientific discourse as being historically biased towards a male perspective.[12][132] A part of the
feminist research agenda is the examination of the ways in which power inequities are created
and/or reinforced in scientific and academic institutions.[133] Physicist Lisa Randall, appointed to
a task force at Harvard by then-president Lawrence Summers after his controversial discussion
of why women may be underrepresented in science and engineering, said, "I just want to see a
whole bunch more women enter the field so these issues don't have to come up anymore."[134]

Lynn Hankinson Nelson notes that feminist empiricists find fundamental differences between the
experiences of men and women. Thus, they seek to obtain knowledge through the examination of
the experiences of women, and to "uncover the consequences of omitting, misdescribing, or
devaluing them" to account for a range of human experience.[135] Another part of the feminist
research agenda is the uncovering of ways in which power inequities are created and/or
reinforced in society and in scientific and academic institutions.[133] Furthermore, despite calls for
greater attention to be paid to structures of gender inequity in the academic literature, structural
analyses of gender bias rarely appear in highly cited psychological journals, especially in the
commonly studied areas of psychology and personality.[136]

One criticism of feminist epistemology is that it allows social and political values to influence its
findings.[137] Susan Haack also points out that feminist epistemology reinforces traditional
stereotypes about women's thinking (as intuitive and emotional, etc.), Meera Nanda further
cautions that this may in fact trap women within "traditional gender roles and help justify
patriarchy".[138]

Biology and gender

For more details on this topic, see Gender essentialism and Sexual differentiation.

Modern feminist science challenges the biological essentialist view of gender.[139][140] For
example, Anne Fausto-Sterling's book, Myths of Gender, explores the assumptions embodied in
scientific research that support a biologically essentialist view of gender.[141] In Delusions of
Gender, Cordelia Fine disputes scientific evidence that suggests that there is an innate biological
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difference between men's and women's minds, asserting instead that cultural and societal beliefs
are the reason for differences between individuals that are commonly perceived as sex
differences.[142]

Feminist culture
Main article: Feminism in culture

Architecture

Gender-based inquiries into and conceptualization of architecture have also come about, leading
to feminism in modern architecture. Piyush Mathur coined the term "archigenderic". Claiming
that "architectural planning has an inextricable link with the defining and regulation of gender
roles, responsibilities, rights, and limitations", Mathur came up with that term "to explore ... the
meaning of 'architecture' in terms of gender" and "to explore the meaning of 'gender' in terms of
architecture".[143]

Visual arts

Main article: Feminist art movement

Corresponding with general developments within feminism, and often including such self-
organizing tactics as the consciousness-raising group, the movement began in the 1960s and
flourished throughout the 1970s.[144] Jeremy Strick, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art
in Los Angeles, described the feminist art movement as "the most influential international
movement of any during the postwar period", and Peggy Phelan says that it "brought about the
most far-reaching transformations in both artmaking and art writing over the past four decades".
[144]
Judy Chicago, who with a team of 129 created The Dinner Party, said in 2009 to ARTnews,
"There is still an institutional lag and an insistence on a male Eurocentric narrative. We are trying
to change the future: to get girls and boys to realize that women's art is not an exception—it's a
normal part of art history."[145]

Literature
16

Octavia Butler, award-winning feminist science fiction author.

See also: Écriture féminine

See also: List of American feminist literature

See also: List of feminist literature

See also: List of feminist poets

The feminist movement produced both feminist fiction and non-fiction, and created new interest
in women's writing. It also prompted a general reevaluation of women's historical and academic
contributions in response to the belief that women's lives and contributions have been
underrepresented as areas of scholarly interest.[146] Much of the early period of feminist literary
scholarship was given over to the rediscovery and reclamation of texts written by women.
Studies like Dale Spender's Mothers of the Novel (1986) and Jane Spencer's The Rise of the
Woman Novelist (1986) were ground-breaking in their insistence that women have always been
writing. Commensurate with this growth in scholarly interest, various presses began the task of
reissuing long-out-of-print texts. Virago Press began to publish its large list of 19th and early-
20th-century novels in 1975 and became one of the first commercial presses to join in the project
of reclamation. In the 1980s Pandora Press, responsible for publishing Spender's study, issued a
companion line of 18th-century novels by written by women.[147] More recently, Broadview Press
continues to issue 18th- and 19th-century novels, many hitherto out of print, and the University
of Kentucky has a series of republications of early women's novels.

The widespread interest in women's writing is related to a general reassessment and expansion of
the literary canon. Interest in post-colonial literatures, gay and lesbian literature, writing by
people of colour, working people's writing, and the cultural productions of other historically
marginalized groups has resulted in a whole scale expansion of what is considered "literature,"
and genres hitherto not regarded as "literary," such as children's writing, journals, letters, travel
writing, and many others are now the subjects of scholarly interest.[146][148][149] Most genres and
sub-genres have undergone a similar analysis, so that one now sees work on the "female
gothic"[150] or women's science fiction.

According to Elyce Rae Helford, "Science fiction and fantasy serve as important vehicles for
feminist thought, particularly as bridges between theory and practice."[151] Feminist science
fiction is sometimes taught at the university level to explore the role of social constructs in
understanding gender.[152] Notable texts of this kind are Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of
Darkness (1969), Joanna Russ' The Female Man (1970), Octavia Butler's Kindred (1979) and
Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale (1985).

Music

Main article: Women's music

Women's music (or womyn's music or wimmin's music) is the music by women, for women, and
about women.[153] The genre emerged as a musical expression of the second-wave feminist
17

movement[154] as well as the labor, civil rights, and peace movements.[155] The movement was
started by lesbians such as Cris Williamson, Meg Christian, and Margie Adam, African-
American women activists such as Bernice Johnson Reagon and her group Sweet Honey in the
Rock, and peace activist Holly Near.[155] Women's music also refers to the wider industry of
women's music that goes beyond the performing artists to include studio musicians, producers,
sound engineers, technicians, cover artists, distributors, promoters, and festival organizers who
are also women.[153]

Feminism became a principal concern of musicologists in the 1980s.[156] Prior to this, in the
1970s, musicologists were beginning to discover women composers and performers, and had
begun to review concepts of canon, genius, genre and periodization from a feminist perspective.
In other words, the question of how women musicians fit into traditional music history was now
being asked.[156]

Through the 1980s and 1990s, this trend continued as musicologists like Susan McClary, Marcia
Citron and Ruth Solie began to consider the cultural reasons for the marginalizing of women
from the received body of work. Concepts such as music as gendered discourse; professionalism;
reception of women's music; examination of the sites of music production; relative wealth and
education of women; popular music studies in relation to women's identity; patriarchal ideas in
music analysis; and notions of gender and difference are among the themes examined during this
time.[156]

Relationship to political movements


Feminism had complex interactions with the major political movements of the twentieth century.

Socialism

Main article: Social Progressivism and Counterculture

Since the late nineteenth century some feminists have allied with socialism, whereas others have
criticized socialist ideology for being insufficiently concerned about women's rights. August
Bebel, an early activist of the German Social Democratic Party, published his work Die Frau
und der Sozialismus, juxtaposing the struggle for equal rights between sexes with social equality
in general. In 1907 there was an International Conference of Socialist Women in Stuttgart where
suffrage was described as a tool of class struggle. Clara Zetkin of the Social Democratic Party of
Germany called for women's suffrage to build a "socialist order, the only one that allows for a
radical solution to the women's question".[157][158][159][160]

In Britain, the women's movement was allied with the Labour party. In the U.S., Betty Friedan
emerged from a radical background to take leadership. Radical Women is the oldest socialist
feminist organization in the U.S. and is still active.[161] During the Spanish Civil War, Dolores
Ibárruri (La Pasionaria) led the Communist Party of Spain. Although she supported equal rights
for women, she opposed women fighting on the front and clashed with the anarcha-feminist
Mujeres Libres.[162]
18

Fascism

Further information: Fascism and ideology

Fascism has been prescribed dubious stances on feminism by its practitioners and by women's
groups. Amongst other demands concerning social reform presented in the Fascist manifesto in
1919 was expanding the suffrage to all Italian citizens of age 18 and above, including women
(accomplished only in 1946, after the defeat of fascism) and eligibility for all to stand for office
from age 25. This demand was particularly championed by special Fascist women's auxiliary
groups such as the fasci femminilli and only partly realized in 1925, under pressure from Prime
Minister Benito Mussolini's more conservative coalition partners.[163][164]

Cyprian Blamires states that although feminists were among those who opposed the rise of Adolf
Hitler, feminism has a complicated relationship with the Nazi movement as well, which saw
several vocal female supporters as well as women's groups. While Nazis glorified traditional
notions of patriarchal society and its role for women, they claimed to recognize women's equality
in employment.[165] However, Hitler and Benito Mussolini declared themselves as opposed to
feminism,[165] and after the rise of Nazism in Germany in 1933, there was a rapid dissolution of
the political rights and economic opportunities that feminists had fought for during the prewar
period and to some extent during the 1920s.[160] Georges Duby et al. note that in practice fascist
society was hierarchical and emphasized male virility, with women maintaining a largely
subordinate position.[160] Blamires also notes that Neofascism has since the 1960s been hostile
towards feminism and advocates that women accept "their traditional roles".[165]

Civil rights movement and anti-racism

The civil rights movement has influenced and informed the feminist movement and vice versa.
Many Western feminists adapted the language and theories of black equality activism and drew
parallels between women's rights and the rights of non-white people.[166] Despite the connections
between the women's and civil rights movements, some tension arose during the late 1960s and
early 1970s as non-white women argued that feminism was predominantly white and middle
class, and did not understand and was not concerned with race issues.[167] Similarly, some women
argued that the civil rights movement had sexist elements and did not adequately address
minority women's concerns.[166] These criticisms created new feminist social theories about the
intersections of racism, classism, and sexism, and new feminisms, such as black feminism and
Chicana feminism.[168][169]

Societal impact
Main article: Feminist effects on society

The feminist movement has effected change in Western society, including women's suffrage;
greater access to education; more nearly equitable pay with men; the right to initiate divorce
proceedings; the right of women to make individual decisions regarding pregnancy (including
access to contraceptives and abortion); and the right to own property.[7][8]
19

Civil rights

Participation in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Signed and ratified Only signed

Acceded or succeeded Non-signatory

Unrecognized state, abiding by treaty

From the 1960s on, the campaign for women's rights[170] was met with mixed results[171] in the
U.S. and the U.K. Other countries of the EEC agreed to ensure that discriminatory laws would be
phased out across the European Community.

