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Feminist Controversies

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Victoria Hoffeditz

on 17 October 2014

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Transcript of Feminist Controversies

This is not only controversial in the fact that male writers were only being studied, but this idea completely ignored female writers altogether; denying female attention is something feminists tried to avoid to begin with. This controversy is very hypocritical.
To expose sexual inequality, criticism was only given to male writers: "critical attention was given to books by male writers in which influential writing or typical images of women were constructed" (Barry 122).
Feminism in the 1970s
Western Culture vs. World
Feminist's thinking is controversial among other feminist's.
Feminist Criticism Theory cannot even agree on a focal point. It is split into two categories.

"Anglo-American" Feminism
"French" Feminism

What's the Difference?
"Anglo-American" feminism maintain interest in "traditional critical concepts like theme, motif, and characterization...and treat literature as a series of representations of women's lives and experience which can be measured and evaluated against reality" (Barry 124).

"French" feminism is more theoretical, "the literary text is never primarily, a representation of reality...instead philosophical issues are [analyzed] before coming to the literary text its self" (Barry 125).
Feminism in the 1980s
Not until the 1980s did feminism switch its "focus from attacking male versions of the world to exploring the nature of the female world and outlook" (Barry 122).

However, the female outlook on the world was distorted. They observed inequality in female writings because that was all females knew. Sexual inequality was their life day to day.
Feminist Controversies
Feminist Criticism
How reliable is the school of thought if they cannot even agree on a focal point?
"Universal" Womanhood
Feminism assumes all women have similar experiences and needs.
This ideology serves to "construct a 'universal' womanhood that erases power relations between women; the subsequent use of academic research to prove the universality of women's experiences; and the construction of third world women as the opposite of Western women: in other words constrained, victimized, poor, ignorant as opposed to Western women who are educated, modern, and free to make their own choices" (Salem).
Excluded Variables
Gender is only one variable.
Feminism overlooks variables such as race, poor/rich, urban/rural, and educated/uneducated to name a few.
Women of third world countries are negated from feminism due to Western definition.
Many women face very different circumstances than the "modern" Western woman American and once again many women are excluded in Feminism Theory.
Assuming "Individualistic Premise"
Feminism becomes problematic when defining the separation between secular and spiritual.
According to Feminism:

Modernity states that individuals move from a state of religiosity towards a state of secularity (Salem).
The statement neglects the fact that many religious movements are profoundly modern.
The Problem is...
Many modern women embrace the idea of giving themselves over to a "higher power".
Feminism is again excluding a large population of women by ignoring spirituality.
It is impossible to achieve an accurate theory by excluding so many women.
Key Points
Exclusion of female writings; 1970s.

Two split perspectives.

Inaccurate "universal" woman.

Separation between secular and spiritual.
Not only do they disagree what to focus on but they exclude thousands of cultures. The two split perspectives are Western culture.
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