Feminist Perspectives


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Feminist Perspectives

  2. 2.  Feminist perspectives examine the assumed roles and rules that govern society. They work to challenge ideologies that are generally accepted to be standard or normal.  Gender as a Social Construction  They suggest that the norms of a given society are produced and reinforced by a dominant cultural ideology (hegemony).  Feminists would argue, for example, that American hegemony (the valuing and privileging of dominant forms of masculinity) results in the marginalization and oppression of women and other non-dominant groups.  Patriarchy: the structuring of society around family units where the male is the authority figure and is responsible for the welfare of his family members and the community  Patriarchy in the Media AN OVERVIEW
  4. 4.  Masculine Hegemony is a term that is more specific in its meaning than hegemony. It accounts for the existence of multiple masculinities and suggests that dominant social structures privilege heterosexual masculinity above other forms.  Marginalized and Subordinated Masculinities HEGEMONY
  5. 5. FEMINIST READINGS  Feminist perspectives engage with popular culture texts (television programs, advertisements, music videos, etc.) as sites of struggle.  Or in other words, as spaces where preferred and/or oppositional readings are presented.  Preferred readings reinforce patriarchal beliefs and behaviors through normalization.  Blatant (obvious)  Occluded (hidden in the subtext)  Oppositional readings challenge dominant ideologies (the beliefs and behaviors that wider society takes-for-granted).  Inflected  Subverted
  6. 6.  First Wave  First wave feminism began in the 19th century.  It focused on officially mandated inequalities, particularly women’s lack of voting rights.  Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Anna Howard, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (suffragettes that led the movement)  With the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, the voting rights of women were secured.  Second Wave  Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique is often credited as sparking second wave feminism.  “the problem that has no name” (married women in the 1950s and 1960s)  Unlike first wave feminism (which focused on voting and property rights for women), second wave feminism preoccupied itself with a wider range of issues, such as: Family life, the workplace, sexuality, reproductive rights, rape, and other unofficial inequalities. WAVES OF FEMINISM
  7. 7.  Third Wave  Standpoints: unique understandings (or experiences) of the world that are shaped by where individuals are situated within it (in terms of class, gender, race, sexual identity, etc.)  Third wave feminists have stated that the perspectives of dominant groups are limited. Furthermore, because people in positions of power often fail to recognize inequality, it continues to perpetuated.  Third wave feminism engages with issues of oppression, such as: bullying, workplace sexism, sexual harassment, date rape. It also works to support victims of violence and challenges binary thinking (sex, gender, sexuality).  Third wave feminism has also tended to be more diverse (addressing the specific concerns of people of color) than previous feminist movements. WAVES OF FEMINISM
  8. 8.  A liberal feminist perspective focuses on achieving opportunities for the inclusion of women in traditionally male-dominated institutions.  Goals of Liberal Feminists: equal access to education, equal pay, ending job sex segregation  Applying this perspective to a popular culture text  Murphy Brown THE LIBERAL FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE
  9. 9.  The radical feminist perspective is grounded on the idea that inequality originates from the way that the patriarchal system constructs men and women differently (gender identities) and the value (or lack of value) associated with each group.  Gender Socialization and Policing  Girls learn and internalize (to varying degrees) the notion that they are objects, while boys learn and internalize the idea that they are subjects (afforded agency).  Rhetoricians who use a radical feminist perspective often examine popular cultural texts and identify the ways in which they reinforce patriarchal beliefs.  Are male/female figures portrayed as objects or subjects?  Does the narrative ultimately uphold or subvert dominant gender norms? THE RADICAL FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE
  10. 10.  A Marxist feminist perspective seeks to ensure economic equality for women by revealing how texts perpetuate myths about the gender wage gap.  Popularized myths (or justifications) for the wage gap: men work longer hours than women, women have less employment experience, women take extended leaves in order to have and raise children, etc. THE MARXIST FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE
  11. 11.  The cultural feminist perspective seeks to realign traditionally feminine traits, perspectives, and behaviors (which are devalued and trivialized in patriarchal systems).  Cultural feminists argue that stereotypically feminine skills and characteristics (such as cooperation and caretaking) should be embraced by all people.  Applying this perspective to a cultural text  Meredith Brooke’s “Bitch”  Sailor Moon THE CULTURAL FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE
  12. 12.  An intersectional feminist perspective assumes that various biological, social, and cultural categories—including gender, race, class, and ethnicity—interact and result in systematic social inequalities. Therefore, various forms of oppression do not act independently but are interrelated.  Social Location  Is the ‘Gender’ Wage Gap a Misnomer? THE INTERSECTIONAL FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE
  13. 13.  When you perform a feminist analysis, the goal should be to highlight how hegemony is constructed and perpetuated. You can do this by (1) identifying how the presence of patriarchal beliefs or behaviors in the text reinforce their normalization or (2) identifying the ways in which the text subverts or rejects patriarchal ideas.  When you are conducting a feminist analysis, your focus should be on how roles and rules are presented in terms of their framing. Is something being presented as normal or abnormal? Appropriate or inappropriate? Desirable or undesirable? What implications can you draw from this?  Male Gaze: describes the way in which viewers (both male and female) look at people and characters presented in visual images by identifying with the male characters. FEMINIST ANALYSIS
  14. 14.  Killing Us Softly 4 – this documentary focuses on images of women in advertising and their effect on self-image and female objectification  Jean Kilbourne KILLING US SOFTLY 4 (2010)
  15. 15.  “Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. 25 March 2014.  “The Feminist Perspective” Boundless. Web. 25 March 2014.  Sellnow, Deanna D. The Rhetorical Power of Popular Culture. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2010. Printed. REFERENCES