Some feminist campaigning also helped reform attitudes to child sexual abuse. The view that
young girls cause men to have sexual intercourse with them was replaced by that of men's
responsibility for their own conduct, the men being adults.[172]

In the U.S., the National Organization for Women (NOW) began in 1966 to seek women's
equality, including through the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA),[173] which did not pass, although
some states enacted their own. Reproductive rights in the U.S. centered on the court decision in
Roe v. Wade enunciating a woman's right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term.
Western women gained more reliable birth control, allowing family planning and careers. The
movement started in the 1910s in the U.S. under Margaret Sanger and elsewhere under Marie
Stopes. In the final three decades of the 20th century, Western women knew a new freedom
through birth control, which enabled women to plan their adult lives, often making way for both
career and family.[174]

The division of labor within households was affected by the increased entry of women into
workplaces in the 20th century. Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild found that, in two-career
couples, men and women, on average, spend about equal amounts of time working, but women
still spend more time on housework,[175][176] although Cathy Young responded by arguing that
women may prevent equal participation by men in housework and parenting.[177] Judith K. Brown
writes, "Women are most likely to make a substantial contribution when subsistence activities
have the following characteristics: the participant is not obliged to be far from home; the tasks
are relatively monotonous and do not require rapt concentration; and the work is not dangerous,
can be performed in spite of interruptions, and is easily resumed once interrupted."[178]
20

In international law, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women (CEDAW) is an international convention adopted by the United Nations General
Assembly and described as an international bill of rights for women. It came into force in those
nations ratifying it.[179]

Language

For more details on this topic, see Gender-neutral language in English.

Proponents of gender-neutral language argue that the use of gender-specific language often
implies male superiority or reflects an unequal state of society.[180] According to The Handbook
of English Linguistics, generic masculine pronouns and gender-specific job titles are instances
"where English linguistic convention has historically treated men as prototypical of the human
species."[181]

Theology

See also: Feminist theology and Gender of God

Cmdr. Adrienne Simmons speaking at the 2008 ceremony for the only women's mosque in Khost City, a
symbol of progress for growing women's rights in the Pashtun belt.

Feminist theology is a movement that reconsiders the traditions, practices, scriptures, and
theologies of religions from a feminist perspective. Some of the goals of feminist theology
include increasing the role of women among the clergy and religious authorities, reinterpreting
male-dominated imagery and language about God, determining women's place in relation to
career and motherhood, and studying images of women in the religion's sacred texts.[182] The
Christian Bible refers to women in positions of authority in Judges 4:4 and 2 Kings 22:14.

Christian feminism is a branch of feminist theology which seeks to interpret and understand
Christianity in light of the equality of women and men, and that this interpretation is necessary
for a complete understanding of Christianity. While there is no standard set of beliefs among
Christian feminists, most agree that God does not discriminate on the basis of sex, and are
involved in issues such as the ordination of women, male dominance and the balance of
parenting in Christian marriage, claims of moral deficiency and inferiority of women compared
to men, and the overall treatment of women in the church.[183][184]

Islamic feminists advocate women's rights, gender equality, and social justice grounded within
an Islamic framework. Advocates seek to highlight the deeply rooted teachings of equality in the
Quran and encourage a questioning of the patriarchal interpretation of Islamic teaching through
the Quran, hadith (sayings of Muhammad), and sharia (law) towards the creation of a more
equal and just society.[185] Although rooted in Islam, the movement's pioneers have also utilized
secular and Western feminist discourses and recognize the role of Islamic feminism as part of an
integrated global feminist movement.[186]
21

Jewish feminism is a movement that seeks to improve the religious, legal, and social status of
women within Judaism and to open up new opportunities for religious experience and leadership
for Jewish women. The main issues for early Jewish feminists in these movements were the
exclusion from the all-male prayer group or minyan, the exemption from positive time-bound
mitzvot, and women's inability to function as witnesses and to initiate divorce.[187]

Dianic Wicca is a feminist-centered thealogy.[188]

Secular or atheist feminists have engaged in feminist criticism of religion, arguing that many
religions have oppressive rules towards women and misogynistic themes and elements in
religious texts.[189][190][191]

Patriarchy

Main article: Patriarchy

Patriarchy is a social system in which society is organized around male authority figures. In this
system fathers have authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of
male rule and privilege, and is dependent on female subordination.[192] Most forms of feminism
characterize patriarchy as an unjust social system that is oppressive to women. Carole Pateman
argues that the patriarchal distinction "between masculinity and femininity is the political
difference between freedom and subjection."[193] In feminist theory the concept of patriarchy
often includes all the social mechanisms that reproduce and exert male dominance over women.
Feminist theory typically characterizes patriarchy as a social construction, which can be
overcome by revealing and critically analyzing its manifestations.[194] Some radical feminists
have proposed that because patriarchy is too deeply rooted in society, separatism is the only
viable solution.[195] Other feminists have criticized these views as being anti-men.[196][197][198]

Men and masculinity

Main article: Men and feminism

Feminist theory has explored the social construction of masculinity and its implications for the
goal of gender equality. The social construct of masculinity is seen by feminism as problematic
because it associates males with aggression and competition, and reinforces patriarchal and
unequal gender relations.[100][199] Patriarchal cultures are criticized for "limiting forms of
masculinity" available to men and thus narrowing their life choices.[200] Some feminists are
engaged with men's issues activism, such as bringing attention to male rape and spousal battery
and addressing negative social expectations for men.[201][202][203]

Male participation in feminism is encouraged by feminists and is seen as an important strategy


for achieving full societal commitment to gender equality.[13][204][205] Many male feminists and pro-
feminists are active in both women's rights activism, feminist theory, and masculinity studies.
However, some argue that while male engagement with feminism is necessary, it is problematic
due to the ingrained social influences of patriarchy in gender relations.[206] The consensus today
22

in feminist and masculinity theories is that both genders can and should cooperate to achieve the
larger goals of feminism.[200]

Reactions
Different groups of people have responded to feminism, and both men and women have been
among its supporters and critics. Among American university students, for both men and women,
support for feminist ideas is more common than self-identification as a feminist.[207][208][209] The
US media tends to portray feminism negatively and feminists "are less often associated with day-
to-day work/leisure activities of regular women."[210][211] However, as recent research has
demonstrated, as people are exposed to self-identified feminists and to discussions relating to
various forms of feminism, their own self-identification with feminism increases.[212]

Pro-feminism

Main article: Pro-feminism

Pro-feminism is the support of feminism without implying that the supporter is a member of the
feminist movement. The term is most often used in reference to men who are actively supportive
of feminism. The activities of pro-feminist men's groups include anti-violence work with boys
and young men in schools, offering sexual harassment workshops in workplaces, running
community education campaigns, and counseling male perpetrators of violence. Pro-feminist
men also are involved in men's health, activism against pornography including anti-pornography
legislation, men's studies, and the development of gender equity curricula in schools. This work
is sometimes in collaboration with feminists and women's services, such as domestic violence
and rape crisis centers.[213][214]

Anti-feminism

Main article: Anti-feminism

Anti-feminism is opposition to feminism in some or all of its forms.[215]

In the nineteenth century, anti-feminism was mainly focused on opposition to women's suffrage.
Later, opponents of women's entry into institutions of higher learning argued that education was
too great a physical burden on women. Other anti-feminists opposed women's entry into the
labor force, or their right to join unions, to sit on juries, or to obtain birth control and control of
their sexuality.[216]

Some people have opposed feminism on the grounds that they believe it is contrary to traditional
values or religious beliefs. These anti-feminists argue, for example, that social acceptance of
divorce and non-married women is wrong and harmful, and that men and women are
fundamentally different and thus their different traditional roles in society should be maintained.
[217][218][219]
Other anti-feminists oppose women's entry into the workforce, political office, and the
voting process, as well as the lessening of male authority in families.[220][221]
23

Writers such as Camille Paglia, Christina Hoff Sommers, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Elizabeth Fox-
Genovese and Daphne Patai oppose some forms of feminism, though they identify as feminists.
They argue, for example, that feminism often promotes misandry and the elevation of women's
interests above men's, and criticize radical feminist positions as harmful to both men and women.
[222]
Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge argue that the term "anti-feminist" is used to silence
academic debate about feminism.[223]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_theory#See_also

Feminist theory
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Part of a series on

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Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical discourse. It aims
to understand the nature of gender inequality. It examines women's social roles, experience,
interests, and feminist politics in a variety of fields, such as anthropology and sociology,
communication, psychoanalysis, economics, literature, education, and philosophy.[1] While
generally providing a critique of social relations, feminist theory starts with its assumption that
women are subjugated in society and rejects value-free research in favor of an overt political
agenda.[2] Much of feminist theory also focuses on analyzing gender inequality. Themes explored
in feminism include discrimination, objectification (especially sexual objectification),
oppression, patriarchy,[3][4][5] stereotyping, art history[6] and contemporary art,[7][8] and aesthetics.[9]
[10]

Contents
 1 History of feminist theory
 2 Disciplines

o 2.1 Bodies

o 2.2 The Standard and Contemporary Sex and Gender System

o 2.3 Epistemologies

 2.3.1 Love

o 2.4 Intersections of race, class and gender

o 2.5 Language

o 2.6 Psychology

 2.6.1 Psychoanalysis

o 2.7 Literary theory

o 2.8 Film theory

o 2.9 Art history

o 2.10 History

o 2.11 Geography

o 2.12 Philosophy

o 2.13 Sexology

o 2.14 Politics

o 2.15 Economics

o 2.16 Legal theory


25

o 2.17 Communication theory

 3 See also

 4 References

 5 Books

 6 External links

History of feminist theory


Feminist theories first emerged as early as 1792 in publications such as “The Changing Woman”,
[11]
“Ain’t I a Woman”,[12] “Speech after Arrest for Illegal Voting”,[13] and so on. “The Changing
Woman” is a Navajo Myth that gave credit to a woman who, in the end, populated the world.[14]
In 1851, Sojourner Truth addressed women’s rights issues through her publication, “Ain’t I a
Woman.” Sojourner Truth addressed the issue of women having limited rights due to men's
flawed perception of women. Truth argued that if a woman of color can perform tasks that were
supposedly limited to men, then any woman of any color could perform those same tasks. After
her arrest for illegally voting, Susan B. Anthony gave a speech within court in which she
addressed the issues of language within the constitution documented in her publication, “Speech
after Arrest for Illegal voting” in 1872. Anthony questioned the authoritative principles of the
constitution and its male gendered language. She raised the question of why women are
accountable to be punished under law but they cannot use the law for their own protection
(women could not vote, own property, nor themselves in marriage). She also critiqued the
constitution for its male gendered language and questioned why women should have to abide by
laws that do not specify women.

