Women Emancipation

The emancipation of women, i.e. their liberation from religious, legal, economic, and sexual oppression, their access to higher education, and their escape from narrow gender roles is not easily achieved. The struggle for sexual equality has a long history and is likely to continue for some time. Even if it should soon be won in the industrial nations, it may well rage on in many "underdeveloped" countries. . The following pages briefly sketch the history of the modern feminist movement in Europe and America and offer some observations about the position of women in the contemporary world.

In traditionally patriarchal societies any improvement in the status of women has far-reaching consequences and produces farfundamental political changes. Therefore it is always resisted by the established powers. However, it seems certain that they will ultimately have to relent, because the emancipation of women is both necessary and desirable. It will provide for a greater degree of social justice and thus benefit everyone. Indeed, from the beginning, the great "feminists" or champions of women's rights have always insisted that they worked in the interest of the whole human race. The feminist movement therefore has always been a humanist movement. Some of its representatives were reformers, others revolutionaries, but virtually all of them worked for a better, more equitable, and more humane world. Much can be learned from their experiences. They often suffered ridicule, persecution, and defeat, but also won admiration, support, and victory. Gradually, they achieved many of their goals. Their opponents, on the other hand, learned that a just cause cannot be suppressed forever. Where needed reforms are consistently

BEGIN with an admission: Regardless of all political and economic theories, treating of the fundamental differences between various groups within the human race, regardless of class and race distinctions, regardless of all artificial boundary lines between woman's rights and man's rights, I hold that there is a point where these differentiations may meet and grow into one perfect whole.

brought about through the force of opposing and contradictory interests. The general social antagonism which has taken hold of our entire public life today. . based upon the principles of economic justice.With this I do not mean to propose a peace treaty. will crumble to pieces when the reorganization of our social life. shall have become a reality.

the true democrat and the true individuality. rather. The motto should not be: Forgive one another. fellowThe admission partly represents the fundamental aspect of my views on the emancipation of woman and its effect upon the entire sex .Peace or harmony between the sexes and individuals does not necessarily depend on a superficial equalization of human beings. To understand one's fellow-being suffices. is how to be one's self and yet in oneness with others. This seems to me to be the basis upon which the mass and the individual. can meet without antagonism and opposition." has never particularly appealed to me. Understand one another. to feel deeply with all human beings and still retain one's own characteristic qualities. nor does it call for the elimination of individual traits and peculiarities. and which the nearest future is to solve. man and woman. to forgive one's fellow-being conveys the idea of fellowpharisaical superiority. The problem that confronts us today. The oft-quoted sentence of Madame de oftStaël: "To understand everything means to forgive everything. it has the odor of the confessional.

Emancipation should make it possible for woman to be human in the truest sense. This was the original aim of the movement for woman's emancipation. wheels. so- . anything. except the forms which would be reached by the expression of her own inner qualities. and the road towards greater freedom cleared of every trace of centuries of submission and slavery. Such artificially grown plants of the female sex are to be found in large numbers. pyramids. especially in the so-called intellectual sphere of our life. Everything within her that craves assertion and activity should reach its fullest expression. But the results so far achieved have isolated woman and have robbed her of the fountain springs of that happiness which is so essential to her. all artificial barriers should be broken. who reminds one of the products of French arboriculture with its arabesque trees and shrubs. and wreaths. Merely external emancipation has made of the modern woman an artificial being.

nevertheless. and ceaseless effort of the tremendous host of pioneer men and women. Now. My hopes also move towards that goal.Liberty and equality for woman! What hopes and aspirations these words awakened when they were first uttered by some of the noblest and bravest souls of those days. who staked everything against a world of prejudice and ignorance. courage. in this world woman was to be free to direct her own destiny--an aim destiny--an certainly worthy of the great enthusiasm. The sun in all his light and glory was to rise upon a new world. . woman is confronted with the necessity of emancipating herself from emancipation. This may sound paradoxical. has failed to reach that great end. but I hold that the emancipation of woman. if she really desires to be free. only too true. perseverance. but is. as interpreted and practically applied today.

