An Alternative View: New Directions in Feminism• The Challenge to Male Chauvinism – 1940s – 50s – Mary Inman coins term “Male chauvinism” • personal and cultural aspects of sexism • centrality of race and class – Key Figures • Betty Millard – BC ’34 – Woman Against Myth (1948) • Gene Weltfish – BC ’25 – President, Congress of American Women • Gerda Lerner – (CU PhD, ’66) member CAW -founder Women’s History Month • Betty Friedan – The Feminine Mystique (1963)
The Feminine Mystique• Betty Friedan (1963) – attacked the popular notion that women during this time could only find fulfillment through childbearing and homemaking. – According to The New York Times obituary of Friedan in 2006, it “ignited the contemporary womens movement in 1963 and as a result permanently transformed the social fabric of the United States and countries around the world” and “is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.”
Woman at home?• Feminine Mystique? -- For historians of American women, the period between 1945 and 1963 poses bigger problems of historical interpretation than any other comparable time. The more closely one examines these years the more confusing the evidence seems.• If one looks at the work of advertisers, for instance, as Betty Friedan did for her 1963 book THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE, one is impressed by the proliferation and power of images aimed at pressing American women to embrace domesticity and motherhood as the ultimate route to self-fulfillment.• Demographic evidence confirms that either through this pressure, or for some other reason, marriage and motherhood were on the rise. In these years the age of marriage fell, the rate of marriage rose, and the birth rate soared. By 1959 the U.S. birth rate rivaled that of India.
Race and Sexuality Matters• the idea of the feminine mystique had far more resonance for white, heterosexual women in America than it did for black women or for lesbians.• The biggest critique of 2nd wave feminism is that it only applied to white, middle-class women… in opposition to how it began.• More on that later…
REASONS FOR THE REBIRTH OF FEMINISM• Why is it that feminism suddenly emerged in the 1960s? – Most historians would point to the convergence of the following three forces: • Social Climate • Point of View • Receptive Audience
STATE COMMISSIONS ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN (1963)• Investigated state laws that discriminated against women. In states throughout the country these commissions found restrictions on married women to sign contracts, to sell property, to have access to credit, and to serve on juries. Moreover, in many states: – women who became pregnant had to quit their jobs and yet were barred from unemployment benefits. – Women who worked for the government did not have the same right to benefits that men did. – Newspapers divided their help wanted ads into "Men’s Jobs" and "Women’s Jobs." Guess which list included the best paying jobs? – Airlines hired young women to work as stewardesses and fired them if they married or when they reached the age of 32. – Magazines hired women to be researchers but barred them from the more lucrative positions as writers. – As the evidence of womens disadvantages mounted, the commissions created pressure to fight for greater equality.
National Woman’s Organization (NOW)• Demands: – End to occupational segregation and pay disparities – End to discrimination in education and the professions – Demand for a national system of child care. – Support of the ERA and – Abortion rights.
The Personal Is Political• In the summer of 1968, Carol Hanisch, of New York Radical Women, came up with the idea for protesting the Miss American Pageant in September.• Hanisch coined the term "the personal is political" to convey the idea that problems that many women took to be personal – their lack of self-confidence, failure to advance in their careers, their unhappiness over their bodies – were part of a larger political system that oppressed women as a class.
The Role of Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement Anne Standley
Why is it important to recognize these women?• The origins of the Suffrage movement began – and continued with white, middle-class women.• Minorities were not recognized by the movements leaders because of: – Segregation • The south was still very much split on segregation and race, so the north was worried about losing their political stance if whites marched with blacks. – Economics • Most of the Suffragettes had came from upper and middle class families and had an education. As we have discussed, African-Americans were not given these opportunities until much later.
• 2nd Wave Feminism had direct connections to the civil rights movement• The women of the civil rights movement were fighting for total equality, not separating race, class, or gender.• Most importantly,• One of the leading moments of the civil rights movement began with a woman.
Men took the helm• Though women had spearheaded that campaign and many others, when their efforts began to bear fruit prominent men often took the helm• “After the bus boycott got going and (Martin Luther) King got involved, they wouldn’t even let Rosa Parks speak at the first mass meeting,” she said. “She asked to speak, and one of the ministers said he thought she had done enough.”• Parks is often depicted as a deferential woman who defied segregation laws at the urging of movement leaders, but in fact she had for years quietly pushed for racial justice — and she had carefully planned the actions that led to her arrest.• “She was not just a symbol, she was an agent.”• In 1963, tens of thousands of women who joined the March on Washington witnessed a tribute to prominent women, songs by several women, and brief remarks by the entertainer Josephine Baker, but no woman made a speech.
• Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer of Ruleville, Miss., speaks to Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party sympathizers outside the Capitol in Washington after the House of Representatives rejected a challenger to the 1964 election of five Mississippi representatives, in this Sept. 17, 1965 file photo.
• Bertha Gilbert, 22, is led away by police after she tried to enter a segregated lunch counter in Nashville, Tenn., in this May 6, 1964, file photo.
