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Patriarchy and Radical Feminism

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1 Patriarchy and Radical Feminism
Week 9 Gender and Society

2 Recap Social construction of gender
Look at social structures such as media, work and education Considered Liberal and socialist feminism Introduced patriarchy as a form of oppression

3 Outline Main points of radical feminism
Definitions/critiques of patriarchy Universalism and Essentialism

4 Radical feminism Radical feminism is often the one in public imagination Women oppressed as women Key sites of oppression Family and personal relationships Sexuality

5 Gendered power Male power needs to be recognised and understood in all its forms Male oppression has primacy over other forms of oppression Violence is a key part in maintaining male dominance

6 Violence against women
Not random acts by a few men but a key element in male power Violence and/or threats of violence are used to control women Sexual violence is a continuum Domestic violence, sexual harassment, pornography, prostitution, rape etc are all linked

7 Continuum of sexual violence
‘The continuum of sexual violence ranges from extensions of the myriad forms of sexism women encounter everyday through to the all too frequent murder of women and girls by men’ Kelly L (1988) Surviving Sexual Violence Minnesota. p97

8 Domestic violence in the UK
One in four women will be assaulted by a male partner On average two women per week are killed by a male partner or former partner One incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute Over a third of all female murder victims are killed by a current or former partner Wilcox P (2005) Understanding Domestic Violence Routledge

9 Rape on Trial 1 in 4 women suffer rape or attempted rape.
97% of callers to rape crisis centres knew their assailant (usually they are current/ex-husbands/ partners) Less than 7% had reported the assault to the police Only 5% of rapes reported to the police end up in a conviction Lees S (1996) Carnal Knowledge Penguin

10 Restricted movements Women are expected to restrict their lives
‘Women have been warned not to go out alone after dark after a series of three rapes and two abduction attempts in the same town over 10 days’. (Northampton Times 10/09/05) Women are expected to restrict their lives Why are men asked to stay in, so as not to be a threat to women?

11 Sexual Exploitation Radical feminism believes that prostitution, pornography and similar sexualised events are always exploitative All sexualised treatment of women reinforces male power

12 Continuum of Violence Radical feminists do not claim that all men are violent towards women But all men benefit from the threat of violence posed by some men The risk means that women may become dependant on male protection

13 Continuum of violence? To what extend do you think it is useful to think of violence against women as a continuum?

14 Patriarchy defined Different definitions:
Millet - Universal system of male dominance Walby – Six main social structures Family Work State Violence Sexuality Culture

15 The family system For Millet, patriarchy is a socially conditioned belief system which appears to be natural. It arises from and is reinforced by the perpetuation of heterosexual family The ideals of romantic love helps men to exploit and undermine women

16 Walby’s Social Structures
Family Male breadwinner/female homemaker Work vertical and horizontal segregation State Laws supporting male power Sexuality Compulsory heterosexuality Violence Actual or threats Culture Support though literature and media

17 Patriarchal State For radical feminism, male dominance is also supported by a patriarchal state Crimes against women not taken seriously Things are improving Rape now recognised in marriage Domestic violence taken more seriously Some problems remain Immigration requirements can mean women have to choose between violence or deportation

18 How do you think the different elements support or undermine each other? Discuss this with you neighbour.

19 Universalism Universal oppression lead to ideas of ‘sisterhood’
Women’s shared position as oppressed Stressed similarities between women Women’s experience key to gaining understanding

20 Essentialism Focus on women’s shared experiences risk risks being essentialist Valorising mothers as caring risks returning to biological-reductionism Danger of overlooking the differences between women

21 Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of seeing women as a social group with common interests.

22 Radical feminist activism
Rape crisis centres Refuge movement Women’s health movement Women’s peace movement

23 Feminist Activism Southall Black Sisters

24 Public and Private Liberal feminism concentrates on the public sphere and formal equality Socialist feminism looks at both the public and private spheres Radical feminism concentrates on the private sphere

25 Summary Patriarchy is the key concept for radical feminism
Feminist activism Reproductive rights Violence against women Dangers of universalism and essentialism

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