Nevertheless.THE BEGINNINGS OF FEMINISM IN EUROPE The ancient Romans and Celts had granted considerable freedom to women. In the Middle Ages single women still enjoyed many rights. in general. The nun Hroswitha of Gandersheim as a playwright. Guillemine of Bohemia as a religious leader. women were secondsecond-class citizens. occasionally individual women were able to break out of conventional patterns and to impress their contemporaries with their accomplishments. but with the arrival of Christianity their legal status began to decline. Thus. Medieval queens like Matilda of Scotland (wife of Henry I of England) and Philippa of Hainault (wife of Edward III of England) even exercised a considerable and very beneficial political influence. but had to surrender them to their husbands upon marriage. . and Joan of Arc as a soldier proved that the female sex was not inferior even in "male" occupations.

. but also against any other women with higher aspirations. or empire above any realm. and Elizabeth I of England." This Natural-Law argument was to be used many Naturalmore times in the following centuries not only against female monarchs. not rule and command him. superiority. Marguerite of Navarre. Catherine de Medici. Some noblewomen also won distinction as writers and scholars. or city is repugnant to Nature. the daughter of Thomas More.The Renaissance saw more women of power. . Indeed. dominion. for example. exclaimed: "To promote a Woman to bear rule. such as Margaret Roper. such as Diane de Poitiers. Woman in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey man.. contumely to God. The Scottish religious reformer John Knox. the intellectual independence of women grew to a point where it frightened many men who then attacked it in vituperative books and pamphlets. nation.. in his First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women (1558).

Or the Womanish Man (1620) which declared: "We are as freeborn as Men." It went on to demand equal treatment for both sexes and to equate the oppression of women with slavery. we are compounded of like parts. have as free election and as free spirit. . and may with like liberty make benefit of our creations.

From Mme. continued to this very day. novelists and playwrights. de La Fayette and Aphra Behn continued to excel as scholars. such as the Swedish queen Christina and the French and English writers Mme. and Si-mone de Beauvoir. the influence of women on French intellectual life was not diminished and has." i. . and erudition were esteemed and exercised. de Stae'l. sexually integrated intellectual circles where good manners. George Sand.In the 17th century a few women. In France. French Siwomen have held a position of eminence in French literature. wit. in fact. That these efforts were not appreciated by everyone can be seen in Moliere's comedies Les Precieuses Ridicules and Les Femmes Savantes which satirize female attempts to enter "high culture.e. de Sevigne to Mme. learned women began to cultivate "salons." Still.

When. jeanjean-Jacques Rousseau. after which they were to be . Indeed. in his influential Emile (1762) flatly stated: "The education of women should always be relative to that of men.However. to console us. To please. In the meantime. in 1793 the National Convention suppressed all women's clubs. These are the duties of women at all times. to render our lives easy and agreeable. Condorcet himself soon became a victim of the revolutionary "reign of terror" and his proposal. As a matter of fact. women were not given any political rights. in 1 789y the French Revolution broke out. and "salons. to advise." For a very long time this remained the accepted view. to make us love and esteem them. to take care of us when grown up. along with others." and denied women all political rights. some attempts were made to secure equal rights and equal education for women. with a new growing cult of "nature" even an intellectual education for women came to be seen as inappropriate. Unfortunately. while female intellectual brilliance found recognition in exceptional cases. and what they should be taught in their infancy. Talleyrand had formulated the educational policies of the new government which offered girls public education up to the age of eight. to educate us when young. most notably by the Marquis de Condorcet in his essay The Admission of Women to Full Citizenship (1790). to be useful to us. societies. was quickly repudiated.

and who admired both Rousseau and Talleyrand. In direct response to Rousseau she affirmed: "Woman was not created merely to be the solace of man. nevertheless felt compelled to protest against this reactionary trend." Instead. she demanded full and equal education for all women as a means of escaping sexual oppression. She therefore challenged both of these male authors in her Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792).. On this sexual error has all the false system been erected. which robs our whole sex of its dignity..The English writer Mary Wollstonecraft. . The invocation of "nature" in defense of oppresoppres- . who had observed the French Revolution at close range.

) (1412However. Curiously enough. for most of human history women have been denied any active role in the military. .WOMEN AS SOLDIERS One of the most famous and successful military commanders of all time was a teenage girl: Joan of Arc (1412-31 A.D. the myths and legends of many cultures tel! of soldiersoldier-like women and even of whole female armies.

