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Feminism. By Victoria Harding. What is Feminism?. “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute” – Rebecca West In academia, feminism is a:

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By Victoria Harding

what is feminism
What is Feminism?
  • “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute” – Rebecca West
  • In academia, feminism is a:
    • Classroom pedagogy
    • Research methodology
    • Rhetoric
    • Social critique
  • “Feminism is a political movement designed to alleviate the patriarchal oppression of women” (Heilker 97).


“Male and Female Figures on Scale”

feminism as pedagogy
Feminism as Pedagogy
  • Emphasizes personal voice, shared authority, and collaboration
  • Similar to expressive writing; both place emphasis on personal experience and voice
  • Fights against patriarchal forces that seek to silence women
  • Conveys the idea that the female voice is lost in male society, and that the teacher must work to aid in its recovery
  • Must firmly confront misconceptions of gender and sexuality


feminism as research methodology
Feminism as Research Methodology
  • Studies male and female ways of composing and knowing
  • “To become self-consciously aware of what [women’s] experience in the world has been and how this experience is related to the politics of gender” – Elizabeth Flynn (98)
  • Indentifies male-dominated interests and integrates the female perspective
  • Utilizes women’s powers of subversion, mediation and negotiation in the form of writing to infiltrate and revolutionize academia
  • Hybridizes personal experience and detached argument to produce a uniquely female research and writing style
feminism as rhetoric
Feminism as Rhetoric
  • Studies sexist language issues and linguistic gender differences
  • Promotes women speakers and their speech
  • Cultivates reason, eloquence, strategy, collaboration, and empowerment
  • Examines the impact of print, visual media, and advertising on the lives of women


harmful advertising
Harmful Advertising




feminism as social critique
Feminism as Social Critique
  • Works to transform previously unbalanced relationships between men and women in society and in the family and home life
  • Supports an increase in female presence in professional fields and the public in general
  • Has caused changes in attitudes not just towards females, but also towards other minority groups of varying race, religion and ethnicity
  • Fights violence against women by promoting education and social awareness among both genders; women must learn self-defense, men must learn to recognize the sexist mentalities ingrained by society
feminism in the words of writers
Feminism in the Words of Writers
  • “Does feminist mean a large unpleasant person who’ll shout at you, or someone who believes women are human beings? To me it’s the latter, so I sign up” – Margaret Atwood
  • “If divorce has increased by one thousand percent, don’t blame the women’s movement. Blame the obsolete sex roles on which our marriages were based” – Betty Friedan
  • “Women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions which men think it manly to pay to the sex, when, in fact, men are insultingly supporting their own superiority” – Mary Wollstonecraft
  • “Any woman whose I.Q. hovers above her body temperature must be a feminist” – Rita Mae Brown
works cited
Works Cited
  • Amos, Tori. “Real Men.” Strange Little Girls. Atlantic, 2001.
  • Heilker, Paul, and Peter Vandenberg, eds. Keywords in Composition Studies. Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook, 1996.