Feminist social theory


Published on

Presented at School of Social Sciences as part of Ph.D course work 2012.

Published in: Education, Spiritual
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Feminist social theory

  1. 1. FEMINIST SOCIAL THEORY Vimal Kumar V. Research Scholar School of Social Sciences Mahatma Gandhi University Www.vimalkumar.info
  2. 2. Feminism Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. Feminist theory is a conflict theory that studies gender, patriarchy, and the oppression of women. In most societies, women have been systematically oppressed Classical social generally ignored women or had misleading analysis of issues related to women.
  3. 3. Feminist theory has developed in three waves: 1. The first wave focused on suffrage and political rights, 2. The second focused on inequality between the genders, 3. Third wave, emphasize globalisation, post colonialism, post structuralism and post modernism. Three Waves
  4. 4. Origin of Feminism France in 1610: Salon (a gathering for intellectual discussion) started outside of the royal court. It reserved for upper class women. 1792: Mary Wollstonecraft published one of the seminal works of modern feminism. The "Vindication of the Rights of Women" The Revolutionary War in 1774 and the French Revolution in 1789 also advanced the concept of women's freedom. By mobilizing more women politically and establishing a consensus of freedom as a human right
  5. 5. First Wave In 1848, Mott and Stanton held a woman's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, where a declaration of independence for women was drafted. 19&20th century US, UK, Netherlands and Canada. Primarily on gaining women's suffrage (the right to vote) It emerged in the environment of urban industrialism and liberal, socialist politics.
  6. 6. The wave formally began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when 300 men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (d.1902) drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration outlining the new movement's ideology and political strategies.
  7. 7. The convention lead to the Declaration of Sentiments. • Modeled after the Declaration of Independence. • All men and women created equal. • Spoke of the supremacy of man in regards to divorce and education The convention marked a 22 year battle to gain women the right to vote in the United States. • In 1920 US women won the right to vote.
  8. 8. Second Wave Second Wave began in the early 1960's in the United states. Later it spread to Europe and Asia. It lasted through the early 1980's. It focused on social inequality between genders. It tackled the issues like sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, de facto inequalities, and official legal inequalities. Published in 1949 and it deals with the treatment of women throughout history and is often regarded as a major work of feminist philosophy and the starting point of second-wave feminism. Betty Friedan A leading figure in the women's movement in the United States, her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is often credited with sparking the second wave of American feminism in the 20th century. In 1966, Friedan founded and was elected the first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), which aimed to bring women "into the mainstream of American society now [in] fully equal partnership with men".
  9. 9. The report of the [American] Presidential Commission on the Status of Women found discrimination against women in every aspect of American life and outlined plans to achieve equality. Specific recommendations for women in the workplace included fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave, and affordable childcare. 1971-The first women's liberation march in London occurred. 1973-Women are allowed on the floor of the London Stock Exchange for the first time. 1974-Contraception became free for women in the United Kingdom. 1979- Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  10. 10. Third Wave Rebecca Walker, then a 23-year-old, bisexual African-American woman born in Jackson, Mississippi, coined the term "third-wave feminism" in 1992. Third wave feminist theory critiques generalizations about sex and gender. A post-structuralist interpretation of gender and sexuality, is central to much of the third wave ideology. Prominent issues Gender violence Reproductive rights (e.g. abortion) Reclaiming derogatory terms Rape Single mothers First two waves of feminism were dominated by white women from advanced capitalist societies. Third Wave feminism is very individualistic. Focused more on personal empowerment as a starting place for social change.
  11. 11. There are several different types of Feminist theory, but all of them share certain characteristics.
  12. 12. •They all believe that there is a fundamental division in society between men & women. •That women are to some extent exploited by men. •That society is male dominated or Patriarchal.
  13. 13. Differences between the perspectives of different Feminists....
  14. 14. Variations between Feminists can be lumped into 4 broad approaches •Radical •Marxist •Liberal •Difference
  15. 15. Radical (basically meaning extreme) feminists Believe that men are the enemy, and that they control, exploit & oppress women through the process of patriarchy (male rule or domination) in employment, family relations, sexual relations & status. Radical feminism
  16. 16. Radical Feminists solution to this:  Men give up their patriarchy  Women exist without men & self-reproduce  Women keep their lives separate from men  Abolish the nuclear family unit
  17. 17. Marxist Feminism In the 1970’s a number of women began to draw Upon Marxist theory to explain the oppression of Women in society. They do not see women’s oppression arising solely From Patriarchy, but primarily from Capitalism that Forces them to be unpaid labourers & nurturers in Order to maintain capitalism.
  18. 18. Liberal Feminism Liberal Feminism is less of a theoretical perspective and more of a political movement. They tend to criticise other Feminists for ignoring the progress that has been made in society with regards to gender inequality. They are also more likely to argue that gender Roles are also limiting for men
  19. 19. Difference Feminism Basically, the 3 branches of feminism we have just considered tend to see women as a single group who share the same interests, experiences & types of exploitation. Difference Feminism, that has much in common with Post modernism, argues that women have a variety of interests & needs and are not one single united group.
  20. 20. Conclusion Feminism has always thrived on and grown from internal discussions and disagreements. Feminist movement has made changes in Western society; right to vote, equal pay, contraceptives etc. Feminist theories are not capable of addressing issues facing by women from different cultural contexts.