. she argued for equal opportunity and equal rights. Rousseau had offered this seemingly "objective" observation: "Boys love sports and noise and activity: to whip the top. The fight for the "Rights of Man" was more properly broadened to include the "rights of humanity"." Woll-stonecraft now replied: "Little girls are forced Wollto sit still and play with trinkets. ornament² dolls. girls on the other hand are fond of things of show and ornament²trinkets. Who can say whether they are fond of them or not?" For her. to beat the drum. mirrors. In demanding the abolition of these distinctions. to drag about their little carts. Women should enter all professions and become active in politics. the different behaviors of males and females arose out of "unnatural" distinctions created by society.sive policies left her unconvinced.

by extension. we find that today the meaning of the word is both wider and narrower than it had been before. By the early 19th century this usage had virtually replaced the others.) . or a group of people living together. wives. These various meanings were still very much alive in medieval English. well through the Renaissance the word "family" was used to mean either a body of servants. to all persons ruled by one man or descended from one man. such as servants. or the retinue of a nobleman.THE FAMILY IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE The word "family" (from Latin famulus: domestic slave) originally referred to a group of slaves belonging to one man. friends. parents. other close and distant relatives. and finally to all persons living together in a man's household. Thus. then. or a group of people related by blood. grandparents. Indeed. children. and since then "family" has referred mostly to an intimate domestic group of parents and their children. It was not until the 17th and 18th centuries that the last two of these meanings were combined to describe a new social phenomenon: a small number of close relatives who lived by themselves under the same roof and who were also emotionally close to each other. (The same semantic shifts at roughly the same time can be observed in the French famille and the German Familie. and permanent guests.

e.This means. as our philological observations suggest.. i. that our present particular concept of family cannot simply be applied to other cultures or even to our own past.e.e. . among other things. the family (something now often called "domestic family"). people who live together. people who are related. whether they live together or not. 3. we have to be more discriminate and. we should perhaps distinguish between at least three separate phenomena: 1. i. people who are related and who live together.. whether they are related or not. the household. i. 2.. The kindred. If we really want to understand the issue.

which dominates the discussion. For example. the main interest is focused on the one case where they happen to coincide.S. for the purposes of a recent U. marriage.In our own present culture it is usually the third of these phenomena. Kindred systems and household patterns by themselves are now generally neglected as social issues. "family" was officially defined as "two or more persons related by blood. . Census. Instead. or adoption and living together in a household". the "domestic family".

a man and his adopted grandchild. a man and his adopted child. this current definition of "family" is. two sisters. 5. Still. a man and his natural grandchild. Even in the simplest case. upon closer examination.Compared to its previous wide range of meanings. 8. a brother and a sister. 7. 2. a woman and her adopted grandchild. 3. a woman and her natural child. 6. 11. 9. and 12. A childless married couple. a woman and her adopted child. 10. a man and his natural child. of course. 4. we may find any one of at least a dozen different relationships: 1. . where a family consists of only two persons. a woman and her natural grandchild. it covers a surprising variety of possible combinations. very narrow. two brothers.

descriptive statistics. Census. even if they comprise only two elements. stepbrothers. or adoption". the list could easily be expanded by including greatgreatgrandparents. or become "disorganized". stepsisters. cousins. According to the U. marriage. As we can see. . all of the above examples represent legitimate families in their own right.Actually. must be considered families as long as some common living arrangement is involved. and still other persons "related by blood. larger families that have "broken up". for them. Thus. any and all of these social units. but rather look for a practical way of describing present realities. uncles. the government bureaucrats who use the word "family" in this fashion thereby express a restrictive and modern. After all. aunts. not fragments of other. but also a "neutral" view. they want simple. They do not postulate a particular type or ideal of domestic family. stepparents.S.