Nancy Cott makes a distinction between modern feminism and its antecedents, particularly the
struggle for suffrage. In the United States she places the turning point in the decades before and
after women obtained the vote in 1920 (1910–1930). She argues that the prior woman movement
was primarily about woman as a universal entity, whereas over this 20 year period it transformed
itself into one primarily concerned with social differentiation, attentive to individuality and
diversity. New issues dealt more with woman's condition as a social construct, gender identity,
and relationships within and between genders. Politically this represented a shift from an
ideological alignment comfortable with the right, to one more radically associated with the left.
[15]

Susan Kingsley Kent says that Freudian patriarchy was responsible for the diminished profile of
feminism in the inter-war years,[16] others such as Juliet Mitchell consider this to be overly
simplistic since Freudian theory is not wholly incompatible with feminism.[17] Some feminist
scholarship shifted away from the need to establish the origins of family, and towards analyzing
the process of patriarchy.[18] In the immediate postwar period, Simone de Beauvoir stood in
opposition to an image of "the woman in the home". De Beauvoir provided an existentialist
dimension to feminism with the publication of Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex) in 1949.[19]
As the title implies, the starting point is the implicit inferiority of women, and the first question
de Beauvoir asks is "what is a woman"?.[20] Woman she realizes is always perceived of as the
26

"other", "she is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to
her". In this book and her essay, "Woman: Myth & Reality", de Beauvoir anticipates Betty
Friedan in seeking to demythologise the male concept of woman. "A myth invented by men to
confine women to their oppressed state. For women it is not a question of asserting themselves
as women, but of becoming full-scale human beings." "One is not born, but rather becomes, a
woman", or as Toril Moi puts it "a woman defines herself through the way she lives her
embodied situation in the world, or in other words, through the way in which she makes
something of what the world makes of her". Therefore, woman must regain subject, to escape her
defined role as "other", as a Cartesian point of departure.[21] In her examination of myth, she
appears as one who does not accept any special privileges for women. Ironically, feminist
philosophers have had to extract de Beauvoir herself from out of the shadow of Jean-Paul Sartre
to fully appreciate her.[22] While more philosopher and novelist than activist, she did sign one of
the Mouvement de Libération des Femmes manifestos.

The resurgence of feminist activism in the late 1960s was accompanied by an emerging literature
of what might be considered female associated issues, such as concerns for the earth and
spirituality, and environmentalism. This in turn created an atmosphere conducive to reigniting
the study of and debate on matricentricity, as a rejection of determinism, such as Adrienne
Rich[23] and Marilyn French[24] while for socialist feminists like Evelyn Reed,[25] patriarchy held
the properties of capitalism. Feminist psychologists, such as Jean Baker Miller, sought to bring a
feminist analysis to previous psychological theories, proving that "there was nothing wrong with
women, but rather with the way modern culture viewed them."[26]

Elaine Showalter describes the development of Feminist theory as having a number of phases.
The first she calls "feminist critique" - where the feminist reader examines the ideologies behind
literary phenomena. The second Showalter calls "Gynocritics" - where the "woman is producer
of textual meaning" including "the psychodynamics of female creativity; linguistics and the
problem of a female language; the trajectory of the individual or collective female literary career
and literary history". The last phase she calls "gender theory" - where the "ideological inscription
and the literary effects of the sex/gender system" are explored."[27] This model has been criticized
by Toril Moi who sees it as an essentialist and deterministic model for female subjectivity. She
also criticized it for not taking account of the situation for women outside the west.[28] From the
1970s onwards, psychoanalytical ideas that have been arising in the field of French feminism
have gained a decisive influence on feminist theory. Feminist psychoanalysis deconstructed the
phallic hypotheses regarding the Unconscious. Julia Kristeva, Bracha Ettinger and Luce Irigaray
developed specific notions concerning unconscious sexual difference, the feminine and
motherhood, with wide implications for film and literature analysis.[29]

Disciplines
There are a number of distinct feminist disciplines, in which experts in other areas apply feminist
techniques and principles to their own fields. Additionally, these are also debates which shape
feminist theory and they can be applied interchangeably in the arguments of feminist theorists.

Bodies
27

In western thought, the body has been historically associated solely with women, whereas men
have been associated with the mind. Susan Bordo, a modern feminist philosopher, in her writings
elaborates the dualistic nature of the mind/body connection by examining the early philosophies
of Aristotle, Hegel and Descartes, revealing how such distinguishing binaries such as
spirit/matter and male activity/female passivity have worked to solidify gender characteristics
and categorization. Bordo goes on to point out that while men have historically been associated
with the intellect and the mind or spirit, women have long been associated with the body, the
subordinated, negatively imbued term in the mind/body dichotomy.[30] The notion of the body
(but not the mind) being associated with women has served as a justification to deem women as
property, objects, and exchangeable commodities (among men). For example, women’s bodies
have been objectified throughout history through the changing ideologies of fashion, diet,
exercise programs, cosmetic surgery, childbearing, etc. This contrasts to men's role as a moral
agent, responsible for working or being allowed to fight in bloody wars. The race and class of a
woman can determine whether her body will be treated as decoration and protected, which is
associated with middle or upper-class women’s bodies. On the other hand, the other body is
recognized for its use in labor and exploitation which is generally associated with women’s
bodies in the working-class or with women of color. Second-wave feminist activism has argued
for reproductive rights and choice, women’s health (movement), and lesbian rights (movement)
which are also associated with this Bodies debate.

The Standard and Contemporary Sex and Gender System

The standard sex and gender model consists of ideologies based on the sex and gender of every
individual and serve as "norms" for societal life. The model claims that the sex of a person is the
physical body that the individual is born with, strictly existing within a male/female dichotomy
giving importance to the genitals and the chromosomes which make the organism male or
female. The standard model defines gender as a social understanding/ideology that defines what
behaviors, actions, and appearances are proper for males and females living in society.

The contemporary sex and gender model corrects and broadens the horizons of the sex and
gender ideologies. It revises the ideology of sex in that an individual's sex is actually a social
construct which is not limited to either male or female. This can be seen by the Intersex Society
of North America which explains that, “nature doesn't decide where the category of ‘male’ ends
and the category of ‘intersex’ begins, or where the category of ‘intersex’ ends and the category of
‘female’ begins. Humans decide. Humans (today, typically doctors) decide how small a penis has
to be, or how unusual a combination of parts has to be, before it counts as intersex”.[31] Therefore,
sex is not a biological/natural construct but a social one instead since, society and doctors decide
on what it means to be male, female, or intersex in terms of sex chromosomes and genitals, in
addition to their personal judgment on who or how one passes as a specific sex. The ideology of
gender remains a social construct but is not as strict and fixed. Instead, gender is easily
malleable, and is forever changing. One example of where the standard definition of gender
alters with time happens to be depicted in Sally Shuttleworth’s Female Circulation in which the,
“abasement of the woman, reducing her from an active participant in the labor market to the
passive bodily existence to be controlled by male expertise is indicative of the ways in which the
ideological deployment of gender roles operated to facilitate and sustain the changing structure
of familial and market relations in Victorian England”.[32] In other words this quote shows what it
28

meant growing up into the roles of a female (gender/roles) changed from being a homemaker to
being a working woman and then back to being passive and inferior to males. In conclusion, the
contemporary sex gender model is accurate because both sex and gender are rightly seen as
social constructs inclusive of the wide spectrum of sexes and genders and in which nature and
nurture are interconnected.

Epistemologies

The generation and production of knowledge has been an important part of feminist theory. This
debate proposes such questions as “Are there ‘women’s ways of knowing’ and ‘women’s
knowledge’?" And “How does the knowledge women produce about themselves differ from that
produced by patriarchy?” (Bartowski and Kolmar 2005, 45) Feminist theorists have also
proposed the “feminist standpoint knowledge” which attempts to replace “the view from
nowhere” with the model of knowing that expels the “view from women’s lives”. (Bartowski and
Kolmar 2005, 45). A feminist approach to epistemology seeks to establish knowledge production
from a woman's perspective. It theorizes that from personal experience comes knowledge which
helps each individual look at things from a different insight.

Central to feminism is that women are systematically subordinated, and bad faith exists when
women surrender their agency to this subordination, e.g., acceptance of religious beliefs that a
man is the dominant party in a marriage by the will of God; Simone de Beauvoir labels such
women "mutilated" and "immanent".[33][34][35][36]

Love

A life’s project to be in love may result in bad faith; love is an example of bad faith given by
both Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre (who were in love with each other).[37][38][39] A
woman in love may in bad faith allow herself to be subjugated by her lover, who has created a
dependency of the woman on him, allowed by the woman in bad faith.[40]

Intersections of race, class and gender

This debate can also be termed as intersectionality. This debate raises the issue of understanding
the oppressive lives of women that are not only shaped by gender alone but by other elements
such as racism, classism, ageism, heterosexism, disableism etc. One example of the concept of
intersectionality can be seen through the Mary Ann Weathers’ publication, “An Argument for
Black Women’s Liberation as a Revolutionary Force.”[41] Mary Ann Weathers states that “black
women, at least the Black women I have come in contact with in the movement, have been
expending all their energies in “liberating” Black men (if you yourself are not free, how can you
“liberate” someone else?)” Women of color were put in a position of choosing sides. White
women wanted women of color and working-class women to become a part of the women’s
movement over struggling with their men (working-class, poor, and men of color) against class
oppression and racism in the Civil Rights Movement. This was a conflict for women of color and
working-class women who had to decide whether to fight against racism or classism versus
sexism—or prioritize and participate in the hierarchy. It did not help that the women’s movement
was shaped primarily by white women during the first and second feminist waves and the issues
29

surrounding women of color were not addressed. Contemporary feminist theory addresses such
issues of intersectionality in such publications as “Age, Race, Sex, and Class” by Kimberlé
Williams Crenshaw. Another example of intersectionality can be seen through bell hooks’
publication, Feminist Theory from Margin to Center.[42] Hooks similarly advocates for a
movement that does not isolate black women or women of color. She says, “I advocate
feminism” rather than “I am a feminist” to avoid the assumption that women’s issues are more
important than issues such as race or class.[43] Not only does she emphasize class and race but
also she focuses on the role men must play in the feminist movement. According to hooks, the
second-wave feminists “reinforced sexist ideology by positing in an inverted form the notion of a
basic conflict between the sexes, the implication being that the empowerment of women would
necessarily be at the expense of men.” [44] She points out that if women are the only ones
responsible for feminism, then feminist ideology only serves to reinforce the gap between the
sexes in terms of the division of labor. Moreover, women cannot be solely responsible for
abolishing sexism because, she says, “men are the primary agents maintaining and supporting
sexism and sexist oppression, they can only be eradicated if men are compelled to assume
responsibility for transforming their consciousness and the consciousness of society as a
whole.”[45] Because of this, men who support the fight against sexism are those with whom
women need to band together.

