Feminism The Search for Equality What is Feminism? • How would you define it as an ideology? • What comes to mind when you think of the word “feminism”? Text definition • An ideology that “opposes the political, economic, and cultural relegation of women to positions of inferiority.” • Simply put, feminism affirms women’s equality with men, and rejects patriarchy. What does patriarchy mean? • In the text: • “the rule of men as a social group over women as a social group,” and • “a system based on sexual hierarchy,” with men at the top and women below. Examples of denial of equality • Economically • Women paid less than men throughout the world. In U.S., pay gap about 75% (controlling for all other factors). • Women represent the majority of the world’s poor. Examples of denial of equality • Politically • Globally, only 23 women ever elected head of state (only 6 served in 1995). • Also underrepresented in legislatures. • Political institutions don’t provide equal protection & equal access to the vote. Examples of denial of equality • Politically • in U.S. Examples of denial of equality • Educationally • Girls denied education in many countries; 2/3 of the world’s illiterate adults are women, higher in some places. • Under certain regimes, females punished for seeking an education (as under the Taliban). Examples of denial of equality • Access to basic health care & food • Females less likely to receive adequate nutrition or health care. • Females subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) in some cultures. Examples of denial of equality • Violence: • Femicide, the murder of women because they are women. • Outside the home, women vulnerable to assault and rape. • In the home, women beaten and even murdered by husbands or boyfriends, family members, and in-laws (dowry deaths). • Female babies much more likely to be subjected to infanticide in some cultures that value sons. Feminism’s roots in liberalism • In many ways similar to liberalism: emphasis on equality, on personal autonomy (the right and ability of individuals to make decisions for themselves), on the importance of democratic processes, on the right of revolution against tyranny. Female subordination • Women’s inferiority to men legitimated historically by: • Enlightenment writers such as Rousseau and Jefferson • Some religious traditions • Aristotle (classical Greece) • Western democracies in the 19th & early 20th centuries U.S. Historical Trends • First wave of feminism: abolition movement. Mid-19th century • Second wave of feminism: suffrage movement. Late 19th to early 20th c. • Third wave of feminism: equal legal rights & political participation. Mid to late 20th century. Types of feminisms • Liberal feminism • Radical feminism • Diversity feminism Liberal feminism • Shared with liberalism these ideas: • Human equality • Human rationality • Importance of individual rights Early liberal feminists • Mary Wollstonecraft • Lucretia Mott • Elizabeth Cady Stanton • Susan B. Anthony • Wollstonecraft Mary Wollstonecraft • Mary Wollstonecraft in the late 18th century used classical liberal arguments in favor of women’s rights: Women are human beings, “rational and capable of self-determination and liberty.” Patriarchy distorts women’s personalities so that they seem to be the worst stereotypes (vain & shallow). Modern liberal feminists • Betty Friedan • Gloria Steinem Working within the existing democratic system. Seeing patriarchy as hurting men as well as women. Liberal feminist views Radical feminisms • Multiple types of radical feminisms, but they all share a common critique of liberal feminism for accepting the status quo economic and social structures. • The status quo operates with the male model as the norm (e.g., seeing the world as competitive and aggressive). Types of Radical Feminisms • Socialist feminists argue that patriarchy & capitalism are linked; both exploitive. • Lesbian feminists criticize society’s definition of heterosexuality as normal, & all other sexualities as deviant. • Anti-pornography feminists argue that pornography fosters violence against women. Liberal feminists, in contrast, emphasize 1st amendment free speech rights. Diversity feminism • The needs and perspectives of non- Anglo, non-Western, and non-affluent women must be considered. Liberal feminism ignores different perspectives. • Women’s issues change across cultures and across time; no single feminist voice or viewpoint. Feminism as an emerging ideology • Impacts include: • New thinking about public policy priorities. • The “gender gap” in U.S. politics. • New thinking about traditional assumptions regarding gender roles. • Opens new areas of study in social science. Feminism as an emerging ideology, continued • Impacts include: • New thinking about war & war crimes. • Realization that rape can be a weapon of war. • New studies of impact of war on children. Sudanense refugee camp 2005 Another emerging ideology: • Environmentalism • Next slide presentation.