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Gender and Feminism

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Kate Moles

on 14 November 2017

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Transcript of Gender and Feminism

Feminism
Dr Kate Moles
molesk@cf.ac.uk

What about you?
Zimmerman and West (1987) distinction between sex and gender:
- Sex is biological
- Gender is performative, something omnipresent
- We are all, constantly, doing gender; it is made by us in everyday lives in our interactions with others and with things
- Doing gender thrives on continually establishing a dual order of two sexes
- We simplify the categories so that we can use them, so we can work them out together, so we can move on...
Gender and Classification
What else does it mean?
Social separation leads to hierarchy leads to INEQUALITY
What jobs can women do?
What are the issues here? What are the actions and what are the consequences?

Social Separation - hierarchy - unequal

We could remove the hierarchy - value all jobs equally? We could value the traits associated with women more? Why do we value bankers over teachers? Doctors over nurses? Childminders over engineers?

How can we change what we are facing?


“As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.”
― bell hooks
C19th - early C20th
1960s - 1980s
1980s onwards
First Wave Feminism
'de jure' - primarily interested in woman's suffrage
Second Wave Feminism
Sexuality, family, the workplace, sexuality, reproductive rights, de facto inequalities, official legal in equalities
Third Wave Feminism
What's going on here?
'I do not wish women to have power
over men, but over themselves'
'Taught from their infancy that beauty is a woman's spectre,
the mind shapes itself to the body and roaming around its gilt
cage, only seeks to adorn its prison'
Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759 -1797
British Suffragettes
'The conditions of our sex is so deplorable that it is our duty to break the law in order to call attention to the reasons why we do'
So how can we explain these things?
Patriarchy is the social system in which males are the primary authority figures central to social organisation, occupying roles of political leadership, moral authority and control of property.
'Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, stopped for groceries, matched sleep over material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, lay beside her husband all night - she was afraid to ask the silent question - 'is this all?'
Betty Friedman, 1963, The Female Mystique
Reactions to Patriarchy: Feminisms through the Ages
“Visionary feminism is a wise and loving politics. It is rooted in the love of male and female being, refusing to privilege one over the other. The soul of feminist politics is the commitment to ending patriarchal domination of women and men, girls and boys. Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion. Males cannot love themselves in patriarchal culture if their very self-definition relies on submission to patriarchal rules. When men embrace feminist thinking and preactice, which emphasizes the value of mutual growth and self-actualization in all relationships, their emotional well-being will be enhanced. A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.”
― Bell Hooks
'No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor'
'One is not born a woman, but becomes one'
Simone du Beauvoir
“On the day when it will be possible for woman to love not in her weakness but in her strength, not to escape herself but to find herself, not to abase herself but to assert herself--on that day love will become for her, as for man, a source of life and not of mortal danger.”
non-essentialised identity, gender violence, reclaiming lanugage, rape, race and class
'I posit that we're free to seize a word that was kidnapped and co-opted in a pain-filled, distant, past, with a ransom that cost out grandmother's freedom, children, traditions, pride and land'
Caitlin Moran
“I have a rule of thumb that allows me to judge, when times is pressing and one needs to make a snap judgment, whether or not some sexist bullshit is afoot. Obviously, it’s not 100% infallible but by and large it definitely points you in the right direction and it's asking this question; are the men doing it? Are the men worrying about this as well? Is this taking up the men’s time? Are the men told not to do this, as it's letting the side down? Are the men having to write bloody books about this exasperating retarded, time-wasting, bullshit? Is this making Jeremy Clarkson feel insecure?

Almost always the answer is no. The boys are not being told they have to be a certain way, they are just getting on with stuff.”
Third wave feminism questions...
key things: the body, the patriarchy, how woman position themselves, how they are positioned, are we ever free from the way we are positioned in a patriarchal (capitalist) system?
marxist/ socialist feminism, radical feminism
Postmodern, poststructualist feminism
Liberal feminism
'Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression'
Imagine living in a world where there is no domination, where
females and males are not alike or even always equal, but where a vision
of mutuality is the ethos shaping our interaction. Imagine living
in a world where we can all be who we are, a world of peace and possibility.
Feminist revolution alone will not create such a world; we
need to end racism, class elitism, imperialism. But it will make it possible
for us to be fully self-actualized females and males able to create
beloved community, to live together, realizing our dreams of freedom
and justice, living the truth that we are all "created equal." Come
closer. See how feminism can touch and change your life and all our
lives. Come closer and know firsthand what feminist movement is all
about. Come closer and you will see: feminism is for everybody.

bell hooks
Feminism is for everybody - bell hooks
pdf available online
‘...women and… men… are jointly locked in a culture which distorts the possibilities of humanness as an ethical project. Women are outsiders in a system which often appears to them to come from another planet. And so, indeed, it has been brought to them by men, whose alienation from the experiences of others is often so complete that they can’t even see their own will to power. These dual positions of aliens and outsides are the creation of a gendered division of labour inherited from the past. But that past… lives in the present through men’s understandable reluctance to give up their ownership and commodification of the world.’ Gender on Planet Earth, 2002, p3.
‘Universities are not comfortable sites of feminist struggle, and they remain relatively inhospitable to women and other outsiders. The fit between what is regarded as 'cutting edge' research and scholarship, on the one hand, and the products of masculine social science, on the other, remains uncomfortably close.’ The Ann Oakley Reader, 2005, p188.
‘The state is a masculine institution: men hold most of the top positions in government and its associated agencies…’ Gender on Planet Earth, 2002, p45.
“When you expose a problem you pose a problem. It might then be assumed that the problem would go away if you would just stop talking about it or if you went away. The charge of sensationalism falls rather quickly onto feminist shoulders: when she talks about sexism and racism, her story is heard as sensationalist, as if she is exaggerating for effect. The feminist killjoy begins as a sensationalist figure. It is as if the point of making her point is to cause trouble, to get in the way of the happiness of others, because of her own unhappiness.”
― Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life

“Feminist consciousness can be thought of as consciousness of the violence and power concealed under the languages of civility, happiness, and love, rather than simply or only consciousness of gender as a site of restriction of possibility. You can venture into the secret places of pain by recalling something. You can cause unhappiness by noticing something. And if you can cause unhappiness by noticing something, you realize that the world you are in is not the world you thought you were in.”
― Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
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