Reader Response. Feminist theory. What is literary or critical theory?. What do you mean by “critical perspective”? The terms “literary theory” and “critical theory” refer to essentially the same fields of study. They both address ways of looking
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Reader Response Feminist theory
What is literary or critical theory? What do you mean by “critical perspective”? The terms “literary theory” and “critical theory” refer to essentially the same fields of study. They both address ways of looking at literature beyond the typical plot-theme, character-setting studies.
What are the benefits of studying a workfrom more than one critical perspective? • There are several benefits: • One of the views is likely to affirm your perspective and speak to what you see in the literature you are studying. • Studying a view different from yours—not to disagree with it, but to understand it—helps you understand those who hold that view. • Studying a work from more than one view gives you a deeper understanding of the author’s work and a better appreciation for the richness of it.
Introduction to feminist theory • Misogyny • Sexism • Feminism • “other” • Gender • patriarchy
Feminism • Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. • The goals of feminism are: • To demonstrate the importance of women • To reveal that historically women have been subordinate to men • To bring about gender equity.
Gender • social category imposed on a sexed body • cultural construction
SEXISM • What is Sexism. . . . • Sexism is any attitude, action, or institutional structure which subordinates and subjucates a person or group because of gender (sex). • The components of sexism are prejudice and discrimination.
What does patriarchy mean? • “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.
Misogyny • Misogyny means “woman-hating.” • Terms like slut, whore, ho, tramp, trick, and tart stem from misogyny.
Feminist Theory • “Examines the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women” (Tyson 81).
Feminist Theory • Three main areas of study and points of criticism exist in the Feminist Theory: 1. differences between men and women 2. women in positions of power and power dynamics between men and women 3. the female experience
Feminist Theory • Examining “Cinderella” from a Feminist perspective. • Consider the potentially misogynist theme of abused-girl-waiting-to-be-rescued-by-prince. • Consider the values conveyed in the portrayal of the “good girl” as physically beautiful and the “wicked girls” as physically ugly.
Cinderella’s Gender Biases Gender Stereotype Cinderella Cinderella White, beautiful, passive, kind, waiting for a Prince to rescue her Stepmother/sister Ugly, vindictive, evil, cruel and jealous of Cinderella’s beauty Prince: Handsome, strong Figures out how to solve the problem Rescues Cinderella • Women: • Nurturing, kind, passive, non-logical, not powerful • Beautiful, skinny • Willing to marry, waiting for Marriage • Manipulative, catty • Men • Logical-problem solvers • Strong • Handsome and powerful
A Feminist critic would analyze Twilight. These pictures depict her as: insecure, submissive, dependent, reliant, protected, main but lesser, sustained by, accessory, strong because of, empowered by, obedient, even slavish
A Feminist critic, such as myself, would analyze Juno. These pictures depict her as: confident, powerful, equal, firm, at peace, dauntless, self-sufficient, co-owning, secure, judged but able to withstand, even bolder than her “man”
A Medium for Voice • Waiting to Exhale is a venue for black feminist thought; it gives black women voice and affirms black solidarity and sisterhood while also providing a means for black women to communicate their “lived experiences” to the masses. Pause the lecture and watch clip 2 from Waiting to Exhale
Real Women Have Curves • As you watch this film use feminist theory to decide if the women in this film are portrayed a positive or negative light.