Early Twentieth Century Feminist Analysis

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Feminism is a discourse that involves various movements, theories and philosophies which are concerned with the issue of gender difference; it also advocates equality for women and campaigns for women’s rights and interests.
Feminist theory is associated with the analysis and explanation of women’s subordinate social situation. It seeks to analyze the condition which shapes women’s lives and to explore cultural perception of what it means to be a woman. In the early twentieth century there were some important feminist thinkers: Virginia Woolf (1882-1941),
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935), Simone de Beauvoir (1908-86) and Betty Friedan (1921-2006). Like them
Rokeya also appeared as a strong voice of feminism. She raised the issues
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Feminist is ‘a political position’, the female is ‘a matter of biology’ and feminine is ‘a set of culturally defined characteristics’. The representation of women in literature is one of the most important forms of ‘socialization’ and it provided the role models which indicated to women and men to constitute an acceptable version of the ‘feminine’. (122)
There are three waves of feminism: the first wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the second was in the 1960s and 1970s and the third from the 1970s to the present. The first wave refers mainly to “women’s suffrage” movements (mainly concerned with women’s right to vote). The second wave refers to the ideas and actions associated with the “women’s liberation movement”. The third wave refers to a continuation of, and a reaction to, the perceived failures of, second-wave feminism. It is noteworthy that: the women’s movement of the 1960s was a renewal of an old tradition of thought and action already possessing in classic books like A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) by Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97), Women and
Labour (1911) by Olive Schreiner (1855-1920), A Room of One’s Own (1929) by Virginia Woolf, and The
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