• Countless women in the movement could have spoken: – Ella Baker was a charismatic labor organizer and longtime leader in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She believed the movement should not place too much emphasis on leaders. – Septima Poinsette Clark, often called the “queen mother” of civil rights, was an educator and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People activist decades before the nation’s attention turned to racial equality. – Vivian Malone Jones defied segregationist Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace to enroll in the University of Alabama in 1963 and later worked in the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department. – Many others are known but unnamed.
Effects of the Movement on Feminism• As we discussed, 2nd Wave Feminism was criticized for being too essentialist – Essentialism: the view that, for any specific kind of entity, there are a set of characteristics all of which any entity of that kind must have.• In affect, minorities, the poor, and homosexual women were grouped together with white, middle-class women – Meaning that 2nd wave feminism claimed ALL women experienced the same thing
Alice Walker and Womanism• In her book In Search of Our Mother’s Garden: Womanist Prose (1983), Walker used the word to describe the perspective and experiences of "women of color." – Womanist: a woman who loves other women sexually and/or nonsexually. Appreciates and prefers womens culture … and womens strength … committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist … Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender. (pp. xi–xii)• Are there any problems here? Is anyone STILL left out?
3 Wave Feminism rd• The 3rd wave looks to be more accepting of the fact that ALL people regardless of race, sex, or sexual orientation are socially constructed.
Where we went from here The movement to 3rd wave feminism and beyond
Womanism: Queer Studies:included women ofcolor Sexuality enters the picture 3rd Wave Feminism: 2nd Wave Feminism: All of these ideas / concepts are too essentialist socially constructed left out minorities left out sexuality Everyone should be viewed as equals Cultural Studies: Masculism: Culture becomes Men are socially important constructed as well
3 Wave Beginnings rd• Began in mid 1980’s with 2nd wave leaders who wanted more subjectivity in feminism.• Wanted the integration of race as a concept of social construction• Gained full strength in 1991 at the closing of the Clarence Thomas nomination when Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.
• Rebecca Walker, 1992 in Ms. – "Becoming the Third Wave" • "I am not a post-feminism feminist. I am the third wave." • When Rebecca Walker, daughter of author Alice Walker and godchild of activist Gloria Steinem, published an article in Ms. entitled "I Am The Third Wave," it drew a surprising response. Young women from all over the country wrote letters informing the magazine of the activist work they were quietly engaged in and encouraging older feminists and leaders of the womens movement not to write them off.
Feminism is for Everybody “Feminist politics aims to end domination, to free us to be who we are - to live lives where we love justice, where we can live in peace. Feminism is for everybody.”
3rd Wave Overview• A generation that came of age in the wakes and gains of the 2nd wave• strives to combat inequalities that [women] face as a result of [their] age, gender, race, sexual orientation, economic status or level of education.• For example, today, 43 percent of U.S. women under 45 have had abortions, and young women today cannot imagine not having that right
Strategies of 3rd wave• Cultural production- art, film, writing, magazines – Bust, Bitch, Vagina Monologues, etc.• Personal narratives• Sexual politics• But does cultural production translate to political power, more female politicians, more female CEOS, media execs, etc.?
3rd wave- Intergenerational Conflict• For several people, the rallying of the youth is the meaning that has fixed within 3rd wave feminism.• Constructed as intergenerational conflict between 2nd and 3rd waves• Problems – Constructs 2nd wavers as outdated, racist, patriarchal, boring – Constructs 3rd wavers as the “future” of feminism, the older generation leaves a gift for the younger- not reciprocal – Is there a way to construct a relationship between the two waves?
3rd Wave• 3rd wave agenda – Contains elements of 2nd wave critique of power structures, sexual abuse, beauty culture – Adds pleasure and desire – Deconstruction and reconstruction of gender as a social construct
Theories from 3 Wave rd• Cultural Studies: – Post-colonialism – African-American Studies – Woman’s Studies – Asian-American Studies – Etc.• Gender Studies – Feminism AND Masculism• Queer Studies
Sexuality• Biological theory of Sexuality – The biology of human sexuality examines the influence of biological factors, such as organic and neurological response, heredity, hormones, and sexual dysfunction; it examines the basic functions of reproduction and the physical means to carry it out. – The biological perspective helps to analyze the factors, and ultimately aids in understanding them and using them to deal with sexual problems. – Sexuality is part of our biological nature… We cannot change it
Sexuality• As a Choice – We choose who we are attracted to, going against “natural” biological concerns.• As a Social Construction – Human sexuality can also be understood as part of the social life of humans, governed by implied rules of behavior and the status quo. – If it is constructed in this way, there is no “natural” sexuality, but a scale of different kinds of sexuality.
Kinsey, et al. (1948). Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.• Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories... The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects, (p 639).
0- Exclusively heterosexual with no homosexual1- Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual2- Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual3- Equally heterosexual and homosexual4- Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual5- Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual6- Exclusively homosexual
Sliding Sexuality• Goes beyond Homo and Hetero sexuality• How do we explain – Fetishes – Monogamy vs. Polygamy – Bi-sexuality – Etc.
