Discuss the major contributions of feminist theory to the understanding of social And political life. Feminist theory has come to be recognised as an influential theory that has singled out the social exclusion of women. This could be seen as its main premise but it is a far broader perspective. Feminism has articulated that gender differences subjected to sex as argued have played a secondary role to men in the most influential decision making and power positions in society. This has caused the invisibility of women, which has become an indicator of inequality.
According to Flax, feminist theory seeks to understand the power differential between men and women, seeks to understand women’s oppression—how it evolved, how it changes over time, how it is related to other forms of oppression and how to overcome these oppressions. She suggests that feminist theory is intimately related to action. Feminist theory is the foundation of action and there is no pretense that theory can be neutral. Within feminist theory is a commitment to change oppressive structures and to connect abstract ideas with concrete problems for political action. There has to be a commitment to do something
Many critics, including A.M. Roberts and Haydar Ali, have expressed their discontent regarding the sexism in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Feminist writer Simone the Beauvoir explains her theory on the social stance of women in her book The Second Sex. In the chapter Myth and Reality this theory can be applied to several women described in “Heart of Darkness”. Both the intended and the African mistress of Kurtz are examples of a false sense of ‘mystery’ which places them in a separate group in society that de Beauvoir describes in The Second Sex. The most prominent point of The Second Sex is to illustrate how women are segregated from society by men, something which happens a lot in Heart of Darkness.
Scholars have described the Female Gothic as something that “[…] not only engendered a body of critical work which focused on the ways in which the Female Gothic articulated women’s dissatisfactions with patriarchal society and addressed the problematic position of the maternal within that society, but placed the Gothic at the centre of the female tradition.”1 In other words, Female Gothic focuses on, not only the literature written by women but also on criticizing the position in which women have been put for centuries. Women have been undermined by society, taking away their freedom as individuals, turning them in submissive, quiet beings. Disregarded as only useful at home to take care of the children. Thus is not strange women decided to
Furthermore, Atwood, who was surrounded by the intellect of the female faculty members at Victoria College, often portrays female characters dominated by the patriarchal society in her poems. She also elucidates on women 's social oppression as a result of male sovereignty. Atwood studies “power, and how it operates and how it deforms or shapes the people who are living within that kind of regime” (Oppenheim). Perhaps, Atwood’s greatest feminist poems, related to the empowerment of women and their role in society, are “This Photograph of Me” and “Siren Song”. Atwood uses symbolism to express the thoughts of the speaker and the theme of female oppression.
This comprehensive characterization popularized by the media and mainstream fragments of the movement rears problematic queries. Mostly women, belonging to lower class suffers more and do not gain anything from the society as they are repetitively reminded of their fragile position in society.The representation and characterization of women in the novel show how patriarchy was instituted and fabricated in the 20th-century Latin American society.The depiction of women characters in the novel not only renders their internalisation and illustrates to what extent they were subjugated but it also characterises their insurrection and fighting against the oppressive
The femme fatale character gave women the opportunity to prove that they can be more than a “damsel in distress” who needs to be saved by the male hero. The introduction of this archetype allowed women to be portrayed somewhat equally to men in movies. Women were allowed to be dangerous, cunning, intelligent, and in control of the situation. Thus, the femme fatale character is a "good" feminist good feminist because it demonstrates that women can be equal to men various ways. However, some may argue that the reliance on sexuality does not celebrate a women agency because it is demeaning to women and prolongs the stereotype that women are just eye candy/sexual objects.
According to Catherine Mackinnon a noted legal scholar and feminist, sexual harassment is "the unwanted imposition of sexual requirement in the context of a relationship of unequal power" (MacKinnon, 1979). Sexual harassment generally falls under two categories: quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment. In addition, the majority of victims reporting occurrences of case involving sexual harassment are women, and the lion 's share of reported aggressors are men. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission give legal response to casualties of such inappropriate behavior. A few sociologists relate the full coordination of women into the cutting edge workforce with an increment in cases of sexual harassment.
In other words, feminism describes a culture in which women, because they are women, are treated differently than men, and that, in that difference of treatment, women are at disadvantage; feminism assumes that such treatment is cultural and thus possible to change and not simply “the way the world is and must be”; feminism looks to a different culture as possible, and values moving towards that culture; and feminism consist of activism, individually and in groups, to make personal and social change towards that more desirable culture. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott spearheaded the women’s Right convention in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. The convention brought in more than 300 people. The discussion was focused on the social, civil, and religious condition of women. Their claim was that all people are created equal and should not be denied equality of opportunity because of gender.
In her short story “Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Perkins Gilman implies the oppression of women in 19th century and their anger by using some symbolic meanings associated with its settings. When Gilman published this story, America was a male-dominated society dating back to the Victorian times which suppressed women’s rights. The domestic ideology prevailed at that time claimed that women are not only subordinated to men but also are different from men. Also, the gender ideology of the day emphasized different characteristic, aptitude, and role of men and women building up discriminative images of gender. According to that ideology, men are active and creative while women are passive, fragile and dependent.