FEMINISM Scott Masters Crestwood College
politicosocioeconomic struggle for gender/sexual equality • the roots of modern fem. can be found in the IR • the IR transformed modern society in all respects; this inc. upsetting the gender balance • both women and men were forced to pursue “non-traditional” forms of employment in the emerging IR
in early heavy industry, men gained the employment advantage – this was based in part on the advantage of greater physical strength, but the reality is that medieval Europe was already patriarchal • women and children were thus relegated to secondary tasks/ “inferior” forms of employment
this led to a fundamental in family structure: as men gained eco. dominance in society and became the “breadwinners”, men gained increased status w/in the family (and since wealth meant pol. power, men gained a role in gov’t too) • it had not always been like that in feudalism; Europe had always been patriarchal, but women shared in the familial/eco./pol. responsibilities to a greater extent
by the late 19th c., women were in a better position to challenge that inequality, esp. in GB (emerging liberalism) • the suffragette movement was on the rise, with women demanding pol. rights (mainly the vote), along w/ eco., legal, and social ones (such as temperance) • this phase = 1st Wave Feminism • most of the goals were achieved in the 1920s/30s; women gained the right to vote and were recognized as citizens (Cda – Nellie McClung, Emily Murphy, Agnes Macphail), esp. after WW I
but the suffragettes made a key error: they had believed that pol. equality would translate into other areas of society (and thus aid in the achievement of eco. and familial equality too…) • but sexism persisted (now de facto instead of de jure) • and it persists to this day: “pink collar jobs”, the “glass ceiling”, pay inequity…
WW II was another watershed period, typified by “Rosie the Riveter”: women made massive contributions, many of which were erased in the complacency of the “Fabulous 50s” • Video Notes – How do all of the following factor into the Sexual Revolution?: Baby Boom, Social Hygiene Films, Betty Friedan and TheFeminine Mystique, Gloria Steinem and Ms., Cohabitation, Sexual Revolution, “The Pill”, Sexual Orientation
the period after WW II saw the emergence of the 2nd Wave; since pol./legal equality had been achieved, the focus changed to inc. an attack on economic/ social/psychological injustice • in this period, Women’s Lib (-eration) became the emphasis, and the goal was to address the issue of women’s ongoing “inferior” status • the different strains of fem. provide a # of answers: fem. can be found all over the pol. spectrum (conservative fem., liberal fem., Marxist fem., etc…)
Marxist Feminism • its emphasis is on the evils of capitalism and specifically its oppression of womyn • acc. to Allison Jaggar, : “Women are the proletariat in the gender division of labour.” (Gender Proletariat) • here, “proletariat” means oppression outside of eco. activity • by implication, men are the “gender bourgeoisie” • thus the further implications…? • What does “rev.” mean to Jaggar?
Marxist Feminists trace industrial/postindustrial inequality to pre-existent patriarchy, the physical nature of early ind. rev. workplaces, the obstacle of pregnancy and child-rearing, prejudice and stereotyping… • They also note that much of this still exists, even in law • Feminist jurisprudenceis a school of thought that seeks to remedy such injustice (as seen in the Stella Blissand Lavell v. Attorney Generalcases)
w/ all of the above, Marxist feminists see men w/ a def. adv., so Marxist fem. offers a 4-pronged critique of society: • Patriarchy – that male domination must be attacked in all its forms • Culture needs to be assailed as Cultural Conditioning (Socialization) determines gender behaviour/expectations • They contend that women learn to be passive and accept their secondary status b/c of pervasive social signals • Further, both men and women internalize stereotypes and a ct acc. to these beliefs, leading to oppression of women • The fem. solution: since culture can transmit both ideas of oppression and liberation, the process of socialization needs to be transformed to create empowerment
Epistemology – the “process of how knowledge is acquired” • Fem. states that all knowledge in socially-constructed; since we live in a patriarchal society, we’re bound to internalize those values • What’s needed: new patterns of socialization, new sources of info, new ways of interpreting the world • [ “Womyn”…politically correctlanguage (PC) ]
History – another fem. issue is that women are ignored and invisible in history • Only recently did women become formal citizens and thus play a pol. role; since much traditional hist. is political/military, women have thus been downplayed (as “less” documentation existed to portray women’s role in social history…)…there are also the facts that most historians were men w/ “male” priorities and that women were denied education/literacy until fairly recently • Thus “herstory” needs to be re-examined and written (examples…) • Go check out the website equalityrules.ca • What is the 3rd Wave?