for example. a family should include three persons of two generations: a father. do not constitute a family. greatgreatgrandparents. cousins. a mere vestige or relic of what a family should be. but also the largest possible domestic family.S. and nieces really belong to the family proper. Instead. and that. he is likely to feel that a husband and his wife or a brother and his sister. To him. at the very least. aunts. . most people today would probably be reluctant to go very far beyond that basic constellation. Therefore. Here again. Thus. it will be remembered. the "two"twoperson family" may not appear as a "real" family at all. They say nothing about the size of the family or the degree of relationship between its members. nephews. the average citizen may see the matter quite differently. and a child. uncles. include any additional number of children. Their decisive criterion is the common household. the definition of the U. They would. of course. but might begin to wonder whether grandparents. On the other hand.However. he may regard it as a regrettable exception. Census covers not only the smallest. a mother. the census takers think differently.

but rarely of more than two generations. They usually consist of more than two persons. If domestic families can come in different shapes and sizes. and if one particular combination is clearly favored today. there seems to be a general trend to reduce or restore the family to a certain "natural" elementary group or "kernel" of a married couple and their offspring.Still. some further distinction seems to be useful. Instead. Such a distinction has been provided by sociologists who commonly list two basic types of domestic family: . Therefore it seems that the single term "domestic family" is inadequate for a more detailed discussion. Both very large and very small families are now considered atypical. in actual fact most modern American families fall somewhat between the extremes.

In the preceding relatively prosperous agrarian culture women had worked on an almost equal footing with men and had been skilled in many occupations. It took many decades of struggle before unionization and legal reform ended the crassest form of this discrimination. paid much less for such work than men. Of course. and thus their economic "value" declined. . and women received recognition for contributing their substantial share. Families were still "producing units". although much remains still to be done. The factory system changed all that by breaking up the traditional extended family with its large household and by giving people specialized monotonous tasks behind perpetually moving machines. but had degraded them even further by exploiting them and their children in factories as cheap labor. however. Women and children were.THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN THE WORLD TODAY Since the early days of the Industrial Revolution women in Europe and North America have made considerable progress towards equality with men. the industrialization of Western countries at first had not improved the status of women.

These idle women often played the role of frail. in addition to economic issues. . Today.and upper-class women were increasingly middleupperconfined to the home with little to do except to take care of their children. both working-class and bourgeois women workinginsisted on change and contributed to the success of feminism. many of them also became critical of their position in society. On the other hand. and.At the same time. even in the industrialized countries women continue to fight for equal rights. middle. This success still is not total. however. but were absent during most of the day. Eventually. problems of sexual selfself-determination have come to the foreground. sensitive creatures who had "the vapours" and fainted in any "indelicate" situation. They found time to devote themselves to various religious and moral causes and even to become interested in abolition and the women's rights movement. Their husbands no longer worked inside the house. as we all know.

For instance. or more generally in discussion of such matters. "Political emancipation" as a phrase is less common in modern usage. can be seen as further 1965. foreign or activist contexts. similar concepts may be referred to by other terms. However. to obtain political rights or equality. often for a specifically disenfranchised group. especially outside academic.Emancipation Emancipation is a term used to describe various efforts equality. in the United States the civil rights movement culminating in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. realization of events such as the Emancipation Proclamation and abolition of slavery a century earlier .

and the only infringement on it is coercion by men. In this sense µfreedom¶ refers solely to the relation of men to other men. The opposite of a free society would be a totalitarian state.Freedom (political Political freedom is the absence of interference with the sovereignty of an individual by the use of coercion or aggression. which highly restricts political freedom in order to regulate almost every aspect of behavior.[ . The members of a free society would have full dominion over their public and private lives.[ men.

ranging from culture to law.[4][5] forms in a variety of disciplines such as feminist geography.[1][2] The first wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[1][2] waves. access to rights. theories and moral philosophies concerned with gender inequalities and equal rights for women.[3] Feminist Theory present. criticism. rape.[6][7] workplace rights. abortion. Feminism has altered aspects of Western society. cultural and political movements.Feminism Feminism comprises a number of social. against sexual harassment and rape. According to some. a woman's right to bodily integrity and autonomy (especially on matters such as reproductive rights. the second was in the 1960s and 1970s and the third extends from the 1990s to the present. Feminist political activists have been concerned with issues such as a woman's right of contract and property. including the right to abortion.[3] developed from the feminist movement. for protection from domestic violence.[8][9][10] discrimination.[6][7] for violence. history and feminist literary criticism. and against other forms of discrimination.[4][5] It takes a number of movement. feminist geography. movements. the history of feminism consists of three waves.[8][9][10] . contraception and quality prenatal care). including maternity leave and equal pay.

