Feminism History and Literature History • ―Three Waves‖ of Feminism – 19th through early 20th centuries – 1960s-1980s – 1990’s-Present • First Wave: – First-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. It focused primarily on gaining the right of women's suffrage. The term, "first-wave," was coined retrospectively after the term second- wave feminism began to be used to describe a newer feminist movement that focused as much on fighting social and cultural inequalities as further political inequalities. • The Seneca Falls Convention, July 19–20, 1848 – Held in Seneca Falls, New York over two days. – The convention was seen by some of its contemporaries, including organizer and featured speaker Lucretia Mott, as but a single step in the continuing effort by women to gain for themselves a greater proportion of social, civil and moral rights, but it was viewed by others as a revolutionary beginning to the struggle by women for complete equality with men. – Afterward, Elizabeth Cady Stanton presented the resulting Declaration of Sentiments as a foundational document in the American woman's suffrage movement, and she promoted the event as being the first time that women and men gathered together to demand for women the right to vote. Stanton's authoring of the History of Woman Suffrage helped to establish the Seneca Falls Convention as the moment when the push for women's suffrage first gained national prominence. By 1851, at the second National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester, Massachusetts, the issue of women's right to vote had become a central tenet of the women's rights movement History • Frances Willard and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union – Although still unable to vote in the late nineteenth century, women were far from apolitical; the WCTU demonstrated the breadth of women's political activity in the late nineteenth century. – Frances Willard radically changed the direction of the WCTU, moving it away from religiously oriented programs to a campaign that stressed alcoholism as a disease rather than a sin and poverty as a cause rather than a result of drink. – In a shrewd political tactic, Willard capitalized on the cult of domesticity to move women into public life and gain power to ameliorate social problems. – Using the concept of ―home protection,‖ Willard worked to create a broad reform coalition in the 1890s, embracing the Knights of Labor, the People's Party, and the Prohibition Party. – The WCTU, which had over 200,000 members in the 1890s, gave women valuable experience in political action. History • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and the Movement for Woman Suffrage – Unlike the WCTU, the organized movement for woman suffrage remained small and relatively weak in the late nineteenth century. – Stanton and Anthony launched the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) in 1869, demanding the vote for women. – A more conservative group, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), formed the same year, believed that women should vote in local but not national elections. – By 1890, the split had healed, and the newly united National American Woman Suffrage Association launched campaigns at the state level to gain the vote for women. – Although it would take another two decades for all women to gain the vote with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, the unification of the two woman suffrage groups in 1890 signaled a new era in women's fight for the vote. History – Progressives tackled the problems of the city with many approaches, among them: the settlement house movement, the social gospel, and the social purity movement. – The settlement house movement, begun in England, came to the United States in 1886 with the opening of the University Settlement House in New York City . – Women, particularly college-educated women such as Jane Addams and Lillian Wald, formed the backbone of the settlement house movement and stood in the forefront of the progressive movement; the number of settlement houses grew from six in 1891 to more than four hundred by 1911. – Some churches confronted the urban social problems by enunciating a new social gospel, one that saw its mission as to reform not only the individual, but also society. History – Margaret Sanger promoted a progressive new cause, birth control, as a movement for social change. – Sanger and her followers saw birth control not only as a sexual and medical reform, but also as a means to alter social and political power relationships and to alleviate human misery. – Birth control became linked with freedom of speech when Margaret Sanger's feminist journal, The Woman Rebel, was confiscated by the post office for violating social purity laws, and Sanger faced arrest, forcing her to flee to Europe. – When charges were dropped under public pressure, Sanger returned to the United States and turned to direct action, opening the nation's first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. – Although the birth control movement would become less radical after World War I, in its infancy, it was part of a radical vision for reforming the world that made common cause with the socialists and the IWW in challenging the limits of progressive reform. History History – The day before President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration in March 1913, more than five thousand demonstrators marched in Washington to demand the vote for women. – The march served as a reminder that the political gains of progressivism were not spread equally in the population. – Alice Paul launched an effort to lobby for a federal amendment to give women the vote and in 1916, Paul founded the militant National Woman's Party (NWP), which became the radical voice of the suffrage movement. – Carrie Chapman Catt became the head