Language

In this debate, women writers have addressed the issues of masculinized writing through male
gendered language that may not serve to accommodate the literary understanding of women’s
lives. Such masculinized language that feminist theorists address is the use of, for example, “God
the Father” which is looked upon as a way of designating the sacred as solely men (or, in other
words, biblical language glorifies men through all of the masculine pronouns like “he” and
“him” and addressing God as a “He”). Feminist theorists attempt to reclaim and redefine women
through re-structuring language. For example, feminist theorists have used the term “womyn”
instead of “women." Some feminist theorists find solace in changing titles of unisex jobs (for
example, police officer versus policeman or mail carrier versus mailman). Some feminist
theorists have reclaimed and redefined such words as “dyke” and “bitch” and others have
invested redefining knowledge into feminist dictionaries.

Psychology

Feminist psychology, is a form of psychology centered on societal structures and gender.


Feminist psychology critiques the fact that historically psychological research has been done
from a male perspective with the view that males are the norm.[46] Feminist psychology is
oriented on the values and principles of feminism. It incorporates gender and the ways women
are affected by issues resulting from it. Ethel Dench Puffer Howes was one of the first women to
enter the field of psychology. She was the Executive Secretary of the National College Equal
Suffrage League in 1914.

One major psychological theory, Relational-Cultural Theory, is based on the work of Jean Baker
Miller, who's book Toward a New Psychology of Women proposes that "growth-fostering
relationships are a central human necessity and that disconnections are the source of
30

psychological problems."[47] Inspired by Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique, and other feminist
classics from the 1960s, Relational-Cultural Theory proposes that "isolation is one of the most
damaging human experiences and is best treated by reconnecting with other people," and that a
therapist should "foster an atmosphere of empathy and acceptance for the patient, even at the
cost of the therapist’s neutrality."[48] The theory is based on clinical observations and sought to
prove that "there was nothing wrong with women, but rather with the way modern culture
viewed them."[26]

Psychoanalysis

See also: Psychoanalysis

See also: Feminism and the Oedipus complex

Psychoanalytic feminism and Feminist psychoanalysis are based on Freud and his
psychoanalytic theories, but they also supply an important critique of it. It maintains that gender
is not biological but is based on the psycho-sexual development of the individual, but also that
sexual difference and gender are different notions. Psychoanalytical feminists believe that gender
inequality comes from early childhood experiences, which lead men to believe themselves to be
masculine, and women to believe themselves feminine. It is further maintained that gender leads
to a social system that is dominated by males, which in turn influences the individual psycho-
sexual development. As a solution it was suggested by some to avoid the gender-specific
structuring of the society coeducation.[4][5] From the last 30 years of the 20th Century, the
contemporary French psychoanalytical theories concerning the feminine, that refer to sexual
difference rather than to gender, with psychoanalysts like Julia Kristeva,[49][49]Maud Mannoni,
Luce Irigaray,[50][50] and Bracha Ettinger,[51] have largely influenced not only feminist theory but
also the understanding of the subject in philosophy and the general field of psychoanalysis itself.
[52][53]
These French psychoanalysts are mainly post-Lacanian. Other feminist psychoanalysts and
feminist theorists whose contributions have enriched the field through an engagement with
psychoanalysis are Jessica Benjamin,[54] Jacqueline Rose,[55]

Girl with doll


31

Ranjana Khanna,[56] and Shoshana Felman.[57]

Literary theory

Main article: Feminist literary criticism

See also: Gynocriticism

Feminist literary criticism is literary criticism informed by feminist theories or politics. Its
history has been varied, from classic works of female authors such as George Eliot, Virginia
Woolf,[58] and Margaret Fuller to recent theoretical work in women's studies and gender studies
by "third-wave" authors.[59]

In the most general, feminist literary criticism before the 1970s was concerned with the politics
of women's authorship and the representation of women's condition within literature.[59] Since the
arrival of more complex conceptions of gender and subjectivity, feminist literary criticism has
taken a variety of new routes. It has considered gender in the terms of Freudian and Lacanian
psychoanalysis, as part of the deconstruction of existing power relations.[59]

Film theory

Main article: Feminist film theory

Film theory is often dominated by feminism being played a major antagonist side of the film or
made fun of. Feminists have taken many different approaches to the analysis of cinema. These
include discussions of the function of women characters in particular film narratives or in
particular genres, such as film noir, where a female character can often be seen to embody a
subversive sexuality that is dangerous to males and is ultimately punished with death.[citation needed]
In considering the way that films are put together, many feminist film critics, such as Laura
Mulvey, have pointed to the "male gaze" that predominates in classical Hollywood film making.
Through the use of various film techniques, such as shot reverse shot, the viewers are led to align
themselves with the point of view of a male protagonist. Notably, women function as objects of
this gaze far more often than as proxies for the spectator.[60][61] Feminist film theory of the last
twenty years is heavily influenced by the general transformation in the field of aesthetics,
including the new options of articulating the gaze, offered by psychoanalytical French feminism,
like the matrixial gaze.[62]

Art history

Linda Nochlin[63] and Griselda Pollock[64][65] are prominent art historians writing on contemporary
and modern artists and articulating Art history from a feminist perspective since the 1970s.
Pollock works with French psychoanalysis, and in particular with Kristeva's and Ettinger's
theories, to offer new insights into art history and contemporary art with special regard to
questions of trauma and trans-generation memory in the works of women artists.

History
32

Main article: Feminist history

Feminist history refers to the re-reading and re-interpretation of history from a feminist
perspective. It is not the same as the history of feminism, which outlines the origins and
evolution of the feminist movement. It also differs from women's history, which focuses on the
role of women in historical events. The goal of feminist history is to explore and illuminate the
female viewpoint of history through rediscovery of female writers, artists, philosophers, etc., in
order to recover and demonstrate the significance of women's voices and choices in the past.[66][67]
[68][69][70]

Geography

Main article: Feminist geography

Feminist geography is often considered part of a broader postmodern approach to the subject
which is not primarily concerned with the development of conceptual theory in itself but rather
focuses on the real experiences of individuals and groups in their own localities, upon the
geographies that they live in within their own communities. In addition to its analysis of the real
world, it also critiques existing geographical and social studies, arguing that academic traditions
are delineated by patriarchy, and that contemporary studies which do not confront the nature of
previous work reinforce the male bias of academic study.[71][72][73]

Philosophy

Main article: Feminist philosophy

The Feminist philosophy refers to a philosophy approached from a feminist perspective.


Feminist philosophy involves attempts to use methods of philosophy to further the cause of the
feminist movements, it also tries to criticize and/or reevaluate the ideas of traditional philosophy
from within a feminist view. This critique stems from the dichotomy Western philosophy has
conjectured with the mind and body phenomena.[74] There is no specific school for feminist
philosophy like there has been in regard to other theories. This means that Feminist philosophers
can be found in the analytic and continental traditions, and the different viewpoints taken on
philosophical issues with those traditions. Feminist philosophers also have many different
viewpoints taken on philosophical issues within those traditions. Feminist philosophers who are
feminists can belong to many different varieties of feminism. The writings of Judith Butler, Rosi
Braidotti, Donna Haraway and Avital Ronell are the most significant psychoanalytically
informed influences on contemporary feminist philosophy.

Sexology

Main article: Feminist sexology

Feminist sexology is an offshoot of traditional studies of sexology that focuses on the


intersectionality of sex and gender in relation to the sexual lives of women. Feminist sexology
33

shares many principles with the wider field of sexology; in particular, it does not try to prescribe
a certain path or “normality” for women's sexuality, but only observe and note the different and
varied ways in which women express their sexuality. Looking at sexuality from a feminist point
of view creates connections between the different aspects of a person's sexual life.

Politics

Main article: Feminist political theory

Feminist political theory is a recently emerging field in political science focusing on gender and
feminist themes within the state, institutions and policies. It questions the "modern political
theory, dominated by universalistic liberalist thought, which claims indifference to gender or
other identity differences and has therefore taken its time to open up to such concerns".[75]

Economics

Main article: Feminist economics

Feminist economics broadly refers to a developing branch of economics that applies feminist
insights and critiques to economics. Research under this heading is often interdisciplinary,
critical, or heterodox. It encompasses debates about the relationship between feminism and
economics on many levels: from applying mainstream economic methods to under-researched
"women's" areas, to questioning how mainstream economics values the reproductive sector, to
deeply philosophical critiques of economic epistemology and methodology.[76]

One prominent issue that feminist economists investigate is how the Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) does not adequately measure unpaid labor predominantly performed by women, such as
housework, childcare, and eldercare.[77] Feminist economists have also challenged and exposed
the rhetorical approach of mainstream economics.[78] They have made critiques of many basic
assumptions of mainstream economics, including the Homo economicus model.[79] In the
Houseworker's Handbook Betsy Warrior presents a cogent argument that the reproduction and
domestic labor of women form the foundation of economic survival; although, unremunerated
and not included in the GDP. Warrior also notes that the unacknowledged income of men from
illegal activities like arms, drugs and human trafficking, political graft, religious emollients and
various other undisclosed activities provide a rich revenue stream to men, which further
invalidates GDP figures. Somehow proponents of this theory operate under the assumption that
women don't generate revenue from illegal sources and men provide no domestic production.
They have been instrumental in creating alternative models, such as the Capability Approach and
incorporating gender into the analysis of economic data to affect policy. Marilyn Power suggests
that feminist economic methodology can be broken down into five categories.[80]