parts of Latin America and Southeast Asia. such as Angela Davis and Alice Walker. Since that time. the Caribbean. women in former European colonies and the Third World have proposed alternative "post-colonial" and "Third World" feminisms "postas well. feminists.[11] feminists. Chandra Talpade Mohanty. This trend accelerated in the 1960s with the Civil Rights movement in the United States and the collapse of European colonialism in Africa. feminism for being ethnocentric. ethnocentric.Throughout much of its history.[13] . women of other races have proposed alternative feminisms.[11] Some Postcolonial feminists. most of the leaders of feminist social and political movements. However. have been predominantly middle-class middlewhite women from western Europe and North America. at least since Sojourner Truth's 1851 speech to US Feminists.[13] view.[12] Black feminists. share this view. as well as many feminist theorists. such as well. are critical of Western Mohanty. Walker.

and prostitution) and culturally specific issues (such as female genital mutilation in some parts of Africa and the Middle East and glass ceiling practices that impede women's advancement in developed economies) in order to understand how gender inequality interacts with racism."[14][15] domination. incest. colonization in a "matrix of domination.[16][17][18] . homophobia. prostitution) (such as rape.[16][17][18] phenomena. homophobia. classism and racism.Since the 1980s some feminists (including the standpoint feminists) have argued that the feminists) feminist movement should address global issues incest."[14][15] Other feminists have argued that gender roles are social rather than biological phenomena.

beginning in the 1990s. and a reaction to the perceived failures of. The second wave refers to the ideas and actions associated with the women's liberation movement beginning in the 1960s (which campaigned for legal and cultural equality for women). The first wave refers mainly to women's suffrage movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (concerned with women's right to vote).History of Feminism Feminists and scholars have divided the movement's history into three "waves". The third wave refers to a continuation of.[3] . second-wave feminism.

Originally it focused on the promotion of equal contract and property rights for women and the opposition to chattel marriage and ownership of married women (and their children) by their husbands. However. Yet. and economic rights at this reproductive.[19] time. activism focused primarily on gaining political power.[19] . in the United Kingdom and the United States. suffrage. feminists such as Voltairine de Cleyre and Margaret Sanger were still active in campaigning for women's sexual. by the end of the nineteenth century. reproductive. time. particularly the right of women's suffrage.FirstFirst-wave feminism FirstFirst-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century States.

Pitts.[20] In the United States leaders of this movement eighteen.[20] included Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. coined retrospectively after the term second-wave feminism began to be secondused to describe a newer feminist movement that focused as much on fighting social and cultural inequalities as political inequalities. campaigned for the abolition of slavery prior to championing women's right Stone. Anthony. Other important leaders include Lucy Stone.In Britain the Suffragettes campaigned for the women's vote. American first-wave feminism involved a wide range of women. In 1918 the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed granting the vote to women over the age of 30 who owned houses. Olympia Brown. In 1928 this was extended to all women over eighteen. States first-wave feminism is considered to have ended with the passage of firstthe Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1919). Brown. and Helen Pitts.[19][21][22][23][24] inequalities. granting women the right to vote in all states.[19][21][22][23][24] . firstsome belonging to conservative Christian groups (such as Frances Willard and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union). to vote. was wave. diversity and radicalism of much of second-wave feminism (such as Matilda secondJoslyn Gage and the National Woman Suffrage Association). who each Anthony. In the United Association).The term first wave. others resembling the Union).

second-wave feminism was largely concerned with other issues of secondequality.SecondSecond-wave feminism SecondSecond-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity beginning in the early 1960s and lasting through the late 1980s. The scholar Imelda Whelehan suggests that the second wave was a continuation of the earlier phase of feminism involving the suffragettes in the UK and USA.[25] Secondthirdfeminism. such as the end to discrimination.[19] .[6] firstsuch as suffrage. With her essay "The Personal is Political. Secondcoexists with what is termed third-wave feminism.[6] If first-wave feminism focused on rights wave." Carol Hanisch coined a slogan that became synonymous with the second wave.[25] Second-wave feminism has existed continuously since that time and USA. Second-wave feminists saw cultural and political inequalities as inextricably linked and encouraged women to understand aspects of their personal lives as deeply politicized as well as reflective of a sexist structure of power.[19] discrimination.

