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MARXISM AND FEMINISM

He is the bourgeoisie and the


wife represents the proletariat.
Frederick Engels, 1884

Monica Barrientos
Adriana Pitteta

IMPORTANCE OF THE MARXIST THEORY IN THE


DEVELOPMENT OF FEMINIST THEORY
The notion of consciousness-raising
Three aspects important element of the Marxism theory:
1) The theory of materialist determinism and the
formation of the ideology and class consciousness.
2) Theories about labor and capitalism, specifically,
about alienated labor and the determination of
economic value.
3) The one sustained piece of feminist theory
produced by Marx and Engels: Origin of the Family,
Private Property, and the State (1884).

I. THE THEORY OF MATERIALIST DETERMINISM


Marx believed that governing the ideology in
a society is determined by the economic
interests of the ruling class, the capitalist in
the case of his own and contemporary
society.
The ruled class, the proletariat, comes to
consciousness in opposition to the ruling
class or bourgeoisie.
Therefore, class consciousness seems to
form dialectically in opposition of the ruling
class.

Class consciousness

Requires that class members see the world


from the perspectives of their own true class
interests and not from the point of view of the
interests of the oppressor class.

Marxist
Feminism:
the
false
consciousness
of
male-identified
ideologies that serve the male, ruling group
interests.

II. THEORY OF LABOR AND CAPITALISM


Alienation
Generally refers to the modern experience of
being cut off from oneself, from others, and from
a sense of meaning.
Marx determines that the root cause of
alienation is the conditions of alienated labor
created by industrial capitalism.
The product becomes a thing that is alienated
from the workers who feel unfulfilled by their
work and deprived of a sense of participating in
an integrated process
Marx called
Reification

Economic value

Use values: the worth of an article produced for


consumption, and usually by members of ones group.
Home labor such as cooking, knitting, weaving, generally
womans work, thought Marx did not note it!
Exchange values: articles to be used for exchange. It is
value for its abstract character as an exchange token, as
commodity, and not necessarily for its inherent qualitative
worth.
Surplus value: Difference between a worker's wages
(exchange value) and the value of goods and services he or
she produces (use value).For Marxist Feminist, this is a
crucial point to the question of where domestic labor or
housework fits into this theory that Marx and Engels did not
treat it.

ORIGIN OF THE FAMILY, PRIVATE PROPERTY,


AND THE STATE (ENGELS)

The central thesis is that prehistoric, communistic


matriarchate was overturned at particular moment
by the patriarchate.
The first great change that led to the patriarchal
take the control and the development of alienation
was the domestication of animals.
The domestic labor began to count less in
comparison to the wealth man was accumulating.
The analogy is clear: he is the bourgeoisie and
the wife represents the proletariat (Engels)

THE WOMAN QUESTION


1 All women, not just working-class women,
are oppressed in the capitalist society.
2Divisions of labor according to sex exist in
every known society.
3Womens oppression bears strong
analogies to the oppression of racial and
national groups, as well as to the exploitation
of subordinated classes.