Click on an option below to access. Log out of ReadCube. This article makes a distinction between two kinds of feminist philosophy. Feminist philosophy can better achieve its aims by applying philosophy to the critical analysis of women's lives and gender norms, rather than by attempting to change the discipline of philosophy itself. Volume 99 , Issue 2. The full text of this article hosted at iucr.
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Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Get access to the full version of this article. In Britain the Suffragettes and, possibly more effectively, the Suffragists campaigned for the women's vote.
In the Representation of the People Act was passed granting the vote to women over the age of 30 who owned houses. In this was extended to all women over twenty-one. Anthony, who each campaigned for the abolition of slavery prior to championing women's right to vote; all were strongly influenced by Quaker thought. American first-wave feminism involved a wide range of women. Others, such as Matilda Joslyn Gage, were more radical, and expressed themselves within the National Woman Suffrage Association or individually.
American first-wave feminism is considered to have ended with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution , granting women the right to vote in all states. 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 political inequalities.
Second wave Second-wave feminism refers to the period of activity in the early s and lasting through the late s. The scholar Imelda Whelehan suggests that the second wave was a continuation of the earlier phase of feminism involving the suffragettes in the UK and USA. Second-wave feminism has continued to exist since that time and coexists with what is termed third-wave feminism.
The scholar Estelle Freedman compares first and second-wave feminism saying that the first wave focused on rights such as suffrage, whereas the second wave was largely concerned with other issues of equality, such as ending discrimination.
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The feminist activist and author Carol Hanisch coined the slogan "The Personal is Political" which became synonymous with the second wave. Second-wave feminists saw women's cultural and political inequalities as inextricably linked and encouraged women to understand aspects of their personal lives as deeply politicized and as reflecting sexist power structures.
Simone de Beauvoir and The Second Sex The French author and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir wrote novels; monographs on philosophy, politics, and social issues; essays; biographies; and an autobiography. She is now best known for her metaphysical novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins, and for her treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism. Written in , its English translation was published in It sets out a feminist existentialism which prescribes a moral revolution.
As an existentialist, she accepted Jean-Paul Sartre's precept existence precedes essence; hence "one is not born a woman, but becomes one. This de Beauvoir identifies as fundamental to women's oppression. She argues women have historically been considered deviant and abnormal and contends that even Mary Wollstonecraft considered men to be the ideal toward which women should aspire. De Beauvoir argues that for feminism to move forward, this attitude must be set aside. The Feminine Mystique Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique criticized the idea that women could only find fulfillment through childrearing and homemaking.
Such a system causes women to completely lose their identity in that of their family. Friedan specifically locates this system among post-World War II middle-class suburban communities. At the same time, America's post-war economic boom had led to the development of new technologies that were supposed to make household work less difficult, but that often had the result of making women's work less meaningful and valuable.
Bra-burning also became associated with the movement, though the actual prevalence of bra-burning is debatable. One of the most vocal critics of the women's liberation movement has been the African American feminist and intellectual Gloria Jean Watkins who uses the pseudonym "bell hooks" who argues that this movement glossed over race and class and thus failed to address "the issues that divided women.
Third wave Third-wave feminism began in the early s, 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. Third-wave feminism seeks to challenge or avoid what it deems the second wave's essentialist definitions of femininity, which according to them over-emphasize the experiences of upper middle-class white women.
A post-structuralist interpretation of gender and sexuality is central to much of the third wave's ideology. Third-wave feminists often focus on "micro-politics" and challenge the second wave's paradigm as to what is, or is not, good for females. The third wave has its origins in the mids. Feminist leaders rooted in the second wave like Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, Chela Sandoval, Cherrie Moraga, Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and many other black feminists, sought to negotiate a space within feminist thought for consideration of race-related subjectivities.
Third-wave feminism also contains internal debates between difference feminists such as the psychologist Carol Gilligan who believes that there are important differences between the sexes and those who believe that there are no inherent differences between the sexes and contend that gender roles are due to social conditioning. Post-feminism Post-feminism describes a range of viewpoints reacting to feminism. While not being "anti-feminist," post-feminists believe that women have achieved second wave goals while being critical of third wave feminist goals.