Legal theory

Main article: Feminist legal theory


34

Feminist legal theory is based on the feminist view that law's treatment of women in relation to
men has not been equal or fair. The goals of feminist legal theory, as defined by leading theorist
Claire Dalton, consist of understanding and exploring the female experience, figuring out if law
and institutions oppose females, and figuring out what changes can be committed to. This is to be
accomplished through studying the connections between the law and gender as well as applying
feminist analysis to concrete areas of law.[81][82][83]

Communication theory

Feminist communication theory has evolved over time and branches out in many directions.
Early theories focused on the way that gender influenced communication and many argued that
language was “MAN made”. This view of communication promoted a “deficiency model”
asserting that characteristics of speech associated with women were negative and that men “set
the standard for competent interpersonal communication." These early theories also suggested
that ethnicity, cultural and economic backgrounds also needed to be addressed. They looked at
how gender intersects with other identity constructs, such as class, race, and sexuality. Feminist
theorists, especially those considered to be liberal feminists, began looking at issues of equality
in education and employment. Other theorists addressed political oratory and public discourse.
The recovery project brought to light many women orators who had been “erased or ignored as
significant contributors." Feminist communication theorists also addressed how women were
represented in the media and how the media “communicated ideology about women, gender, and
feminism."[84][85]

Feminist communication theory also encompasses access to the public sphere, whose voices are
heard in that sphere, and the ways in which the field of communication studies has limited what
is regarded as essential to public discourse. The recognition of a full history of women orators
overlooked and disregarded by the field has effectively become an undertaking of recovery, as it
establishes and honors the existence of women in history and lauds the communication by these
historically significant contributors. This recovery effort, begun by Andrea Lundsford, Professor
of English and Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University and
followed by other feminist communication theorists also names women such as Aspasia,
Diotoma, and Christine de Pisan, who were likely influential in rhetorical and communication
traditions in classical and medieval times, but who have been negated as serious contributors to
the traditions.[86]

Feminist communication theorists are also concerned with attempting to explain the methods
used by those with power to prohibit women like Maria Miller Stewart, Sarah Grimke, and
Angelina Grimke, and more recently, Ella Baker and Anita Hill, from achieving a voice in
political discourse and consequently being driven from the public sphere. Theorists in this vein
are also interested in the unique and significant techniques of communication employed by these
women and others like them to surmount some of the oppression they experienced.[87]

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Feminist anthropology is a four field approach to anthropology (archeological, biological,


cultural, linguistic) that seeks to reduce male bias in research findings, anthropological hiring
practices, and the scholarly production of knowledge.[1] Simultaneously, feminist anthropology
challenges essentialist feminist theories developed in EuroAmerica. While feminists practiced
cultural anthropology since its inception as an American discipline (see Margaret Mead and
Hortense Powdermaker), it was not until the 1970s that feminist anthropology was formally
recognized as a subdiscipline of anthropology. Since then, it has developed its own subsection of
the American Anthropological Association, The Association of Feminist Anthropologists, and its
own publication Voices.

Contents
 1 History
 2 Feminist archeology

 3 Relationship with feminism

 4 The 'double difference'

 5 See also

 6 Notes

 7 Further reading

 8 External links

History
Feminist anthropology has unfolded through three historical phases beginning in the 1970s: the
anthropology of women, the anthropology of gender, and finally, feminist anthropology.[2]

Prior to these historical phases, feminist anthropologists trace their genealogy to the late 19th
century.[3] Erminnie Platt Smith, Alice Cunningham Fletcher, Matilda Coxe Stevenson, Frances
Densmore—many of these women were self-taught anthropologists and their accomplishments
faded and heritage erased by the professionalization of the discipline at the turn of the 20th
century.[4] Prominent among early women anthropologists were the wives of 'professional' men
anthropologists, some of whom facilitated their husbands research as translators and
49

transcriptionists. Margery Wolf, for example, wrote her classic ethnography "The House of Lim"
from experiences she encountered following her husband to northern Taiwan during his own
fieldwork.[5]

While anthropological stars like Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict are obvious representatives
of the next stage in the history of feminist anthropology, the true theoretical pioneers of the field
were women of color and ethnic women anthropologists. Hortense Powdermaker, for example, a
contemporary of Mead's who studied with British anthropological pioneer Bronislaw
Malinowski conducted political research projects in a number of then a-typical settings:
reproduction and women in Melanesia (Powdermaker 1933), race in the American South
(Powdermaker 1939), gender and production in Hollywood (1950), and class-gender-race
intersectionality in the African Copper Belt (Powdermaker 1962). Similarly, Zora Neale Hurston,
a student of Franz Boas, the father of American anthropology, experimented with narrative forms
beyond the objective ethnography that characterized the proto/pseudo- scientific writings of the
time. Other African American women made similar moves at the junctions of ethnography and
creativity, namely Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus, both of whom studied dance in the
1940s. Also important to the later spread of Feminist anthropology within other subfields beyond
cultural anthropology was physical anthropologist Caroline Bond Day and archeologist Mary
Leakey.

The anthropology of women, introduced through Peggy Golde's "Women in the Field" and
Michelle Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere's "Women, culture, and society," attempted to recuperate
women as distinct cultural actors otherwise erased by male anthropologists' focus on men's lives
as the universal character of a society. Men anthropologists, Golde argued specifically, rarely
have access to women in tribes and societies because of the sexual threat they prove to these
women.[6] As such, they receive the stories of men about women in instances when women are
present at all. The anthropologists' ignorance and the indigenous men's domination congeal to
create instances where, according to Rosaldo and Lamphere, the asymmetry between women and
men becomes universal. A second anthropology of women would arise out of American
engagements with Frederich Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State,
arguing that this universal asymmetry was not timeless, but a product of capitalist relations that
came to dominate the global mode of production through colonialism.[7] As both approaches grew
more vocal in their critique of male ethnographers' descriptions as one-sided, an 'add women and
mix' approach to ethnography became popular, whereby women were not necessarily described
at detail, but mentioned as part of the wider culture.[8][9]

In the wake of Gayle Rubin and her critique of "the sex/gender system," the anthropology of
women transformed into an anthropology of gender. Gender was a set of meanings and
relationships related to but not isomporhic with biological sex. Women was not a universal
community or category that was self-evident.[10] Following the rise of women of color feminism,
the anthropology of gender critiqued the early goals of first-wave feminists and anthropologists
as overly concerned with bourgeois social ambitions. It did so through a move from documenting
the experience of women as a universal population to interpreting the place of gender in broader
patterns of meaning, interaction, and power. This includes the work of women anthropologists
Henrietta Moore and Ethel Albert. Moore contended that anthropology, even when carried out by
women, tended to "[order] the world into a male idiom [. . .] because researchers are either men
50

or women trained in a male oriented discipline".[11] Anthropology's theoretical architecture and


practical methods, Moore argued, were so overwhelmingly influenced by sexist ideology
(anthropology was commonly termed the "study of man" for much of the twentieth century) that
without serious self-examination and a conscious effort to counter this bias, anthropology could
not meaningfully represent female experience.

Today, feminist anthropology has grown out of the anthropology of gender to encompass the
study of the female body as it intersects with or is acted upon by cultural, medical, economic,
and other forces.[12] This includes the expansion of feminist politics beyond cultural anthropology
to physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archeology, as well as feminist
anthropology becoming a site for connecting cultural studies, history, literature, and ethnic
studies.

Feminist archeology
Feminist archaeology initially emerged in the late 1970s and early 80s, along with other
objections to the epistemology espoused by the processual school of archaeological thought,
such as symbolic and hermeneutic archaeologies. Margaret Conkey and Janet Spector’s 1984
paper Archaeology and the Study of Gender summed up the feminist critique of the discipline at
that time: that archaeologists were unproblematically overlaying modern-day, Western gender
norms onto past societies, for example in the sexual division of labor; that contexts and artifacts
attributed to the activities of men, such as projectile point production and butchering at kill sites,
were prioritized in research time and funding; and that the very character of the discipline was
constructed around masculine values and norms. For example, women were generally
encouraged to pursue laboratory studies instead of fieldwork (although there were exceptions
throughout the history of the discipline)[13] and the image of the archaeologist was centered
around the rugged, masculine, “cowboy of science”.[14]

Recently, feminists in archeology have started to confront the issue of sexual assault during
"field work" through scholarly research on the social life of archeologists.[15] The Biological
Anthropology Field Experiences Web Survey, open to bioarcheologists, primatologists, and other
subfields, revealed that 19% of women are sexually assaulted during fieldwork, with 59% of
anthropologists—male and female—experiencing sexual harassment.[16]

Relationship with feminism


The relationships of feminist anthropology with other strands of academic feminism are uneasy.
By concerning themselves with the different ways in which different cultures constitute gender,
feminist anthropology can contend that the oppression of women is not universal. Moore argued
that the concept of "woman" is insufficiently universal to stand as an analytical category in
anthropological enquiry: that the idea of 'woman' was specific to certain cultures, and not a
human universal. For some feminists, anthropologist Michelle Rosaldo wrote, this argument
contradicted a core principle of their understanding of relations between men and women.[17]
Contemporary feminist anthropology, Marilyn Strathern writes, disagrees internally about
whether sexual asymmetry is universal. Strathern argues that anthropology, which must deal with
51

difference rather than seeking to erase it, is not necessarily harmed by this disagreement, but
notes nonetheless that feminist anthropology faces resistance.[9]

Anthropology engages often with feminists from non-Western traditions, whose perspectives and
experiences can differ from those of white European and American feminists. Historically, such
'peripheral' perspectives have sometimes been marginalized and regarded as less valid or
important than knowledge from the western world. Feminist anthropologists have claimed that
their research helps to correct this systematic bias in mainstream feminist theory.[citation needed] On
the other hand, anthropologists' claims to include and engage with such other perspectives have
in turn been criticised - local people are seen as the producers of local knowledge, which only the
western anthropologist can convert into social science theory.[citation needed] Because feminist
theorists come predominantly from the west, and do not emerge from the cultures they study
(some of which have their own distinct traditions of feminism, like the grassroots feminism of
Latin America), their ideas about feminism may contain western-specific assumptions that do not
apply simply to the cultures they investigate. Rosaldo criticizes the tendency of feminists to treat
other contemporary cultures as anachronistic, to see other parts of the world as representing other
periods in western history - to say, for example, that gender relations in one country are
somehow stuck at a past historical stage of those in another. Western feminists had, Rosaldo said,
viewed women elsewhere as “ourselves undressed and the historical specificity of their lives and
of our own becomes obscured”.[17] Anthropology, Moore argued, by speaking about and not for
women, could overcome this bias.