of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1915 and directed an effort that worked on several levels. – Catt's ―winning plan‖ succeeded, taking only four years to get the constitutional amendment for woman suffrage ratified. History – Women made real strides during the Progressive Era, but World War I presented them with new opportunities; more than 25,000 women served in France as nurses, ambulance drivers, canteen managers, and war correspondents. – At home, long-standing barriers against hiring women fell when millions of working men became soldiers and few new immigrant workers made it across the Atlantic. – The most dramatic advance for women came in the political arena; the radical wing of the suffragists, led by Alice Paul, picketed the White House, while the more mainstream NAWSA, under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, saw membership soar to some 2 million members. – In 1918, Wilson gave his support to suffrage, calling the amendment ―vital to the winning of the war‖ and by August 1920, the states had ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, granting woman suffrage. History • Second Wave Feminism: – The "second-wave" of the Women's Movement began during the early 1960s and lasted throughout the late 1970s. Whereas first-wave feminism focused mainly on overturning legal (de jure) obstacles to equality (i.e. voting rights, property rights), second- wave feminism addressed a wide range of issues, including unofficial (de facto) inequalities, official legal inequalities, sexuality, family, the workplace, and, perhaps most controversially, reproductive rights History – The movement is usually believed to have begun in 1963, when Betty Friedan published her bestseller, The Feminine Mystique and President John F. Kennedy's Presidential Commission on the Status of Women released its report on gender inequality. The report, which revealed great discrimination against women in American life, along with Friedan's book, which spoke to the discontent of many women (especially housewives), led to the formation of many local, state, and federal government women's groups as well as many independent women's liberation organizations. Friedan was referencing a "movement" as early as 1964. History – The movement grew with legal victories such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court ruling of 1965, and in 1966 Betty Friedan joined other women and men to found the National Organization for Women. – Amongst the most significant legal victories of the movement after the formation of NOW were a 1967 Executive Order extending full Affirmative Action rights to women, Title IX and the Women's Educational Equity Act (1972 and 1975, educational equality), Title X (1970, health and family planning), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (1974), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the illegalization of marital rape and the legalization of no-fault divorce in all states, a 1975 law requiring the U.S. Military Academies to admit women, and many Supreme Court cases, perhaps most notably, Reed v. Reed of 1971 and Roe v. Wade of 1973. However, the changing of the social attitudes towards women are usually considered the greatest success of the women's movement. History • By the early 1980s it was largely perceived that women had met their goals and succeeded in changing social attitudes towards gender roles, repealing oppressive laws that were based on sex, integrating the boys' clubs such as Military academies, the United States Military, NASA, single-sex colleges, men's clubs, and the Supreme Court, and illegalizing gender discrimination. In 1982 the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution failed, only three states short of ratification, but due to the successes of the movement, however, many women felt they no longer needed an ERA. History • Third Wave Feminism: – Third-wave feminism began in the early 1990s, arising as a response to perceived failures of the second wave and also as a response to the backlash against initiatives and movements created by the second wave. Feminist leaders rooted in the second wave like Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, Chela Sandoval, Cherrie Moraga, Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and many other feminists of color, sought to negotiate a space within feminist thought for consideration of race-related subjectivities – In 1991, Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas, a man nominated to the United States Supreme Court, of sexual harassment. Thomas denied the accusations and, after extensive debate, the United States Senate voted 52–48 in favor of Thomas. In response to this case, Rebecca Walker published an article entitled "Becoming the Third Wave" in which she stated, "I am not a post-feminism feminist. I am the third-wave." History – The roots of the third wave began, however, in the mid 1980s. Feminist leaders rooted in the second wave called for a new subjectivity in feminist voice. They sought to negotiate prominent space within feminist thought for consideration of race related subjectivities. This focus on the intersection between race and gender remained prominent through the Hill–Thomas hearings, but was perceived to shift with the , the first project of the Walker-led Third Wave Direct Action Corporation. This drive to register voters in poor minority communities was surrounded with rhetoric that focused on rallying young women – The ―Third Wave‖ Agenda: • the creation of domestic abuse shelters for women and children • the acknowledgment of abuse and rape of women on a public level • access to contraception and other reproductive services including the legalization of abortion, the creation • enforcement of sexual harassment policies for women in the workplace • child care services • equal or greater educational and extracurricular funding for young women, women’s studies programs Early Literature • Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) – An eighteenth-century British writer, philosopher, and feminist. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children's book. Wollstonecraft is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason. Early Literature – Wollstonecraft argues that women ought to have an education commensurate with their position in society and then proceeds to redefine that position, claiming that women are essential to the nation because they educate its children and because they could be "companions" to their husbands rather than mere wives. Instead of viewing women as ornaments to society or property to be traded in marriage, Wollstonecraft maintains that they are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men. Large sections of the Rights of Woman respond vitriolically to conduct book writers such as James Fordyce and John Gregory and educational philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who wanted to deny women an education. (Rousseau famously argues in Émile that women should be educated for the pleasure of men) Early Literature – Wollstonecraft states that currently many women are silly and superficial (she refers to them, for example, as "spaniels" and "toys"), but argues that this is not because of an innate deficiency of mind but rather because men have denied them access to education. Wollstonecraft is intent on illustrating the limitations that women's deficient educations have placed on them; she writes: "Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman's scepter, the mind shapes itself to the body, and, roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison." She implies that, without the encouragement young women receive from an early age to focus their attention on beauty and outward accomplishments, women could achieve much more Early Literature • While Wollstonecraft does call for equality between the sexes in particular areas of life, such as morality, she does not explicitly state that men and women are equal. What she does claim is that men and women are equal in the eyes of God. However, such claims of equality stand in contrast to her statements respecting the superiority of masculine strength and valor. Wollstonecraft writes: "Let it not be concluded that I wish to invert the order of things; I have already granted, that, from the constitution of their bodies, men seem to be designed by Providence to attain a greater degree of virtue. I speak collectively of the whole sex; but I see not the shadow of a reason to conclude that their virtues should differ in respect to their nature. In fact, how can they, if virtue has only one eternal standard? I must therefore, if I reason consequentially, as strenuously maintain that they have the same simple direction, as that there is a God.― Her ambiguous statements regarding the equality of the sexes have since made it difficult to classify Wollstonecraft as a modern feminist, particularly since the word and the concept were unavailable to her. Early Literature – One of Wollstonecraft's most scathing critiques in the Rights of Woman is of false and excessive sensibility, particularly in women. She argues that women who succumb to sensibility are "blown about by every momentary gust of feeling" and because they are "the prey of their senses" they cannot think rationally. In fact, she claims, they do harm not only to themselves but to the entire civilization: these are not women who can help refine a civilization—a popular eighteenth- century idea—but women who will destroy it. Wollstonecraft does not argue that reason and feeling should act independently of each other; rather, she believes that they should inform each other Early Literature – In addition to her larger philosophical arguments, Wollstonecraft also lays out a specific educational plan. In the twelfth chapter of the Rights of Woman, "On National Education", she argues that all children should be sent to a "country day school" as well as given some education at home "to inspire a love of home and domestic pleasures." She also maintains that schooling should be co-educational, arguing that men and women, whose marriages are "the cement of society", should be "educated after the same model.― – Wollstonecraft addresses her text to the middle-class, which she describes as the "most natural state", and in many ways the Rights of Woman is inflected by a bourgeois view of the world. It encourages modesty and industry in its readers and attacks the uselessness of the aristocracy. But Wollstonecraft is not necessarily a friend to the poor; for example, in her national plan for education, she suggests that, after the age of nine, the poor, except for those who are brilliant, should be separated from the rich and taught in another school. Early Literature • Olympe De Gouges (1748-1793): – A proponent of democracy, she demanded that French women be given the same rights as French men. In her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791), she challenged the practice of male authority and the notion of male-female inequality. She was executed by guillotine during the Reign of Terror for attacking the regime of Maximilien Robespierre. Early Literature – Declaration on the Rights of Women: • Written shortly after the French constitution of 1791 was created in the same year. She was alarmed that the constitution, which was to promote equal suffrage, did not address—nor even consider—women’s suffrage. The Constitution gave that right only to men. It also did not address key issues such as legal equality in marriage, the right for a woman to divorce her spouse, or a woman’s right to property. So she created a document that was to be, in her opinion, the missing part of the Constitution of 1791, in which women would be given the equal rights they deserve. Throughout the document, it is apparent to the reader that Gouges had been influenced by the philosophy of the Enlightenment, whose thinkers critically examined and criticized the traditional morals and institutions of the day, using “scientific reasoning Early Literature • Gouges opens up her Declaration with a witty, and at times sarcastically bitter, introduction in which she demands of men why they have chosen to subjugate women as a lesser sex. Her opening statement put rather bluntly: ―Man, are you capable of being just? It is a woman who poses the question; you will not deprive her of that right at least.