Women's Liberation in the USA The phrase "Women¶s Liberation" was first used in the United States in 1964[26] and first appeared in print in 1964[26] 1966.[28] Bramovement.[29] women's liberation movement has been the African hooks. American feminist and intellectual bell hooks.[27] By 1968. who argues that the movement's glossing over of race and class was part of its failure to address "the issues that divided women".[29] One of the most vocal critics of the movement.[30] .[27] 1966. She has highlighted the lack of minority voices in the women's movement. it Ramparts.[30] movement. was starting to refer to the whole women¶s movement. although the term Women¶s Liberation Front appeared in the magazine Ramparts.[28] Bra-burning also became associated with the movement.

homemaking. Such a system causes women to completely lose their identity in that of their family. America's post-war economic boom had led to the postdevelopment of new technologies that were supposed to make household work less difficult. The Feminine Mystique ³ignited the contemporary women's movement in 1963 and as a result permanently transformed the social fabric of the United States and countries around the world´ and ³is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.[ . According to Friedan's obituary in the The New York Times. but that often had the result of making women's work less meaningful and valuable.The Feminine Mystique Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) criticized the idea that women could only find fulfillment through childrearing and homemaking. Times.´[31] that women are victims of a false belief system that requires them to find identity and meaning in their lives through their husbands and children.[ valuable.´[31] In the book Friedan hypothesizes century. Friedan specifically locates this system middleamong post-World War II middle-class suburban communities. At postthe same time.

feminists. good for females.ThirdThird-wave feminism ThirdThird-wave feminism began in the early 1990s.The third wave has its origins in the mid-1980s. Chela Anzaldua. Gilligan. and many Moraga. raceThirdThird-wave feminism also consists of debates between difference feminists. A postmiddlestructuralist interpretation of gender and sexuality is central to much of the third wave's ideology. Kingston. or is not. Cherrie Moraga. sought to negotiate a space within feminist thought for consideration of race-related subjectivities. conditioning. Sandoval. Lorde. . Third-wave feminists often focus on "micro-politics" Third"microand challenge the second wave's paradigm as to what is. ThirdThird-wave feminism seeks to challenge or avoid what it deems the second wave's essentialist definitions of femininity. bell hooks. Audre Lorde. arising as a response to perceived failures of the second wave and also as a response to the backlash against initiatives and movements created by the second wave. 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. Maxine Hong Kingston. other black feminists. overpostemphasize the experiences of upper middle-class white women. hooks. Feminist leaders midrooted in the second wave like Gloria Anzaldua. such as the psychologist Carol Gilligan. which (according to them) overfemininity.

PostPost-feminism French feminism Simone de Beauvoir 1970s±present .

affordable health care. "equal pay for equal work". education. affordable childcare.Feminism's many forms Liberal feminism Liberal feminism asserts the equality of men and women through political and legal reform. It is an individualistic form of feminism. sexual harassment. and bringing to light the frequency of sexual . Issues important to liberal feminists include reproductive and abortion rights. all women are capable of asserting their ability to achieve equality. According to liberal feminists. voting. which focuses on women¶s ability to show and maintain their equality through their own actions and choices. Liberal feminism uses the personal interactions between men and women as the place from which to transform society. therefore it is possible for change to happen without altering the structure of society.

stereotyping. The last phase she calls "gender theory". in which the "woman is producer of textual meaning" "gynocriticism". in which the system" "ideological inscription and the literary effects of the sex/gender system" are explored". While providing a critique of these social and political relations. Themes explored in feminist theory include discrimination. objectification (especially sexual objectification). criticism. and patriarchy objectification). and philosophy Feminist theory aims studies. oppression. literary criticism. discrimination. sociology. linguistics and the problem of a female language. stereotyping. the trajectory of the individual or collective female literary career [and] literary history". to understand gender inequality and focuses on gender politics. oppression. economics. much of feminist theory also focuses on the promotion of women's rights and interests.[58] explored". economics. sociology. including anthropology. and sexuality. The second Showalter calls "gynocriticism". women's studies. including "the psychodynamics of female creativity. encompasses work in a variety of disciplines. The first she calls "feminist critique". It anthropology.[58] This model has been criticized by Toril Moi who sees it as an essentialist and deterministic model for female subjectivity and for failing to account for the situation of women outside the West . in which the feminist reader examines the ideologies behind literary phenomena. power relations.Feminist theory Feminist theory is an extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical fields. The American literary critic and feminist Elaine Showalter describes the phased development of feminist theory.

