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Intro to Feminist Literary Theory Also Known as: “Gender Criticism” Sociological Approach.

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Presentation on theme: "Intro to Feminist Literary Theory Also Known as: “Gender Criticism” Sociological Approach."— Presentation transcript:

1 Intro to Feminist Literary Theory Also Known as: “Gender Criticism” Sociological Approach

2 Basic premise of Feminist Theory: “Literature is full of unexamined male-dominated assumptions.”

3 Patriarchy Patriarchy is an ideology that privileges masculine ways of thinking/points of view and marginalizes women politically, economically, and psychologically.

4 Some Basic Tenets of Feminist Theory: Women have historically been excluded, suppressed, and exploited Traditional “Western Civilization” is patriarchal Women have represented values of nurturing, holism, and unity Women should be given the same opportunities as men

5 Feminist critics identify ways women have been: Excluded from positions of power Supressed in traditional literature & film: male characters are dominant while female characters are secondary Exploited in literature & film by sexist stereotypes

6 Feminist critics: Examine relationships between men and women in literature & film Examine patriarchal society as it is represented in literature & film Look for positive female role models Look to establish a more inclusive literary and film industry Oppose images of misogyny Analyze female characters Analyze “the place” women hold in the text Analyze the social structure of the text, focusing on gender Compare how men and women writers present characters and use language

7 One Main Question: How does an author’s gender influence his or her writing?

8 Positive Aspects: Feminist criticism attempts to correct historical abuses against women It attempts to rectify sexist discrimination and inequalities It balances male perspectives with female ones It gives women more roles to play

9 Negative Aspects Feminism is a narrow-minded view, using only one limited approach to analyzing texts It can lead to reverse sexism It has led to problematic debates (the “culture wars”) about family values, etc.

10 Women Can Do It! Women can do it !

11 Sources Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. 2 nd edition. NY: Manchester UP, 2002. Print. Brizee, Allen, and J. Case Tompkins. “Feminist Theory.”OWL at Purdue. Purdue University, 1995-2011. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. Sim, Stuart and Borin van Loon. Introducing Critical Theory: A Graphic Guide.Totem Books, 2005. Print.

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