Queer Studies / Queer Theory• Main Goals – exploring the problems of the categorization of gender and sexuality. – Queer theory embraces the notion of a "normal" identity, in favour of the subversive. – Theorists claim that identities are not fixed – they cannot be categorized and labeled – because identities consist of many varied components and that to categorize by one characteristic is wrong. • For example, a woman can be a woman without being labelled a lesbian or feminist, and she may have a different race from the dominant culture. She should be classed as possessing an individual identity and not put in the collective basket of feminists or of colour or the like.
Judith ButlerFeminist Philosopher and Theorist
Life and Times • Judith butler attended Bennington College and then Yale University where she received her B.A and Ph.D in philosophy. She taught at Wesleyan and Johns Hopkins universities before becoming Chancellor Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkley
Situating Herself• Although hailed as a foundational contributor to Queer Theory, Butler identifies herself as a Feminist Theorist, taking commitments to Feminism as her primary concern. –Interview in Radical Philosophy
Gender TroubleFeminism and the Subversion of Identity
Trouble with Feminism• Traditionally, • This performs “ an unwitting regulation and Feminism assert that reification of gender women were a group relations” reinforcing a with common binary gender view, characteristics and men/women. • Feminism closed options interests. of identity• Feminist reject the • Feminism works from an idea that biology is account of patriarchal destiny culture which assumes masculine and feminine genders will be built by culture on male and female bodies.
Pre-determined Fate• Butler attempts to detach gender and sex through critiques of feminism, structuralism, post-structuralism and psychoanalysis.• Through these critiques she argues that sex and gender are both pre-determined and open to construction depending upon the terms of the debate.• Her hope is the deconstruction of the patriarchal hegemonic discourse on sexuality.
The deconstruction of the male/female binary• Butler calls to smash the links between sex and gender where sex is seen to cause gender.• Gender can then become flexible, free floating and not caused by any other stable factor.• We can then understand “those historical and anthropological positions that understand gender as a relation among socially constituted subjects in specifiable contexts”• Gender then becomes a fluid variable which shifts for different contexts and situations rather then a fixed attribute.
Slippery Gaps & Derrida• La difference- 1) the relationship between a word (the signifier) and what it signifies (the signified) is always an arbitrary one 2) a single word, or signifier, can connote any number of different signifieds.• Meaning is endlessly deferred as we seek to differentiate among an array of interpretative choices and to negotiate the gap between an ever increasing number of signifiers and signifieds.
The Floating Signifier• If we acknowledge la difference, then we are left with gender as a floating signifier.• Therefore the meaning of gender is deferred, leaving gender a multiplicity of meaning.• Butler then argues that through the deconstruction of the gender binaries, gender exists on a continuum of identity.• Gender then becomes what is constructed at a specific place and time, i.e contextualized historically and historically.
Gender as Performance“Gender is always a doing, though not a doing by subject who might be said to pre-exist the deed”
The Hegemonic Apparatus• “There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender […] identity is perfromatively constituted by the very ‘expressions’ that are said to be its result”• Gender is a performance; it’s what you do at particular times, rather then a universal of who you are.• Certain cultural apparatuses have hegemonic control, have naturalized this culture.• There is no sex, only gender and gender is a performance.
Performing for the Camera • I would like to look at how gender is performed through some advertisements of men and women. In naming this performance we may be able to identify the hegemonic discourse that construction our notion of gender placed historically and culturally.
Subversive Action• Butler argues that we all put on a gender performance, so now the question becomes what form will the performance take?• Subversion can occur through a mobilizing, subversive confusion and proliferation of genders, thereby identity• By choosing a difference we work to change gender norms and deconstruct the binary understanding of masculinity and femininity.
How do we do that?• Butler opens up two cites for the “intervention, exposure and displacement of [binary masculine/feminine] reifications” (42).• First using heterosexual constructs in non- heterosexual frames. For example continued, repeated performance of “queer” identities may eventually become normalized and seen as “culturally intelligible.”• Second, is the potential of ender parody exemplified through cross-dressing, drag and butch/femme identities.
Madonna: A Virtual Embodiment?• Some critics have argued that Madonna could serve as an embodiment of Butler’s multiplicity of identity.
Playing with Gender• Madonna plays with identity, reinventing herself constantly.
Moving Through the Spectrum• Madonna moves through a spectrum of gender identity, from Hollywood Starlet to transgendered cross- dressing female.
Transgendering TroubleDrag Queens and Butch Femmes
“Queering” Identities: The Drag Queen• Butler argues that the performance of drag emphasizes the discontinuity between anatomy and gender.• Exposes the illusion of gender identity as a fixed inner substance (187).
Confusing Gender• Drag is subversive because it confuses gender.
Choosing your Identity• Sexuality continues on a spectrum of choice.
Drag Kings • While there is a plethora of constructions of feminine genders in advertisements, men rule in cross— dressing.
Constructing the male • Butler and others have found the problems with using cross-dressing and transgendering as the epitome of subversive acts. • The construction of gender in cross-dressing often works within the same hegemonic forces.
Using the Master’s Tools • Cross-dressing uses the Master’s tools, switching the binary is not as subversive as we might like to think. • Here gender might be confused, but still relies on binaries of masculine/feminine.