‖ The later part of the statement shows her assertion that men have been ridiculously depriving women of what should be common rights, so she sarcastically asks if men will find it necessary to take away even her right to question. Gouges begins her long argument by stating that in nature the sexes are forever mingled cooperating in ―harmonious togetherness.‖ There she uses a bit of Enlightenment logic, if in nature the equality and the working together of the two sexes achieves harmony, so should France achieve a happier and more stable society if women are given equality among men. Early Literature • After her opening paragraph she goes into her declaration, which she asks be reviewed and decreed by the National Assembly in their next meeting. Her preamble explains that the reason for contemporary public misfortune and corrupt government was due to the oppression of women and their rights. The happiness and well being of society would only be insured once the rights of women were equally as important as those of men, especially in political institutions. In her document Gouges establishes rights of women on the basis of their equality to men, that they are both human and capable of the same thoughts. Gouges also promotes the rights of women by emphasizing differences women have from men, however, differences that men ought to respect and take notice of. She argues that women are superior in beauty as well as in courage during childbirth. Addressing characteristics that set women apart from men, she added what she probably thought was logical proof to her argument that men are not superior to women, and therefore, women are deserving at least to have the same rights. Early Literature • Her declaration bares the same outline and context as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, but Gouges either changes the word ―man‖ to ―woman‖ or adds ―for both women and men.‖ In article II, the resemblance is exact to the previous declaration except that she adds ―especially‖ before ―the right to the resistance of oppression,‖ emphasizing again, how important it is to her to end the oppression of women, and that the government should recognize this and take action. • A main difference between the two declarations is that the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen emphasizes the protection of the written ―law‖ while the Declaration of the Rights of Women and the Female Citizen emphasizes protection of the ―law‖ and ―Natural Laws.‖ Gouges emphasizes that these rights of women always have existed, that they were created at the beginning of time by God, that they are natural and true, and they cannot be oppressed. Early Literature • Article X contains the famous phrase: ―Woman has the right to mount the scaffold; she must equally have the right to mount the rostrum.‖ If women have the right to be executed, they should have the right to speak. • She modifies article XI to say that women have the right to give their children the name of their father even if it is out of wedlock and, even if the father has left her. Gouges is very passionate about this because she believed that she was an illegitimate child. Early Literature • In her postscript, Gouges tells women to wake up and discover that they have these rights. She assures them that reason is on their side. Gouges asks, what women have gained from the French Revolution? Stating that the answer is nothing, except that they’ve been marked with yet more disdain. She exclaims that women should no longer tolerate this, they should step up, take action, and demand the equal rights they deserve. Gouges declares the morality that women are lesser an ―out of date‖ concept. In that Gouges shows strongly her Enlightenment perspective—to break from old, illogical traditions that are "out of date." She exclaims that to revoke women the right to partake in political practices also is ―out of date.‖ Early Literature • Her last paragraph is titled a "Social Contract between Men and Women." Taking a leaf from Rousseau’s book, the contract asks for communal cooperation. The wealth of a husband and wife should be distributed equally. Property should belong to both and to the children, whatever bed they come from. If divorced, land should be divided equally. She called this the ―Marriage contract.‖ Gouges also asked to allow a poor man’s wife to have her children be adopted by a wealthy family – this would advance the community’s wealth and drive back disorder. Near the end of the contract, Gouges finally requests creation of a law to protect widows and young girls from men who give them false promises. This perhaps, is the most important issue she wants to deal with in France. In the postscript section of her document, Gouges describes the consequences of a woman who is left by an unfaithful husband, who is widowed with no fortune to her name, and of young experienced girls who are seduced by men who leave them with no money and no title for their children. Gouges therefore requests a law that that will force an inconsistent man to hold his obligation to these women, or to at least to pay a reimbursement equal to his wealth. Early Literature • One of the last persuasions in her document directs itself to men who still see women as lesser beings: ―the foolproof way to evaluate the soul of women is to join them to all the activities of man, if man persists against this, let him share his fortune with woman by the wisdom of the laws.