The term was first used in the s to describe a backlash against second-wave feminism. It is now a label for a wide range of theories that take critical approaches to previous feminist discourses and includes challenges to the second wave's ideas. Other post-feminists say that feminism is no longer relevant to today's society. Amelia Jones wrote that the post-feminist texts which emerged in the s and s portrayed second-wave feminism as a monolithic entity and criticized it using generalizations.
This article was based on a number of interviews with women who largely agreed with the goals of feminism, but did not identify as feminists. Some contemporary feminists, such as Katha Pollitt or Nadine Strossen, consider feminism to hold simply that "women are people". Views that separate the sexes rather than unite them are considered by these writers to be sexist rather than feminist'.
She argues that it constructed the women's liberation movement as the source of many of the problems alleged to be plaguing women in the late s. She also argues that many of these problems are illusory, constructed by the media without reliable evidence. According to her, this type of backlash is a historical trend, recurring when it appears that women have made substantial gains in their efforts to obtain equal rights.
Angela McRobbie argues that adding the prefix post to feminism undermines the strides that feminism has made in achieving equality for everyone, including women. Post-feminism gives the impression that equality has been achieved and that feminists can now focus on something else entirely.
Female characters like Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw claim to be liberated and clearly enjoy their sexuality, but what they are constantly searching for is the one man who will make everything worthwhile. French feminism French feminism refers to a branch of feminist thought from a group of feminists in France from the s to the s. French feminism, compared to Anglophone feminism, is distinguished by an approach which is more philosophical and literary.
Its writings tend to be effusive and metaphorical, being less concerned with political doctrine and generally focused on theories of "the body.
In the s French feminists approached feminism with the concept of ecriture feminine, which translates as female, or feminine writing. Helene Cixous argues that writing and philosophy are phallocentric and along with other French feminists such as Luce Irigaray emphasizes "writing from the body" as a subversive exercise. The work of the feminist psychoanalyst and philosopher, Julia Kristeva, has influenced feminist theory in general and feminist literary criticism in particular.
From the s onwards the work of artist and psychoanalyst Bracha Ettinger has influenced literary criticism, art history and film theory. However, as the scholar Elizabeth Wright pointed out, "none of these French feminists align themselves with the feminist movement as it appeared in the Anglophone world. Theoretical schools Feminist theory is an extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical fields. It encompasses work in a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, economics, women's studies, literary criticism, art history, psychoanalysis and philosophy.
Feminist theory aims to understand gender inequality and focuses on gender politics, power relations and sexuality. While providing a critique of these social and political relations, much of feminist theory focuses on the promotion of women's rights and interests. Themes explored in feminist theory include discrimination, stereotyping, objectification especially sexual objectification , oppression and patriarchy. The American literary critic and feminist Elaine Showalter describes the phased development of feminist theory.
The first she calls "feminist critique," in which the feminist reader examines the ideologies behind literary phenomena. The second Showalter calls "gynocriticism," in which the "woman is producer of textual meaning" including "the psychodynamics of female creativity; linguistics and the problem of a female language; the trajectory of the individual or collective female literary career and literary history. The scholar Toril Moi criticized this model, seeing it as an essentialist and deterministic model for female subjectivity that fails to account for the situation of women outside the West.
Movements and ideologies Several submovements of feminist ideology have developed over the years; some of the major subtypes are listed below. These movements often overlap, and some feminists identify themselves with several types of feminist thought. Anarcha Anarcha-feminism also called anarchist feminism and anarcho-feminism combines anarchism with feminism. It generally views patriarchy as a manifestation of involuntary hierarchy. Anarcha-feminists believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle, and the anarchist struggle against the State.
