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Feminist Criticism

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Power Point presentation on ENG 4U1 Feminist Criticism

Feminist Criticism

  1. 1. Feminist Criticism Critical Theory
  2. 2. Background of Feminism <ul><li>An ideology that examines how women are subjugated in society </li></ul><ul><li>Feminism suggests that Western civilization is basically patriarchal, literally “ruled by the father” </li></ul><ul><li>Women are therefore subordinate to men in this patriarchal society </li></ul>
  3. 3. Feminist Criticism <ul><li>Based on the Feminist movement </li></ul><ul><li>The feminist view is that history and literature are largely written by men and studied through the male perspective </li></ul>
  4. 4. Feminist Criticism <ul><li>Feminist critics note the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Women are traditionally represented by one of the following figures (archetypes): </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A slave </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A prostitute </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A virgin </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A prize </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The slave <ul><li>The slave need not be a literal slave but just a woman who must serve her man </li></ul><ul><li>The stereotypical housewife who is a “slave” to her family, overworked and under appreciated, is an example of this traditional representation of women </li></ul>
  6. 6. The prostitute <ul><li>Mary Magdalene is a good example of how the prostitute figure is an incorrect representation of women </li></ul><ul><li>Mary is traditionally told to be a prostitute who changes her way and follows Jesus </li></ul><ul><li>History now suggests a very different story: That Mary was merely a wealthy widow who was benefactor and believer </li></ul>
  7. 7. The virgin <ul><li>Society often labels women either virgin or prostitute </li></ul><ul><li>Check out every teen movie where female characters are classified either the “good” girl or the “bad” girl rather than having any character development </li></ul><ul><li>Ex. American Pie </li></ul>
  8. 8. The prize <ul><li>Every story where a boy tried to win a girl’s heart contains this idea. </li></ul><ul><li>The short story “Araby” by James Joyce contains the female “prize”. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Why are these labels a problem? <ul><li>By representing women using one of the four archetypes, the author knowingly or unknowingly marginalizes the females in the work as the females are never developed into complex characters </li></ul>
  10. 10. Also a problem is… <ul><li>Female characters in literature are not “real” females, but only idealized representations of the male idea of females </li></ul><ul><li>By resorting to these stereotypes again and again in literature, authors fail to consider the complexity of the female character </li></ul>
  11. 11. Applying Feminist Criticism <ul><li>In general, Feminist critics consider how females are portrayed in a work and how the females in a work have been understood by audiences </li></ul><ul><li>Your can apply the following questions when using a Feminist approach to literature: </li></ul>
  12. 12. Questions for a Feminist Approach <ul><li>1. What do the female characters in the work believe about themselves and their position in society? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Questions for a Feminist Approach <ul><li>2.How do the male characters in the text perceive the females in the work? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider the 4 archetypes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider the males attitudes toward the females </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider where the males seem to feel the females belong in society </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Questions for a Feminist Approach <ul><li>3.Is the portrayal of males or females in the work stereotypical? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Note please that unfortunately, in modern works, we treat male characters as stereotypes as well and these stereotypes for male are as limiting as the ones traditionally used for females </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Questions for a Feminist Approach <ul><li>4.What is the nature of the relationships between males and females in the text? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider who has the power in the relationship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider who controls the money in the relationship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider the element of respect in the relationship </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. In closing <ul><li>By examining a work using a Feminist Critical Approach, we seek to discover how traditional stereotypes of males and female inform the work </li></ul><ul><li>In doing so, we can discuss how the struggle between male and female interests in society have affected the work </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Prepared for your viewing pleasure by: </li></ul><ul><li>Liana Cote-Montminy </li></ul>

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