Marilyn Strathern characterised the sometimes antagonistic relationship between feminism and
anthropology as self-sustaining, since “each so nearly achieves what the other aims for as an
ideal relation with the world.".[9] Feminism constantly poses a challenge to the androcentric
orthodoxy from which anthropology emerges; anthropology undermines the ethnocentricism of
feminism.

The 'double difference'


Feminist anthropology, Rayna Rapp argues, is subject to a 'double difference' from mainstream
academia. It is a feminist tradition, part of a branch of scholarship sometimes marginalized as an
offshoot of postmodernism and deconstructionism and concerned with the experiences of
women, who are marginalized by an androcentric orthodoxy. At the same time it addresses non-
Western experience and concepts, areas of knowledge deemed peripheral to the knowledge
created in the west. It is thus doubly marginalized.

Moore argues that some of this marginalization is self-perpetuating. By insisting on the 'female
point of view', feminist anthropology constantly defines itself as 'not male' and therefore as
inevitably distinct from and marginal to the mainstream. Feminist anthropology, Moore says,
effectively ghettoizes itself. Strathern argues that feminist anthropology, as a tradition posing a
challenge to the mainstream, can never fully integrate with that mainstream: it exists to critique,
to deconstruct, and to challenge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_studies
52

Women's studies
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Women's studies, also known as feminist studies, is an interdisciplinary academic field that
explores politics, society, media, and history from women's and/or feminist perspectives. Popular
methodologies within the field of women's studies include standpoint theory, intersectionality,
53

multiculturalism, transnational feminism, autoethnography, and reading practices associated with


critical theory, post-structuralism, and queer theory. The field researches and critiques societal
norms of gender, race, class, sexuality, and other social inequalities. It is closely related to the
broader field of gender studies.

Contents
 1 History
 2 Methodologies and curricula

 3 Activism

 4 Education

 5 See also

 6 Notes

 7 References

 8 Further reading

 9 External links

History
Women's studies were first born as an academic rubric apart from other departments in the late
1960s, as the second wave of feminism gained political influence in the academy through student
and faculty activism. As an academic discipline, it was modeled on the American studies and
ethnic studies (such as Afro-American studies) and Chicano Studies programs that had arisen
shortly before it.[citation needed]

The first accredited Women's Studies course was held in 1969 at Cornell University.[1] The first
two Women's Studies Programs in the United States were established in 1970 at San Diego State
College (now San Diego State University) and SUNY-Buffalo. The SDSU program was initiated
after a year of intense organizing of women's consciousness raising groups, rallies, petition
circulating, and operating unofficial or experimental classes and presentations before seven
committees and assemblies.[2] Carol Rowell Council was the student co-founder along with Dr.
Joyce Nower, a literature instructor. The SUNY-Buffalo program was also the result of intense
debate and feminist organizing led by Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, and it was eventually
birthed out of the American Studies department. In 1972, Sarah Lawrence College became the
first institution to grant Masters degrees in Women's History. Throughout the later 1970s many
universities and colleges created departments and programs in women's studies, and
professorships became available in the field which did not require the sponsorship of other
departments.[citation needed]

By the late twentieth century, women's studies courses were available at many universities and
colleges around the world. A 2007 survey conducted by the National Women's Studies
54

Association included 576 institutions offering women's studies or gender studies at some level.
[citation needed]
As of 2012, there are 16 institutions offering a Ph.D. in the United States.[3][4] Courses
in the United Kingdom can be found through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
[5]

In Canada, one of the first women's studies courses was offered in Toronto at the University of
Toronto, as well as at universities in Montreal and Waterloo. The evolution of these programs are
well documented in "Minds of her own: Inventing Feminist Scholarship and Women's Studies in
Canada and Quebec, 1966-76", edited by Wendy Robbins, Meg Luxton, Margrit Eichler and
Francine Descarries, published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press (2008).

The University of Toronto through the Institute of Women's Studies and Gender Studies is poised
to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its program. In 1971-72 the first course was held there. Two
of the co-founders of the program are Ceta Ramkhalawansingh and Kay Armatage. In 1970
while still an undergraduate and a member of the University's Inter-disciplinary Studies
Committee, Ceta worked with a team of graduate students to mobilise for the program. A group
of graduate students along with a Faculty member taught the first program in the fall of 1971.
The story of this program is partially documented in two essays in "Minds of her own". Kay
Armatage contributed "Blood on the Chapel Floor: Adventures in Women's Studies". The title
comes from the fact that the office and seminar room for the program was in an old chapel in a
former mansion at 97 St. George Street on the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto.
Ceta Ramkhalawansingh contributed "Women's Sight: Looking backwards into Women's Studies
in Toronto".

Methodologies and curricula


Women's studies faculty practice a diverse array of pedagogies. However, there are common
themes to the ways that many women's studies courses are taught; ideally, teaching and learning
practices draw on feminist pedagogy. Women’s studies curricula often encourage students to
participate in service-learning activities in addition to discussion and reflection upon course
materials. The development of critical reading, writing, and oral expression are often key to these
courses, which can be listed across curricula in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.[vague]
The decentralization of the professor as the source of knowledge is often fundamental to
women's studies classroom culture.[6] Courses are often more egalitarian than those in traditional
disciplines, stressing the critical analysis of texts, the development of critical writing, and the
assertion of well-reasoned personal experience as a source of knowledge. Not dissimilar to
gender studies, women’s studies employs feminist, queer, and critical theories.[citation needed] Since
the 1970s, scholars of women’s studies have taken post-modern approaches to understanding
gender as it intersects with race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, age, and (dis)ability to
produce and maintain power structures within society. With this turn, there has been a focus on
language, subjectivity, and social hegemony, and how the lives of subjects, however they
identify, are constituted. At the core of these theories is the notion that however one identifies,
gender, sex, and sexuality are not intrinsic, but are socially constructed.[citation needed]

Women studies programs are involved in social justice and design curricula that are embedded
with theory and also activism outside of the classroom. Some Women Studies programs offer
55

internships that are community-based allowing students the opportunity to gain a better
understanding of how oppression directly affects women’s lives. This experience, informed by
theory from feminist studies, queer theory, black feminist theory, African studies, and many other
theoretical frameworks, allows students the opportunity to critically analyze experience as well
as create creative solutions for issues on a local level.[citation needed] However, Daphne Patai, from the
University of Massachusetts Amherst, has criticized this aspect of women's studies programs,
arguing that they place politics over education, arguing that "the strategies of faculty members in
these programs have included policing insensitive language, championing research methods
deemed congenial to women (such as qualitative over quantitative methods), and conducting
classes as if they were therapy sessions."[7] It is important to note, however, that many Women’s
Studies curricula engage with a variety of different epistemological and methodological
practices.[vague] Feminist scholarship is diverse and utilizes positivism, critical realism, and
standpoint theory in its interdisciplinary scholarship.[8][vague]

Activism
Feminist activism not only focuses on women’s issues but has spread throughout many other
movements including (but not limited to) environmental issues, body politics, feminist art,
identity issues, reproductive rights, gender issues, animal rights, homosexual rights, and ethnic
minority rights. These forms of activism can include letter writing, boycotting, protesting, the
visual arts, bodily demonstrations, education, and leafleting. In current feminism, the focus has
shifted to encompass an outlook and desire for equality for all—identifying oppressive systems
and forces around the world that affect all types of beings. Feminist activism explores the
intersections of social, political, and cultural histories (among various others denominators), their
implications, and dedicates time and energy to the liberation of all people from injustices.[citation
needed][vague]

Simply studying or being a student of women’s studies can be seen as activism in it of itself;
others consider women's studies to be an academic field which is separate from the feminist
movement.

Education
Some of the most predominant institutions to have women's studies programs at the
undergraduate or graduate level include the University Of California system, Emory University,
and universities in Michigan, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New York.
[9]

Many women's studies courses are designed to explore the intersectionality of gender and other
topics. For example, in gender and science research, the sciences are explored and critiqued
through feminism, as when Anne Fausto-Sterling, Professor of Biology at Brown University,
explores biology through the feminist lens. Through her research, she has published many books
on the topic including Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality in
2000 and The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough.
56

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_sociology

Feminist sociology
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sociology

Outline

 Theory

 History

 Positivism

 Antipositivism

 Functionalism

 Conflict theories

 Middle-range

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 Structuralism

 Interactionism

Research methods

 Quantitative

 Qualitative
57

 Historical

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 Network-analytic

 Topics

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58

 Literature

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 Mobility

 Movements

 Networks

 Organizations

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 Religion

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(other than voting)
Suffrage

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60

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62

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63

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64

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65

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66

Feminist sociology is a conflict theory and theoretical perspective which observes gender in its
relation to power, both at the level of face-to-face interaction and reflexivity within a social
structure at large. Focuses include sexual orientation, race, economic status, and nationality.

At the core of feminist sociology is the idea of the systematic oppression[note 1] of women and the
historical dominance of men within most societies: 'patriarchy'. Feminist thought has a rich
history, however, which may be categorized into three 'waves'. The current, 'third wave',
emphasizes the concepts of globalization, postcolonialism, post-structuralism and
postmodernism. Contemporary feminist thought has frequently tended to do-away with all
generalizations regarding sex and gender, closely linked with antihumanism, posthumanism,
queer theory and the work of Michel Foucault.

Contents
 1 Heterosexism
 2 Feminism and race

 3 Feminist critiques of multiculturalism

o 3.1 Types of Feminism

 4 References

 5 Notes

 6 Further reading

Heterosexism
Heterosexism is a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of male-female sexuality
and relationships. At one point, heterosexual marriage was the only lawful union between two
people that was recognized and given full benefits in the United States. This clearly put
homosexual couples of both sexes at a disadvantage, making their relationships less valid in the
eyes of the government than that of a relationship between a man and a woman. However,
heterosexism can extend far beyond government validation, as it describes a set of paradigms
and institutionalized beliefs that systematically disadvantage anyone other than heterosexual,
whether the source of oppression is coming directly from the government or not.

