According to Flax, feminist theory has several purposes:to understand the power differential between men and women, 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 oppression (Flax 1990: 52). Flax 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” (Flax 1990: 52). Within feminist theory is a commitment to change oppressive structures and to connect abstract ideas with concrete problems for political action (Flax 1990: 52). Marilyn Frye addresses the theme of feminist theory in her essay “The Possibility of Feminist Theory,” where she notes that the “dominant approach to theory in Western philosophy has focused on generalization: enumerative, statistical, and metaphysical generalization, none of which is kind to particulars” (Marilyn Frye, 1983) . Frye argues that or declares that to be what-it-is of a thing, threatening the annihilation of that which does not fit its prescription (Marilyn Frye, 1983).
Interestingly, Rhouni narrates the twofold critique that Mernissi uses to approach the Moroccan feminist discourses. Moreover, the deconstruction of euro-centrism and patriarchy are meant to relegate women to the periphery and to place them in a secondary position. Moroccan women in the western mainstream indicate passivity, lust, docility, and submissive human beings who are frozen and essentialized to sex objects. That is why Mernissi seeks to represent them as being active agents, powerful beings, producers, transcendent, and the like, by generating local feminist narratives that counter the discursive western ones. In her work Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood Mernissi proves that, as Rhouni claims, ‘’Foregrounding women’s agency, the novel is an attempt to decenter feminism from its Western location where it supposedly has originated, locating it in Moroccan culture and even within the confines of the harem” .
Alison Easton’s essay, “Hawthorne and the question of women,” approaches how Hawthorne’s texts interact with gender construction and gender binaries from the nineteenth century. Easton frequently connects Hawthorne’s personal life experiences (such as his marriage in 1842) and larger social happenings in America (urbanization) to his writing. This essay traces how marriage, class, public/private sphere, femininity, and gender constructions shift, change, and complicate throughout Hawthorne’s works. Easton uses the ideas concerning “True Womanhood,” 19th century feminism (comments from Margaret Fuller repeat in the essay), and the looming “Woman Question” to analyze Hawthorne’s short stories and novels. Her main argument is that gender concerns were rapidly changing and shifting in the 19th century Post-Revolution and urbanized American Society, and that Hawthorne reflects this turbulence in his writing.
She outlines the development of liberal, radical Marxist and socialist feminism, and reviews the more contemporary influences of psychoanalysis, postmodernism, theories of the body, queer theory and the ongoing significance of race and ethnicity. Abolitionist movement of the 1830’s is considered as the origin of feminism. Seneca Falls, New York is said to be the birth place of American feminism. Elizabeth
Science fiction is “a fiction of the imagination rather than observed reality” (Roberts, 2006, p. 1). It is a genre which enables readers to envisage and express new ideas of the workings of our society. According to Lefanu (1988), science fiction can be used “metaphorically and metonymically as powerful ways of exploring the construction of woman” (p. 180). Hence, I believe that portraying and imagining a new society through a feminist lens can be especially formidable. Feminist science fiction predominantly addresses the female gender role in society, exploring the construction of social gender roles.
Specifically, I will be focusing on the two models of decision making in gender feminism; the ethics of justice and the ethics of care. Also, I will be referencing the literary works of two well-known feminist theories – Carol Gilligan and Rosemarie Tong – to help further delve into gender feminism. As I stated before, unlike many of the other feminist theories I have
The first order of business would be firstly to define ‘Intersectionality’ in order to gain a better understanding and grasp of the concept. ‘Intersectionality’ is a term that was first developed during the second wave of academic feminism during the 1970’s where women’s’ experience was at the forefront of Feminist thought according to Shields (2008). In 1989 Kimberle Crenshaw, an American Legal Scholar, did a study on ‘intersectionality’ in which she refers to an interaction between the different aspects of our ‘identities’ such as ‘gender’, ‘race’ and ‘class’. ‘Intersectionality’ as a concept aims to understand social inequality and systematic injustice by observing the ‘multiple categories of difference in individual lives, social practices, institutional arrangements, and cultural ideologies and the outcomes of these interactions in terms of power’ (Davis.2008). ‘Intersectionality’ has two major focal points which are identity and difference, and inequality and oppression.
“However, if we approach women’s writing as centrally concerned not strictly with gender but with oppression, we can fully examine the conjuncture and relationship between female and ethnic identity.” Schueller, Malini. “Questioning Race and Gender Definitions: Dialogic Subversions in The Woman Warrior” Volume 31, No. 4 (1989) page. 421-437. Print.
When confronted by oppression, there are two ways to respond. People either embrace this tyranny and conform to its ideals, or they take a stand and question and search for an end to this unjust treatment. Chopin, writing her novel The Awakening in the turn of the century, uses the internal turmoil Edna faces as a symbolic reference to the sprouting ideals of feminism and resisting the gender inequalities that society has imposed on women. Edna, like many women of her time, is caught between this societal obligation of living up to the preconceived ideas of a woman’s role in society and a personal desire to obtain more autonomy and freedom. Chopin combines this struggle with an ambiguous ending to highlight the importance of freedom of
Even though Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘North and South’ and Virginia Woolf’s ‘To the Lighthouse’ are over seventy years apart in publication, they both focus on a theme that was so prevalent, it veered on the edge of controversial; gender relations. As everyday relationships began to change, this issue became significant in literature. This essay will argue that these novels play on the rising feminist ideas of their times, and that they explore what women could do, rather than what men told them they could not do. It will discuss the failing idolisation of masculinity and male leadership. It will compare the two passages to show their similarities in representations of gender relations.