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Sociology of Gender GenderThrough the Prism of Difference PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Sociology of Gender GenderThrough the Prism of Difference. Chapter One: Part two Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism. Women of color have objected the hegemony of feminism that homogenizes women as a universal category.

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Sociology of Gender GenderThrough the Prism of Difference

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Sociology of gender genderthrough the prism of difference l.jpg

Sociology of GenderGenderThrough the Prism of Difference

Chapter One: Part two

Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism


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  • Women of color have objected the hegemony of feminism that homogenizes women as a universal category.

  • To them, classic feminism was constructed around the lives and the experiences of white middle class American women.

  • They take issue with the unitary theories of gender which excludes all other women and misinterpret their experiences

  • Both the antiracist and women liberation movements insisted to challenge the systems of domination, not only gender but all other women whose lives have been affected by their location within the multiple hierarchies.


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  • Gender is links and interwoven with other forms of domination that can not be investigated in abrstract.

  • Hence, contemporary feminist analysis incorporates all other systems of domination and is infused with difference and diversity perspectives

  • Multiracial feminism perspective examines the structure of dominance and how race is connected with social construction of gender.

  • Women of Color share their focus on race as the primary force situating gender differently. To them it is the centrality of institutionalized racism that connect feminist perspective with multiracial feminism


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Contemporary Difference Feminism

  • Women of different race, ethnicity, culture, social class, sexual orientation and post modern feminists have rejected women universalism that essentialized women characteristics. They indicate that now gender must be examined in the context of other social divisions. They furthermore assert that there are no gender relations, but only gender relations as constructed within classes, races, cultures and religions.

  • Hence, we find difference replaced equality as the central concern of contemporary feminism. This while others feel by focusing on race, ethnicity, and class, we affirm nothing but difference.

  • To Multiracial Feminism, race, class and ethnicity are the primary organizing principles of a society that locates and positions groups within its opportunity structures.

  • Thus Difference should not be reduced to pluralism approach of “live and let live” which continues within macro and micro structures of race, gender, class and sexuality.


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  • Plurarism failure in that it ignores thepower relations that accompany Difference. Also, it does not recognize inequalities which makes some characteristics to be seen as “normal” while others seen as “different or deviant”.

  • Multiracial feminism is an evolving theory and practice; it is the understanding of women and men as they are situated, each within the multiple systems of domination.


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  • US Multiracial Feminism is primarily developed by women of color whose analysis are shaped by their unique perspectives, and whose social locations provide them specific understanding of their society structures.

  • US women of color are of many races, ethnicity, and cultures, but all share the notion of race as the basic social division and structure of power and politics.

  • Therefore, race is a fundamental force shaping women and men’s lives at any given time.


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  • Multiracial Feminism is US Third World feminism or the Indigenous feminism or

    the multicultural feminism.

  • Race as a power system that interacts with other structured inequalities to categorize gender.

  • The ideological system in America endorses race as a category of division.

  • Hence, it is a fundamental organizing principle of social relationships.


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Multicultural Feminism

  • Multiculural perspective claims that women differences are due to groups specific values and practices, this is a risk that will result in marginalizing cultural groups which are perceived as an exotic aspect of a pluralistic society.

  • Focusing on race on the other hand, will stress the social construction of differently situated social groups with their varying levels of benefits and power or disadvantages and oppression.

  • Hence, emphasis on Multiracial US Feminism is increasingly gaining political importance.


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  • Consequently, Multiracial US Feminism insist upon the primacy and prevalent nature of race in contemporary US society.

  • Hence, political and economic forces that shape women’s lives began to uncover the social causes of racial and ethnic women’s subordination.

  • Multiracial perspective provides analysis of groups who are socially and legally subordinated and remain culturally distinct within US society.

  • This is a systematic discrimination of socially constructed racial groups.


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  • African American, Latinas, Asian American, Native American, all are socially constructed, and each is, racially and culturally distinct within the large society that subordinate them.

  • Women of Color Feminism: We speak in many voices, with inconsistencies that are born of our differences and our social locations so that not to be falsely universalized but to look at the intersecting forms of race and gender.

  • Race also contested as a category whose meaning is socially constructed. Hence, race meanings are shifting from historical and geographical, race today is a transnational, encompassing groups in Diaspora, crossing traditional geographic boundaries.


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