as the defining feature of women¶s oppression. which it describes as sexist. Radical feminists believe that women can free themselves only when they have done away with what they consider an inherently oppressive and dominating system. Most radical feminists see no alternatives other than the total uprooting and reconstruction of society in order to achieve their goals. and that as long as the system and its values are in place. .Women Emancipation Radical feminism considers the capitalist hierarchy. Radical feminists see capitalism as one of the most important barriers to ending oppression. Radical feminists feel that there is a male-based authority and power structure and that it maleis responsible for oppression and inequality. society will not be able to be reformed in any significant way.

and operating for the malebenefit of males and the maintenance of male privilege ² this separation being initiated or maintained.[61] Author Marilyn Frye describes separatist feminism as "separation of various sorts or modes from men and from institutions.[61] dynamics. roles and activities that are malemale-defined. It does not support heterosexual relationships because its proponents argue that the sexual disparities between men and women are unresolvable. by women . relationships. Separatist feminists generally do not feel that men can make positive contributions to the feminist movement and that even wellwell-intentioned men replicate patriarchal dynamics.Separatist feminism Separatist feminism is one form of radical feminism. male-dominated. at will.

such as antiCatharine MacKinnon. less academic. sex-positive Wars. Robin Morgan and Dorchen Leidholdt. is the origin of the term. MacKinnon. is a movement that was feminism. Sexprofeminism.SexSex-positive feminism sexsexpresentBoth the sex-positive and sex-negative forms of present-day feminism can trace their roots to early radical feminism. Some feminists joined the sexsexpositive feminist movement in response to anti-pornography feminists. such as the organization Feminists for Free Expression. sometimes known as pro-sex feminism. work. feminism. for example. but in direct response to what they saw as patriarchal control of sexuality. sexsex-radical feminism. Ellen Willis's 1981 essay. pro-sex feminism. "Lust Horizons: Is the Women's Movement Pro-Sex?" Proprofeminism. In it. who argued that heterosexual pornography was a central cause of women's oppression. prostitution. as occurred. Dworkin. or sexually liberal feminism. Other. she argues against feminists making alliances with the political right in opposition to pornography and prostitution. formed in order to address issues of women's sexual pleasure. Andrea Dworkin. Sex-positive feminism. Willis argues for a feminism that embraces sexual . The initial period of intense debate and acrimony between sex-positive and anti-pornography feminists during the early 1980s is sexantioften referred to as the Feminist Sex Wars. during the Meese Commission hearings in the United States. sex work. sexfeminists became involved not in opposition to other feminists. and inclusive gender identities.

In Brown's words. feminism with anarcho-capitalism or libertarianism. arguing that a propro-capitalist. it is inherently feminist"Recently. Anarcha-feminists view Anarchapatriarchy as a manifestation of hierarchy. believing that the fight against patriarchy is an essential part of the class struggle and the anarchist struggle against the state.Individualist anarchistanarchistfeminism has grown from the US-based individualist anarchism USmovement. an ideology which anarcho-feminism). . Wendy McElroy has defined a position (she describes it as "ifeminism" or "individualist feminism") that combines anarcholibertarianism.AnarchaAnarcha-feminism Another offshoot of radical feminism is anarcha-feminism (also anarchacalled anarchist feminism or anarcho-feminism). combines feminist and anarchist beliefs.AnarchaSusan Brown see the anarchist struggle as a necessary component of the feminist struggle.Anarcha-feminists such as state. anti-state position is compatible with an emphasis on antiequal rights and empowerment for women. "anarchism is a political philosophy that opposes all relationships of power.

