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Feminist Perspectives on the Family

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1 Feminist Perspectives on the Family
Feminists of all types have encouraged sociologists to see the family as an institution involving power relationships – “the personal is political” Feminism has challenged the view of the family as being based on cooperation, shared interests and love Feminism has tried to show that men gain more from family life than women.

2 Types of Feminism Dictionary Definition: “Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” In sociology, it means more than that. There are several recognisable branches of feminism

3 Introduction to Feminist Theory
There are many types of feminism; Liberal Radical Socialist Marxist Lesbian Humanist

4 Liberal Feminism 18th century Liberal thought Mary Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) John Stuart Mill The Subjection of Women (1869). Liberal feminists are concerned with extending to women the liberal values of liberty, equality and justice through legal and social reforms. Legislative and political action-- action, lobbying, courts--reformist and gradualist.

5 Radical Feminists Origins: Late 1960s New Left civil rights and anti-war protests. Beliefs: Gender distinctions thought to be natural are actually socially and politically constructed Significant and radical change is needed in society

6 Radical Feminists (examples.)
Kate Millett “The personal is political” MEN, not just the patriarchy, at fault because all men benefit from women’s oppression. patriarchal assumptions permeate all social institutions--including marriage, family, love, heterosexuality etc. Loosely organized groups calling for complete restructuring of society: Betty Friedan (NOW); Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinem, Susan Steinmetz; Pam Allen and Shulamith Firestone--the famous “bra burning” protest at Miss America Contest in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Sep 7, 1968. Susan Brownmiller Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape “Rape is the act of terror by which all men control all women”

7 Socialist Feminism Combining radical feminism with Marxist analysis--
Overthrow both class and gender - there is a symbiotic relationship between capitalism and patriarchy – women get exploited twice as women and as workers – DUAL OPPRESSION Extend notions of modes of production (Marxist economic determinism) to other production—e.g. mothering

8 Other Feminist Schools
Marxist-feminism focus on destruction of capitalism as way to liberate women. Lesbian feminism Lesbian-feminist politics is a political critique of the institution and ideology of heterosexuality as a cornerstone of male supremacy Rita Mae Brown, Charlotte Bunch, TiGrace Atkinson, McKinnon, Andrea Dworkin, Adrienne Rich “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” (1980) Humanist feminism women’s oppression is the inhibition and distortion of women’s human potential by a society that only allows the self-development of men.

9 Question Is the “personal political”?
Once you have read through both sets of notes post your response on the Discussion Forum Return to Lesson Start

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