Feminist Explanations for Inequality (Part 1)

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  • Created on: 18-03-19 15:35
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  • Feminism Explanations for Social Inequalities (Gender)
    • Liberal
      • Focus on obtaining equal opportunities for men and women in politics, the workplace and education. They believe that unfair laws and practices that discriminate against the sexes are the reasons behind inequality, not biology. Changes in the norms and values will bring equality. Men are not the enemy- they will happily work alongside men to bring about change.
        • Oakley (1974)
          • 3. However, postmodernists believe gender is no longer fixed, and less gender norms are present, therefore Oakley's view is out of date.
          • 2. This is then reinforced by other agents of socialisation like the media and the education system.
          • 1. Through manipulation (encouragement of gender-appropriate behaviour) and canalisation (the channelling of children to certain toys, clothes and roles), children are taught their gender's accepted behaviour.
          • 4. Oakley regards children as passive recipients, whereas this is not necessarily the case always. Some children actively go against gender norms.
    • Radical
      • Patriarchy is the main source of oppression. Society is run by men in the interests of men, and so are advantaged in every area of society.
        • Millet (1970)
          • Family is central to the oppression of women, as it is through the reinforcement of "natural" gender roles, which allowed men to take control over women, as women who are frequently pregnant cannot do as much work.
        • Johnson (1995)
          • Men are prepared to defend their  power at all costs, including by using violence. This is dubbed as "patriarchal terrorism", which involves the systematic use of threats, isolation and other forms of abuse in order to control women. The World Health Organisation reported in 2013 that the number of women who had experienced domestic abuse from a partner in their lifetime was 30%.
        • They also view the nuclear family as being male dominated, and designed to allow men to keep their power over females by submitting them to unpaid domestic labour and to become mothers.
        • Some radical feminists also believe heterosexuality as a norm in society also helps the patriarchy, as it leaves women no choice but to live with the enemy. As Atkinson said "feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice".
        • Evaluation
          • Tends to talk refer to one singular family type and not acknowledge the variations of families that exist, especially within different ethnic groups and different classes. ?
          • They see women as sharing common interests because of their gender whereas the reality is that social class, age and ethnicity are other important inequalities for women (a working-class woman is probably gong to have more in common with a working-class man than an upper-class woman)?
          • Liberal Feminists believe that women's position in society has changed over time and that Radical Feminists tend to ignore that.?
          • Over-emphasises the differences between men and women- they can work together cooperatively in society in many ways.?
    • Marxist


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