and racism are sexism. Crenshaw.One of the theories that evolved out of this movement was Alice Walker's Womanism. Identity Politics and Violence Against Women of Color". class oppression. "Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality. These movements were largely white middle-class middlemovements and ignored oppression based on racism and classism.Forms of feminism that strive to overcome sexism and class oppression but ignore race can discriminate against many people. Kimberle Crenshaw. including women. Race.Black feminism Black feminism argues that sexism. and class in her book. since it would require the end of racism. theorist. gender. The Combahee River Collective argued in 1974 that the liberation of black women entails freedom for all people. and class oppression. and Class. through racial bias. It emerged after the early feminist movements that Womanism. gave the idea the name Intersectionality while discussing identity politics in her essay. Women. were led specifically by white women who advocated social changes such as woman¶s suffrage. . sexism. a prominent feminist law Class. Alice Walker and other Womanists pointed out that black women experienced a different and more intense kind of oppression from that of white wome Angela Davis was one of the first people who articulated an argument centered around the intersection of race. inextricably bound together.

domestic work. and not just on an individual basis.Prostitution. childcare. They see the need to work alongside not just men. .Socialist and Marxist feminisms Socialist feminism connects the oppression of women to Marxist ideas about exploitation. and marriage are all seen as ways in which women are exploited by a patriarchal system which devalues women and the substantial work that they do. oppression and labor. Socialist feminists focus their energies on broad change that affects society as a whole. but all other groups. as they see the oppression of women as a part of a larger pattern that affects everyone involved in the capitalist system. Socialist feminists see women as being held down as a result of their unequal standing in both the workplace and the domestic sphere.

Some contributors to socialist feminism have criticized these traditional Marxist ideas for being largely silent on gender oppression except to subsume it underneath broader class oppression.Marx felt that when class oppression was overcome. this view of gender oppression as a sub-class of class oppression is subnaive and much of the work of socialist feminists has gone towards separating gender phenomena from class phenomena. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century both Clara Zetkin and Eleanor Marx were against the demonization of men and supported a proletarian revolution that would overcome as many malemale-female inequalities as possible . writings of Frederick Engels and August Bebel as a powerful explanation of the link between gender oppression and class exploitation. point to the classic Marxist Party. gender oppression would vanish as well. notably two long-lived American organizations Radical longWomen and the Freedom Socialist Party. According to socialist feminists.Other socialist feminists.

and ethnic oppression. were monitored by the West for what was considered "social progress". after the formation of the United Nations. . In the 1940s and 1950s. Postcolonial feminism emerged from the gendered history of colonialism: colonial powers often imposed Western norms on colonized regions.PostPost-structural and postmodern feminism Postcolonial feminists argue that oppression relating to the colonial experience. former colonies Nations. has marginalized women in postcolonial societies. particularly racial. Postcolonial feminists today struggle to fight gender oppression within their own cultural models of society rather than through those imposed by the Western colonizers. They challenge the assumption that gender oppression is the primary force of patriarchy. Postcolonial feminists object to portrayals of women of non-Western nonsocieties as passive and voiceless victims and the portrayal of Western women as modern. class. educated and empowered. The status of women in the developing world has been monitored by organizations such as the United Nations and as a result traditional practices and roles taken up by women²sometimes seen as distasteful by women² Western standards²could be considered a form of rebellion against standards² colonial oppression.

Clara Zetkin of the Social Democratic Party of Germany called for women's suffrage to build a "socialist order. In Britain.Feminism and political movements Feminism and socialism Some early twentieth century feminists allied with socialism. During the Spanish Civil War. Radical Women. the women's movement was allied with the Labour party. founded in 1967 in Seattle is the oldest (and still active) socialist feminist organization in the U. Dolores Ibárruri (La Pasionaria) led the Communist Party of Spain. the only one that allows for a radical solution to the women's question". Although she supported equal rights for women. Betty Friedan emerged from a radical background to take command of the organized movement. In 1907 there was an International Conference of Socialist Women in Stuttgart where suffrage was described as a tool of class struggle.S. In America. she opposed women fighting on the front and clashed with the anarcho-feminist Mujeres Libres. Revolutions in Latin America brought changes in women's status in countries such as Nicaragua where Feminist ideology during the Sandinista Revolution was largely responsible for improvements .

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