Feminism and race


Women who suffer from oppression due to race may find themselves in a double bind. The
relationship between feminism and race was largely overlooked until the second wave of
feminists produced greater literature on the topic of 'black feminism'.[1]

Anna Julia Cooper and Ida Bell Wells-Barnett are African American women who were
instrumental in conducting much research and making valuable contributions in the field of black
67

feminism. "Cooper and Wells-Barnett both consciously drew on their lived experiences as
African American women to develop a "systematic consciousness of society and social
relations." As such, these women foreshadow the development of a feminist sociological theory
based in the interests of women of colour."[2]

Feminist critiques of multiculturalism


Debates within ethnic relations, particularly regarding the opposing perspectives of
assimilationism and multiculturalism, have led to the accusation that feminism is incompatible
with multiculturalist policy. The remit of multiculturalism is to allow distinct cultures to reside in
Western societies, or separate societies in general, and one possible consequence is that certain
religious or traditional practices may negate Western feminist ideals. Central debates include the
topics of arranged marriage and female genital mutilation. Others have argued that these debates
stem from Western orientalism and general political reluctance to accept foreign migrants.

Types of Feminism

 Anarcha-feminism
 Liberal feminism

 Cultural feminism

 Feminist existentialism

 Radical feminism

 Marxist feminism

 Sex-positive feminism

 Psychoanalytic feminism

 Postmodern feminism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_feminism

Cultural feminism
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Cultural feminism developed from radical feminism. It is an ideology of a "female nature" or


"female essence" that attempts to revalidate what cultural feminists consider undervalued female
attributes.[1] It is also a theory that commends the difference of women from men.[2]

Its critics assert that because it is based on an essentialist view of the differences between women
and men and advocates independence and institution building, it has led feminists to retreat from
practicing public politics to a focus upon individual "life-style".[3] Alice Echols (a feminist
historian and cultural theorist), credits Redstockings member Brooke Williams with applying the
term cultural feminism in 1975 to describe the depoliticisation of radical feminism.[3] The term
cultural feminism was in use earlier as a pejorative. Frances Chapman in Off Our Backs
condemned the literary magazine Aphra as having "served the cause of cultural feminism."[4] To
socialist feminist Elizabeth Diggs, writing in 1972, "cultural feminism" was the label she used
for radical feminism.[5] In 1974, editors of The Lesbian Tide asked "is dyke-separatism a logical
extension of cultural feminism?"[6] As these varied uses reveal, no single definition of the term
existed even among participants in the women's movement.

Contents
 1 Cultural feminist ideas
69

 2 Critics

 3 See also

 4 References

 5 Further reading

Cultural feminist ideas


Cultural feminism commends the positive aspects of what is seen as the female character or
feminine personality. It is also a feminist theory of difference that praises the positive aspect of
women. Early theorists like Jane Addams and Charlotte Perkins Gilman argued that in governing
the state, cooperation, caring, and nonviolence in the settlement of conflicts society seem to be
what was needed from women’s virtues.[7]

Josephine Donovan argues that the nineteenth century journalist, critic and women's rights
activist, Margaret Fuller, contributed to cultural feminism. She says that Fuller's Woman in the
Nineteenth Century (1845) initiated the cultural feminist tradition. It stresses the emotional,
intuitive side of knowledge and expresses an organic world view that is quite different from the
mechanistic view of Enlightenment rationalists.[8][9]

Linda Alcoff argues that women are overdetermined by what she sees as patriarchal systems.[1]
She contends that:

"Man has said that woman can be defined, delineated, captured, understood, explained, and
diagnosed to a level of determination never accorded to man himself, who is conceived as a
rational animal with free will".[1]

While cultural feminists argue that the traditional role of women provides a basis for the
articulation of a more humane world view, other contemporary feminists do not believe that this
transformation will happen automatically. They do not believe that the differences between
women and men are principally biological.[8] Alcoff makes the point that "the cultural feminist
reappraisal construes woman's passivity as her peacefulness, her sentimentality as her proclivity
to nurture, her subjectiveness as her advanced self-awareness".[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfeminism

Transfeminism
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Transfeminism (also written trans feminism) is, as defined by Robert Hill, "a category of
feminism, most often known for the application of transgender discourses to feminist discourses,
and of feminist beliefs to transgender discourse".[1] Hill says that transfeminism also concerns its
integration within mainstream feminism. He defines transfeminism in this context as a type of
feminism "having specific content that applies to transgender and transsexual people, but the
thinking and theory of which is also applicable to all women".

Despite its relatively late introduction as a term, transfeminism has been around since the early
second wave in various forms, most prominently embodied by thinkers such as Sandy Stone,
considered the founder of academic transgender studies, and Sylvia Rivera, a Stonewall rioter
and founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. In 2006, the first book on
transfeminism, Trans/Forming Feminisms: Transfeminist Voices Speak Out edited by Krista
Scott-Dixon, was published.[2]

Contents
 1 History
 2 Feminism vs transfeminism

o 2.1 Common foundations

o 2.2 Differences

 2.2.1 Sisterhood

 2.2.2 Access to feminist spaces

 2.2.3 Femininity

 2.2.4 Womyn-born-womyn

 2.2.5 Radical feminism and transfeminism

 2.2.5.1 Cissexism in radical feminism

 3 Major issues within transfeminism

o 3.1 Inclusion in mainstream feminism

o 3.2 Gender identity disorder (GID)


72

 4 See also

 5 References

o 5.1 Works cited

o 5.2 Further reading

 6 External links

History
Early voices in the movement include Kate Bornstein[3] and Sandy Stone, whose essay "The
Empire Strikes Back" was a direct response to Janice Raymond.[4] In the 21st century, Krista
Scott-Dixon[5] and Julia Serano[6] have contributed work in the field of transgender women.

Transfeminism.org was created in 2000 to promote the Transfeminism Anthology Project by


Diana Courvant and Emi Koyama. The site primarily devoted itself, however, to introducing the
concept of transfeminism to academia and to finding and connecting people working on
transfeminism projects and themes through an anthology of the same name.[7] Koyama and
Courvant sought other transfeminists and to increase their exposure. The anthology was intended
to introduce the movement to a large audience. At a Yale event and in bios associated with it,
Courvant's use of the word (as early as 1992) and involvement in Transfeminism.org, may have
made her the term's inventor. Courvant credited Koyama's Internet savvy as the reason
transfeminism.org and the word transfeminism got the recognition and attention that it did.[citation
needed]

Patrick Califia used the word in print in 1997, and this remains the first known use in print
outside of a periodical. It is possible or even likely that the term was independently coined
repeatedly before the year 2000 (or even before Courvant's first claimed use in 1992). The term
gained traction only after 1999. Jessica Xavier, an acquaintance of Courvant, may have
independently coined the term when she used it to introduce her articles, "Passing As Stigma
Management" and "Passing as Privilege" in late 1999.[8][9] Emi Koyama wrote a widely read
"Transfeminist Manifesto" around the time of the launch of the website that, with her active
participation in academic discussions on the internet, helped spread the term.

In the past few decades the idea that all women share a common experience has come under
scrutiny by women of color, lesbians, and working class women, among others. Many
Transgender and transsexual (together: trans, see Survivor Project link) people are also
questioning what gender means, and are challenging gender as a biological fact. Transfeminists
insist that their unique experiences be recognized as part of the feminist sphere.[10]

Transfeminism includes all major themes of third wave feminism, including diversity, body
image, and women's agency. Transfeminism is not merely about merging trans concerns with
feminism. It also includes critical analysis of second wave feminism from the perspective of the
third wave.[11] Like all feminisms, transfeminism critiques mainstream notions of masculinity and
argues that women deserve equal rights. Lastly, transfeminism shares the unifying principle with
73

other feminisms that gender is a patriarchal social construct used to oppress women. Although
the "trans" in transgender and transsexual has been used to imply transgressiveness.[7][12]

The road to legitimacy for transfeminism has been quite different than that of other feminisms.
Marginalized women have had to prove that their needs are different and that mainstream
feminism does not speak for them.[13] Contrarily, trans women must show their womanhood is
equally valid as that of other women, and that feminism can speak for them without ceasing to be
feminism. Radical feminist Janice Raymond's resistance to considering trans people as women
and as participants in feminism are representative of this obstacle. Her career began with The
Transsexual Empire (a book-length dismissal of transsexual women) and she has often returned
to similar efforts.[14]

Feminism vs transfeminism
Common foundations

A core tenet of feminism is that biology does not and must not equal destiny.[15] The idea that
women should not be held down by traditional gender roles plays a major role in all feminisms.
Transfeminism expands on that premise to argue that people in general should not be confined by
sex/gender norms.

Feminists have traditionally explored the boundaries of what it means to be a woman.[citation needed]
Transfeminists argue that trans people and cisgender feminists confront society's conventional
views of sex and gender in similar ways. Transgender liberation theory offers feminism a new
vantage point from which to view gender as a social construct, even offering a new meaning of
gender.[10]

Transfeminist critics of mainstream feminism say that as an institutionalized movement,


feminism has lost sight of the basic idea that biology is not destiny. In fact, they argue, many
feminists seem perfectly comfortable equating sex and gender and insisting on a given destiny
for trans persons based on nothing more than biology.[16][17] Transgenderism resists and challenges
the fixedness of gender that traditional approaches to women's studies depend upon.[18]

Transgender people are frequently targets of anti-trans violence.[19][20] While non-trans women
also routinely face violence, transfeminists understand anti-trans violence to be a form of gender
policing.[citation needed]

Differences

Despite the similarities, there are also differences between traditional feminism and
transfeminism. Transfeminism stands in stark contrast to second-wave feminism. Transfeminists
often criticize the ideas of a universal sisterhood, aligning more with the third wave's
appreciation for the diversity of women's experience. Citing their common experience, directly
challenge the idea that femininity is an entirely social construction. Instead, transfeminists view
gender as a multifaceted set of diverse intrinsic and social qualities. For example, there are
trans/cis men/women who express themselves in an unusually feminine or masculine way.
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Because this strongly affects how the person experiences their gender, and also their standing
within patriarchy, transfeminists would argue that masculine/feminine expression is an important
concept worthy of feminist inquiry, to be compared and contrasted with both birth sex and
gender identity.

Sisterhood

"Sisterhood" is a primary issue that separates transfeminisms and second-wave feminisms.


