Phases Elaine Showalter, leading feminine critic in U.S., came up with these three phases: 1.“Feminine” phase (1840-1880) Women writers imitated the dominant tradition 2. “Feminist” phase (1880-1920) Women advocated rights and protested 3.“Female” phase (1920-present) Rediscovery of woman's’ texts and women
Feminist Critics See the very act of speaking- of having a language- as a focus for studying women writers, so often silenced in the past. Goal: To promote discovery and reevaluation of literature by women, and to examine social and cultural contexts of literature and literary criticisms.
Feminist Criticism Different models Biological model women are more than just bodies. (thoughts and opinions matter too) Linguistic model If women continue to speak as men do, whatever they say will be alienated Psychoanalytic model Identifies gender difference as the basis of the psyche Cultural model Places feminist concerns in social contexts, acknowledging class, racial, national, and historical differences and determinants among women, but offering a collective experience that unites women over time and space- a “binding force.”
Gender studies The entire concept of the female difference is what caused female oppression They wish to move beyond “difference” altogether
Marxist Feminism Focuses on the relation between reading and social realities Marxist feminists attack the prevailing capitalistic system of the West, which they view as sexually as well as economically exploitative They direct their attention toward conditions of production of literary texts- economics of publishing and distributing texts Matter vs. manner of a text
Psychoanalytic Feminism Practical and not terminology-ridden French= most innovative and far-reaching of this English feminist critics (Marxists) stress oppression French feminist critics (psychoanalytic) stress repression Reject the idea that art is representational- merely effects of language Myth- appeals to women because of their identification with nature (women goddesses- Ceres, Medea)
Minority Feminism Black and lesbian feminists Their work tends to use irony as a primary literary device to focus on their self-definition- their “coming out”- for they often reject classic literary tradition as oppressive They accuse other feminist critics of developing their ideas only in reference to white, upper- middle-class women who practice feminism only in order to become a part of the patriarchal power structure. Women who want to be considered equal to men (equal rights)