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Feminism S Critiques Notes

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*Link - 1.4 Men, Masculinity & Development / 2.1 Do Women Really Count? Gender & Global Capitalism / 2.3 Trade, Gender & the
Division of Labour

Feminism(s) & Critiques

Discuss the ways in which the alliances formed for/by women are affected by the issues, experiences and representations of race, class and caste.

Discuss the importance of incorporating intersectionality into gendered accounts of development.
[2018, 2016, 2013]

How might intersectionality be used to explain the multiple discriminations experienced by women living in the global South? [2017, 2014]

'Race, gender and class are not distinct realms of experience, existing in splendid isolation from one another. Rather, they come into existence in and through relation to each other' (McClintock). What does this statement mean for our understanding of development? [2015]

Feminism asserts that the present posture of affairs - wherein 'women are oppressed, exploited, discriminated and excluded by virtue of their being women' [Gunnarsson, 2011] - is unjustified. It recognizes gender* today as hierarchical and in service of heteronormative patriarchy.
The overarching goal is to define, establish and achieve gender equality in all areas.
Waves of feminism

1. 1830s-early 1900s - women's suffrage; equal contract & property rights; political inclusion

2. 1960s-1980s - reproductive rights; exploitation in the household/workplace ('The personal is political')

3. 1990s-early 2000s - postcolonialism & subaltern studies; transversal politics (intersectionality, standpoint,
diversity); postmodernism; transfeminism & queer studies; sex positivity

4. 2008-today - 'privilege checking'; sexual abuse (#MeToo, Time's Up); 'hashtag feminism' [Chen et. al, 2018]

Men's rights movement - parenting & family laws; domestic violence; compulsory military service


1st and 2nd wave feminism emerged out of a broadly liberal commitment to equity between men and women.

Problematic because it assumes:

The same gendered inequalities exist between men and women across different spaces/cultures

'Men' and 'women' are 'already constituted, coherent groups with identical interests, regardless of class, ethnic or racial location' [Mohanty]

Feminist standpoint theory*
Key scholars: Dorothy Smith, Nancy Hartsock, Sandra Harding, J. Ann Tickner
An epistemological theory (rooted in the Marxist tradition) that addresses issues of representation, embodied knowledge, subjectivity and positionality. It asks: whose knowledge matters? What reality does such knowledge reinforce? Who is excluded from the production of knowledge?
Standpoint feminists make three principal claims:

1. Knowledge is socially situated;

2. Marginalized groups are situated in ways that prompt specific experiences and perspectives.

3. Epistemic privilege is given to marginalized groups whose perspectives offer an important tool for understanding and opposing all forms of domination.

'Starting off research from women's lives will generate less partial and distorted accounts, not only of women's lives, but also of men's lives and of the whole social order' [Harding]

Key scholars: Angela Davis, bell hooks, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Audre Lorde

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