- Created by: megrclarke
- Created on: 09-06-19 12:36
What is feminism?
- Feminists is a movement that argues; women suffer injustices in society because of their gender
- Feminists believe that most socities are based on patriarchy and male domination
- the first wave of feminism appeared in the 19th century with the suffragets
- Liberal feminists believe; that women can achieve equality through laws and policies against discrimination in areas such as employment and education
- Liberal feminists see sex differences as; biologically fixed
- they see gender as; socially constructed
- they promote appropriate role models in education - female teachers in traditional male subjects eg. science.
- in the family; they support the emergence of the 'new man' which is when the man takes an active role in the housework and childcare and is in touch with his 'feminine side'
- They can be seen as a critique of the functionalist view, despite being the closest feminist perspective to a concencus theory.
- they challenge the functionalist view of; 'the instrumental role' and 'expressive role'
evaluation of liberal feminists
Evaluation of liberal feminists
- their optimistic view is often criticised
- Marxist and radical feminists; liberal feminists fail to recgonise the underlying causes of female exploitation; policy changes aren't enough to bring about equality
THE KEY CONCEPT IS PATRIARCHY
RADICAL FEMINISTS ARGUE ;
1. Patriarchy is universal; Firestone (1974); the origins of patriarchy lie in women's capacity to bear children
2. Men are womens main enemy
3. All men oppress women; (unpaid domestic labour and sexual services)
More on radical feminism
- Radical feminists see all relationships as political ; when one induvidual decides to dominate another
- therefore relationships between the sexes are political because men dominate women
- men often do this through sexual or physical violence
- men benefit from family life more than women do. Men do very little housework compared to women.
- they see marriage as; a prison for women. Men may use violence against women if they don't get their own way
- Women and religion; some religions exclude women from places of worship and see women as 'unclean' for reasons such as childbirth.
Strategies for equality
1. Seperatism; living apart from men and creating a new culture of female independance
2 Consciousness raising; bringing women together to share experiences
3. Political lesbianism; heterosexual relationships involve 'sleeping with the enemy' lesbianism is the only non- opressive form of sexuality
Evaluation of Radical feminism
- the idea of 'separatism ' has been criticised for being vauge and unachievable
- Liberal feminists argue that partriarchy is in decline; reforms and changing attitudes has meant equal oppurtunities for women. Gender equality is becoming a reality.
- Radical feminism; ignores women's violence against men and violence within lesbian relationships
- Marxists; class is the primary form of inequality not patriarchy.
- Marxist feminists see womens subordination rooted in; capitalism. Men may benefit from womens subordination, but the main beneficiary is capitalism
Women serve capitalism in the following ways;
- Women look after the men who work for the bosses; they satisfy their physical, emotional and sexual needs
when men have had a bad day, they take out all their anger on their wives and children
- Women give birth to the next generation of workers
- Women are used in the labour market as 'the reserve army of labour'
Barret; alongside overthrowining capitalism, we must ovethrow stereotypes
Evaluation of Marxist feminism
- Marxist feminism fails to explain opression of women in non-capitalist socities
- 'Sex blind'; Marxist feminism is also accused of being 'sex blind'- fails to explain why its women and not men who perform these roles for capitalism
- it also fails to explain why all men and not just capitalism opress women
Difference feminism and poststructuralism
- Different groups; difference feminists argue that different groups of women have different experiences.
- other strands of feminism just assume that all women share the same experiences of opression
- Middle class women, working class women, white and black women, lesbian and hetrosexual women all have different experiences of patriarchy eg. homophobia, racism.
Difference feminism argues that feminism has claimed a false 'universitality'
in reality, it was only about the experiences of of white, western, hetrosexual middle class women
for example, black feminists view the family as a positive thing for black women, it is a resistance to racism.
- There is not a fixed entity called 'womanhood' that is the same everywhere.
- Poststructuralism allows feminists to 'de-construct' things to see how they bring about inequality
- for example , discouses of medicine art and religion
Walby argues that there are many similarities between women eg. women face a greater risk of having low pay and being attacked sexually
- Feminists claim that; research in sociology is sexist
- Eichler (1988); areas of sexism that run through the research process
- Androcentricity: viewing the world from a traditional male perspective.
- Overgeneralisation: many studies only deal with men but present their finding as if they both apply to men and women
A number of feminists have argued that the only way to understand something is to experience it
Therefore, it is essentail for women to capture the experiences of womenn