In essence, the philosophy sees anarchist struggle as a necessary component of feminist struggle and vice-versa. Susan Brown puts it, "as anarchism is a political philosophy that opposes all relationships of power, it is inherently feminist". Susan Brown and the eco-feminist Starhawk. Socialist and Marxist Socialist feminism connects the oppression of women to Marxist ideas about exploitation, oppression and labor. Socialist feminists think unequal standing in both the workplace and the domestic sphere holds women down. Socialist feminists focus their energies on broad change that affects society as a whole, rather than on an individual basis.
They see the need to work alongside not just men, but all other groups, as they see the oppression of women as a part of a larger pattern that affects everyone involved in the capitalist system. Marx felt when class oppression was overcome, gender oppression would vanish as well. According to some socialist feminists, this view of gender oppression as a sub-class of class oppression is naive and much of the work of socialist feminists has gone towards separating gender phenomena from class phenomena.
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Some contributors to socialist feminism have criticized these traditional Marxist ideas for being largely silent on gender oppression except to subsume it underneath broader class oppression. Other socialist feminists, many of whom belong to Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party, two long-lived American organizations, point to the classic Marxist writings of Frederick Engels and August Bebel as a powerful explanation of the link between gender oppression and class exploitation.
In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century both Clara Zetkin and Eleanor Marx were against the demonization of men and supported a proletarian revolution that would overcome as many male-female inequalities as possible. As their movement already had the most radical demands of women's equality, most Marxist leaders, including Clara Zetkin and Alexandra Kollontai, counterposed Marxism against feminism, rather than trying to combine them.
Radical feminists believe that women can free themselves only when they have done away with what they consider an inherently oppressive and dominating patriarchal system. Radical feminists feel that there is a male-based authority and power structure and that it is responsible for oppression and inequality, and that as long as the system and its values are in place, society will not be able to be reformed in any significant way. Some radical feminists see no alternatives other than the total uprooting and reconstruction of society in order to achieve their goals.
Over time a number of sub-types of Radical feminism have emerged, such as Cultural feminism, Separatist feminism and Anti-pornography feminism. Cultural feminism is the ideology of a "female nature" or "female essence" that attempts to revalidate what they consider undervalued female attributes. It emphasizes the difference between women and men but considers that difference to be psychological, and to be culturally constructed rather than biologically innate.
Separatist feminism is a form of radical feminism that does not support heterosexual relationships. Its proponents argue that the sexual disparities between men and women are unresolvable. Separatist feminists generally do not feel that men can make positive contributions to the feminist movement and that even well-intentioned men replicate patriarchal dynamics.
Author Marilyn Frye describes separatist feminism as "separation of various sorts or modes from men and from institutions, relationships, roles and activities that are male-defined, male-dominated, and operating for the benefit of males and the maintenance of male privilege — this separation being initiated or maintained, at will, by women".
Liberal Liberal feminism asserts the equality of men and women through political and legal reform. Liberal feminism uses the personal interactions between men and women as the place from which to transform society. According to liberal feminists, all women are capable of asserting their ability to achieve equality, therefore it is possible for change to happen without altering the structure of society. Issues important to liberal feminists include reproductive and abortion rights, sexual harassment, voting, education, "equal pay for equal work", affordable childcare, affordable health care, and bringing to light the frequency of sexual and domestic violence against women.
Black Black feminism argues that sexism, class oppression, and racism are inextricably bound together. Forms of feminism that strive to overcome sexism and class oppression but ignore race can discriminate against many people, including women, through racial bias. The Combahee River Collective argued in that the liberation of black women entails freedom for all people, since it would require the end of racism, sexism, and class oppression.
One of the theories that evolved out of this movement was Alice Walker's Womanism. These movements were largely white middle-class movements and had generally ignored oppression based on racism and classism.
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Alice Walker and other Womanists pointed out that black women experienced a different and more intense kind of oppression from that of white women. Angela Davis was one of the first people who articulated an argument centered around the intersection of race, gender, and class in her book, Women, Race, and Class. Kimberle Crenshaw, a prominent feminist law theorist, gave the idea the name Intersectionality while discussing identity politics in her essay, "Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence Against Women of Color".