Sisterhood is the idea that patriarchy and its tactics are so universal that the most important
experiences of women everywhere are equivalent. However, women in culturally, ethnically,
and/or economically diverse societies, young women and girls, women with disabilities, and
others object to the idea of universal sisterhood and its logical extensions, including two ideas:
first, if one works for the benefit of any woman, one works for the benefit of all equally; second,
that in a sexist society all women have the same (minimal) level of power.[21]

These issues were confronted in many fora before transfeminism was coined. "Killing the Black
Body," [22] illustrated how white-feminist led reproductive rights movements sometimes worked
to the detriment of poor and/or minority women. "This Bridge Called My Back"[23] is an
anthology of third world feminist writing that challenged the idea of equal power among women.

Transfeminists report many under-examined situations in which one woman's uses of power has
the potential to hurt another woman. Transfeminists propose client advisory boards for crisis
lines and women's shelters, the end of unpaid and underpaid feminist internships, incorporating
employees into board committees that evaluate non-profit executives, creating strategic funds to
assist trans employees with nontraditional health issues, incorporating specific anti-racist and
other anti-oppressive criteria on employee evaluation forms, and more.[24] Particularly fruitful has
been transfeminist investigation of feminism and disability, feminism and sex, and the
combination of the three.[25][26]

Access to feminist spaces

Though little acknowledged, trans people have been part of feminist movements.[27] The
appearance of openly trans persons in feminist spaces challenged the idea that all women are
socially equal. This has made transfeminists natural allies of, for example, women of color who
experience racism in a white feminist environment. While Raymond and others attempted to
define trans people outside feminism,[14] institutions that welcomed trans people sometimes were
confronted with an alliance between a trans person and others who accused other women of
racism.[who?] Trans people, like any large group, reflect the general public's range of
temperaments. There have been a number of documented occasions when the trans people
portrayed as bad actors were in fact the victims of overreactions by others.[28][29][dead link]

Femininity

"Femininity" has become a place of contention between transfeminists and other feminists. A few
trans women exaggerate their feminine traits.[11] Because hate crimes and social punishments are
rampant against trans people,[citation needed] portraying gender unambiguously can increase a trans
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person's sense of safety.[citation needed] Even when the visible signs of femininity are only marginally
different from norms, they may be seen as wildly inappropriate.[6][30]

Sampling bias is the most logical argument for feminists' notice of a disproportionate number of
trans women with very feminine expression. Transsexual people are viewed as outlandish
exceptions to society's norms. Thus when a person appears to fit within – or almost within –
society's norms, one is assumed not to be transsexual or transgender. When a person sees
someone that isn't easily classified as a man or a woman, the viewer still almost never assumes
the subject to be trans. Take for example the "Saturday Night Live" character "Pat".[31] The
comedy is based on other characters' curiosity about Pat's gender. They ask leading yet socially
acceptable questions whose answer might confirm Pat as a man or a woman. Invariably, Pat
answers without doing so. Even after several rounds of such questioning, the characters never
conclude that Pat is trans.[32] Such are the rules of polite society: it would be rude to assume
another person is trans. As this training is so deep (and it is impossible to perceive another's
thoughts), it is not possible to notice each trans person one meets. Thus the idea that trans women
are somehow more feminine is an unprovable assertion most often made by those who wish to
malign trans women as uneducated, and unliberated, and who threaten to serve as a useful tool
enabling anti-feminist movements.[6][33][34] Femininity in transsexual women is noticed and
punished much more harshly than the same behaviors in non-transsexual women. This double
standard reveals that the behavior itself is not as problematic to many critics as the existence of
trans people.[16][35] Julia Serano refers to the breed of misogyny experienced by trans women as
'transmisogyny'.[36]

Womyn-born-womyn

Janice Raymond, Mary Daly and Sheila Jeffreys, among others, argue that the feminist
movement should not concern itself in any way with the needs of trans women. The idea that
only "womyn-born-womyn" can fully identify with the experience of being a woman conflicts
with the radical feminist concept that "biology does not equal destiny". Opponents argue that
excluding trans women from women's spaces denies them their right to self-identification.

Radical feminism and transfeminism

While many radical feminists have expressed anti-trans viewpoints, not all have dismissed
transgenderism and transsexualism outright. The radical feminist writer and activist Andrea
Dworkin, in her book Woman Hating, argued against the persecution and hatred of transsexuals
and demanded that sex reassignment surgery be provided freely to transsexual people by the
community. Dworkin argued that "every transsexual has the right to survival on his/her own
terms. That means every transsexual is entitled to a sex-change operation, and it should be
provided by the community as one of its functions."[37]

Some transgender women have been involved in lesbian feminism and radical feminism. A
prominent example is Sandy Stone, a transsexual lesbian feminist who worked as a sound
technician for the lesbian-feminist Olivia Records. In June and July 1977, when twenty-two
feminists protested Stone's participation, Olivia Records defended her employment by saying
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that Stone was a "woman we can related to with comfort and trust" and that she was "perhaps
even the Goddess-sent engineering wizard we had so long sought."[38]

Cissexism in radical feminism

Radical feminist Janice Raymond's 1979 book, The Transsexual Empire, was and still is
controversial due to its unequivocal condemnation of transsexual surgeries. In the book
Raymond says, "All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an
artifact, appropriating this body for themselves .... Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious
means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive."[14] (p. 104)

Perhaps the most visible battleground of feminists and transfeminists has been the Michigan
Womyn's Music Festival. The festival ejected a transsexual woman, Nancy Burkholder, in the
early 1990s.[39] Since then, the festival has admitted "womyn-born-womyn" only. The activist
group Camp Trans formed to protest the transphobic "womyn-born-womyn" policy and to
advocate for greater acceptance of trans people within the feminist community. A number of
prominent trans activists and transfeminists were involved in Camp Trans including Riki
Wilchins, Jessica Xavier, and Leslie Feinberg.[citation needed] The festival considered allowing post-
operative trans women to attend, however this was criticized as classist, as many trans women
cannot afford genital surgery.[40]

Kimberly Nixon is a trans woman who volunteered for training as a rape crisis counselor at
Vancouver Rape Relief in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1995. When Nixon's transsexual status
was determined, she was expelled. The staff decided that Nixon's status made it impossible for
her to understand the experiences of their clients, and also required their clients to be genetically
female. Nixon disagreed, disclosing her own history of partner abuse and sued for
discrimination. Nixon's attorneys argued that there was no basis for the dismissal, citing Diana
Courvant's experiences as the first publicly transsexual woman to work in a women-only
domestic violence shelter. In 2007 the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear Nixon's appeal,
ending the case.[41][42][43]

Transsexual women such as Sandy Stone challenged the feminist conception of "biological
woman". Stone worked as a sound engineer for Olivia Records from about 1974 to 1978,
resigning as the controversy over a trans woman working for a lesbian-identified enterprise
increased.[44] The debate continued in Raymond's book,[14] which devoted a chapter to criticism of
"the transsexually constructed lesbian-feminist." Groups like Lesbian Organization of Toronto
instituted "womyn-born womyn only" policies. A formal request to join the L.O.O.T. was made
by a male-to-female transsexual lesbian in 1978. In response, the organization voted to exclude
trans women. During informal discussion, members of L.O.O.T expressed their outrage that in
their view a "sex-change he-creature...dared to identify himself as a woman and a lesbian." In
their public response L.O.O.T. wrote -

A woman's voice was almost never heard as a woman's voice - it was always filtered through
men's voices. So here a guy comes along saying, "I'm going to be a girl now and speak for girls."
And we thought, "No you're not." A person cannot just joined the oppressed by fiat.
77

[45]

Sheila Jeffreys labeled transgenderism "deeply problematic from a feminist perspective and
[stated] that transsexualism should be seen as a violation of human rights."[46] She has also
written the upcoming Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism,
which will be a book-length dismissal of what she calls the "idea and practice of
transgenderism".

Major issues within transfeminism


Inclusion in mainstream feminism

Transfeminists struggle to be accepted by mainstream feminism. Groups such as the Lesbian


Avengers accept transfeminists, while others reject them. Feminist organizations that include
both heterosexual and non-heterosexual women are often more welcoming than non-heterosexual
specific organizations. Particularly reluctant are gender-segregated shelters and sexual assault
support centers.

Max Wolf Valerio contributed as an out trans man to feminist anthology "This Bridge We Call
Home," which followed "This Bridge Called My Back", to which Valerio contributed before
coming out. Whether trans men are acceptable in a group, place, or event can vary with nuances
of identity, membership, or personal relationship. A man's acceptance or rejection often depends
on his past contributions to feminism and friendly relationships with a prominent group member.
[47]
There is no clear trend on feminist acceptance of trans men other than more sophisticated
discussions.[citation needed]

Some trans women[who?] do not consider 'transfeminist' to be an appropriate self-descriptor for


trans men to use, because the focus of transfeminism is liberating trans women from
transmisogyny, which trans men do not experience.

Gender identity disorder (GID)

Gender identity disorder is currently listed as a diagnosable mental disorder in the DSM-IV-TR
and the ICD-10. Many transfeminists and traditional feminists propose that this diagnosis be
discarded because of its abusive use by people with power.[48] Transfeminists argue that being
gender different is the right of all persons.[11] When arguing for the maintenance of the current
diagnostic category, pro-GID transfeminists typically concede past misuse of the diagnosis while
arguing for retention with greater professional accountability.[49]

In many situations or legal jurisdictions, transsexual people have insurance coverage for surgery
only because of the diagnosis. Removal would therefore increase patient costs. In other
situations, anti-discrimination laws which protect legally disabled people apply to transsexual
people only so long as a diagnosis exists. In other cases, transgender people are protected by sex
discrimination rules or as a separate category.[50] This economic issue can split advocates along
class lines.[citation needed]
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At the 2006 Trans Identity Conference at the University of Vermont, Courvant presented an
analysis of this controversy. She noted that "eliminationists" must decide whether their efforts to
destigmatize trans people conflict with efforts to destigmatize mental illness and whether
removing the GID category would actually help with the former, while disrupting the current,
albeit limited, insurance regime. Conversely, "preservationists" must address the problem of
faulty diagnoses and improper "treatment".[51] She proposed retaining the category and focusing
efforts on legitimating mental illness and improving acceptance of trans people, leaving aside the
diagnosis question.
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