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Feminism Notes

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Key

themes:

1. Sex

and

gender

-

Biological

and

social/cultural

distinctions

between

men

and

women


(gender

is

not

destiny;

possibility

of

sexual

equality);

patriarchy

as

systematic


subordination

of

women

(sexual

politics;

institutionalised

gender

oppression);

the


public/private

divide

(confinement

to

domestic/private

sphere;

exclusion

from


public/political

life,

hence

from

power).

2. Patriarchy

-

emphasis

placed

on

gender

divisions

(society

characterised

by

gender


oppression);

gender

inequalities

are

rooted

in,

and

reflect,

sexual

(and

generation)


division

of

labour/power

within

the

family);

radical

feminists

view

of

patriarchy


(systematic,

institutionalised

and

pervasive

oppression);

liberal

feminism

and

patriarchy


(unequal

access

to

public

realm);

socialist

feminism

and

patriarchy

(links

between


gender

and

class

oppression).

3. Liberalism

and

feminism

-

Individualism

as

basis

for

liberal

feminism

(personhood;


gender

identity

secondary);

concern

with

the

equal

distribution

of

rights

and


entitlements

(legal

and

political

equality,

no

restructuring

of

society);

equal

access

to


the

public

realm

(defence

of

the

public/private

divide;

'private

woman'

natural);


reformist

approach

(gender

imbalance

can

be

overturned

through

constitutional

and


democratic

pressure).

4. Socialism

and

feminism

-

Economic

basis

of

gender

inequality

(reserve

army

of

labour;


reproducing

next

generation

of

capitalist

workers;

training

and

incentivising

male


workers,

etc);

orthodox

Marxism

(priority

of

class

over

gender;

patriarchy

a


consequence

of

private

property;

socialism/social

revolution

as

a

means

of

bringing


about

women's

liberation);

modern

Marxism

(patriarchy

and

capitalism

as

interlocking


systems

of

oppression;

patriarchy

can

survive

the

collapse

of

capitalism).

5. Radical

feminism

-

Gender

as

the

most

politically

significant

of

political

divisions


(priority

over

class,

race

etc):

patriarchy

a

systematic

and

pervasive

form

of

oppression


(operates

in

all

spheres

of

society

and

all

societies);

'the

personal

is

the

political'


(gender

oppression

can

be

traced

back

to

the

structure

of

domestic/private

life);

sexual


revolution

(qualitative

social

change

not

merely

redistribution

of

rights

or

wealth);

pro--
woman

feminism

(essential

differences

between

women

and

men;

feminist

separatism;


political

lesbianism);

difference

feminism

(rejection

of

feminist

egalitarianism

as

form

of


male

identification;

feminist

form

of

identity

politics).

6. Anti--feminism

-

Organic

critique

of

feminism

(sex

is

destiny

-

women

are

naturally


designed

for

domestic,

family--based

role);

traditionalist

critique

of

feminism


(patriarchal

structures

have

been

tried

and

tested

by

history);

different

but

equal


(women

should

be

respected

in

terms

of

their

natural

role

and

position);

social

cohesion


('private'

woman

as

source

of

nurturing

and

stability

within

the

family).

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