Postcolonial and third-world Postcolonial feminists argue that oppression relating to the colonial experience, particularly racial, class, and ethnic oppression, has marginalized women in postcolonial societies. They challenge the assumption that gender oppression is the primary force of patriarchy.
Postcolonial feminists object to portrayals of women of non-Western societies as passive and voiceless victims and the portrayal of Western women as modern, educated and empowered. Postcolonial feminism emerged from the gendered history of colonialism: colonial powers often imposed Western norms on colonized regions.
In the s and s, after the formation of the United Nations, former colonies were monitored by the West for what was considered "social progress". The status of women in the developing world has been monitored by organizations such as the United Nations and as a result traditional practices and roles taken up by women—sometimes seen as distasteful by Western standards—could be considered a form of rebellion against colonial oppression.
She argues that in creating such new political "homes" for ourselves within movements of "feminist solidarity" we also engage in creating new forms of "transformative identification with ideals, with each other, and with a feminist 'we'" As a reading of Young's essay, I think Weir's account misses its main point.
Young does not see "home" as a place either of risk or of comfortable security within movements of "feminist solidarity" although it may provide a needed anchor-point from whence to set forth into political movements. Instead, Young begins from the Heideggerian notion that "dwelling" is the human way of being in the world. We dwell in the world as embodied existences, and Young argues that "home is an extension of a person's body. Accordingly, it must lose its very meaning if it expanded, as Weir endeavors, to include making a "home" within identity politics Even so, this chapter offers important insights into the kinds of connections that a transformative identity politics might require, and these are further extended in the next chapter.
Titled "Global Feminism and Transformative Identity Politics," chapter 3 focuses more fully on the notion of identity politics as an active "identification-with" through which, in self-critical reflection and in connection with others including others who are different from "ourselves" , new and better feminist identities might be created.
Again protesting against notions of identity that reduce "women" to merely an objective category, Weir argues that it is through our commitments and solidarities that we actively construct our identities as transformative. Here, Weir sets out the three kinds of "identification-with" that she thinks are necessary for feminism: with feminist "values and ideals;" with "ourselves" as a feminist "we;" and with particular others, including with strangers Such identifications must, moreover, take place "across power divides" 79 and Weir turns to Maria Lugones's vision of empathetic "'world'-traveling" to flesh out this possibility.
I greatly appreciate Weir's insistence that identities are not static givens and that they may be transformed through critical and collective practices. However, in this chapter and elsewhere, she often affirms the self-creating and freedom-affirming aspects of identity at the expense of acknowledging the very real constraints that unchosen ascriptions of identity inflict on many. In addition, Weir's invocations of "identification-with" need better to be unpacked conceptually.
For "identification-with" ideals, or with a political collectivity, or with specific persons are surely quite distinct experiences. A more thorough treatment of how intellect, embodied affect, emotion, and eroticism may, variously, sustain these diverse kinds of "identification-with" would better support her claims. Chapter 4, "Transforming Women," further elaborates Weir's critique of conceptions of women's identity as "entrapment. Re-evaluating Zerilli's discussion of the Milan Women's Collective, Weir argues that the practices of the Milan feminists do not, contra Zerilli's reading, supercede women's identity but rather transform it.
Hannah Arendt's distinction, on which Zerilli builds, between "who" a person is "the 'unique disclosure of human action'" and "what" they are "identity, or substance" sets up a false opposition Against this, Weir argues that "these acts of freedom are re-creating our identities as women -- are changing what and who women are" Weir points out that there are serious costs attached to Zerilli's attempt to go beyond the identity, "women. Referring to "the early radical lesbian feminist figure of the women-identified woman", a figure which she says "has been all but erased from our memory" , Weir argues that it points toward an ideal of freedom through identification with other women that we should continue to value.
I am not as convinced as Weir that the identity, "women," has, in fact, become as devoid of positive values as she insists, but she still does feminist theory an important service in reminding us of its affirmative potentials.