‖ She challenges men that, if they wish, they may evaluate scientifically the consequences of joining man and woman in equal political rights. Early Literature • Sarah Grimke (1792-1873) – born in South Carolina, the daughter of Mary and John Grimke, a rich plantation owner who was also an attorney and a judge in South Carolina. Sarah’s early experiences with education shaped her future as an abolitionist and feminist. Throughout her childhood, she was keenly aware of the inferiority of her own education when compared to her brothers’ classical one, and despite the fact that all around her recognized her remarkable intelligence and abilities as an orator, she was prevented from substantive education or from pursuing her dream of becoming an attorney. Modern Literature • Marilyn Frye (1941-) – A philosophy professor and feminist theorist. She earned her Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1969 and has taught feminist philosophy, metaphysics, and philosophy of language at Michigan State University since 1974. Frye also serves Michigan State University as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. Modern Literature – Frye is openly lesbian and much of her work explores social categories -- in particular, those based on race and gender – Frye analyzes the ―phallocentrism‖ she believes is characteristic of the fiction and Christian apologetics of C.S. Lewis. Frye argues that such phallocentrism privileges the masculine in understanding meaning or gender relations. She compares the homoeroticism characteristic of Lewis' ideal of gender relations to underground male prostitution rings, which share the same quality of men seeking to dominate subjects considered as less likely to take on submissive roles by a patriarchal society, but in both cases doing so as a theatrical mockery of women. Modern Literature – Oppression: • This seminal work of Frye’s includes: – the concept of “the cage" (an image of oppression) – Frye's discussion of what counts as oppression and, in particular, her argument that there are oppressors and that their woes, whatever they may be, do not constitute oppression. • The cage image is important because it gets us out of the "Yes, but" argument, as in: – Woman: "Women are oppressed because they make less than men." – Defensive man: "Yes, but they could change jobs if they wanted more money." – Woman: "Unfortunately, they only get hired for 'women's jobs', which get paid less." – Defensive man: "Yes, but they could still bargain for more." – Woman: "If they bargain for more, they are seen as a bitch." – Defensive man: "Yes, but that's only true of women who already have a chip on their shoulder." Modern Literature • What Frye points out is that oppression is a systemic issue. Oppression doesn't come because people face this or that specific barrier; oppression comes because people are in a cage with no escape, something that can only be seen by stepping back and looking at the whole picture, all the multiple barriers together, not the individual wires of the cage. The wires don't make the cage; their systematic arrangement does. • This does not mean simply that "oppressed people face a lot of obstacles". They do, but Frye's cage image is meant to communicate that these obstacles are systematically arranged so that no escape is possible (or likely, anyway), not matter how great the effort. True, the simple number of obstacles is a barrier, but let's suppose that an oppressed simply decided that s/he was going to work extra hard to overcome them. S/he might then get hit with the criticism that s/he was "too driven" or "had no sense of humor", etc Modern Literature • Another implication of this way of thinking is that we need to be concerned with the average treatment of people in a group, not with individual exceptions — what is called the "lottery mentality" that sees the one winner and doesn't see all the losers. • In Frye's discussion of what constitutes oppression, whose pain counts as "oppression―, she is trying to distinguish clearly between the oppressed and the oppressor, not letting her point get clouded by people who claim that oppressors are oppressed as well. "Get a grip," she says in effect to oppressors. "You're oppressing me. Don't confuse the issue!" Modern Literature • The difficulty of Frye's position is that it does not help conceptualize very easily the difficulties that these supposed oppressors experience, so it is hard to see on what grounds the oppressed and the oppressors can talk to each other. Certainly "Quit oppressing me!" is the beginning of a conversation, but it isn't the end. This is particularly true if the "oppressor" is caught within a system where s/he doesn't have any good choices either. It doesn't help to call h/her an oppressor and ignore the general system in which s/he is trapped as well. • This is especially apparent when we see the problem of two oppressed groups at war with each other. For example, the landless movement in Brazil (the MST) started when a group of landless people were thrown out of an Indian area where they were trying to settle. Who is the oppressor here? The landless, who need land? The Indians, who want to preserve their own? Modern Literature • One way of reconciling Frye's perspective and that of other liberation theorists is to think of Frye's perspective as regarding tactics and the other perspective as regarding an overall strategic vision. Overall, one can't afford to dismiss anyone's oppression; each person is important, and each person wants h/her particular difficulties recognized. Nevertheless one can still argue that we need to take on the worst oppressions first.