Feminism Literary criticism displayed by feminist theory Before 1970- the first and second waves of feminism dealing with politics of women’s authorship and the representation of women’s condition within literature Third Wave-more complex conceptions of gender- considering in terms of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis
Goals of Feminist Critisism To uncover and develop a female tradition of writing To interpret symbolism of women’s writing so it will not be ignored by a male point of view To rediscover old texts
Goal Continued To analyze women writers and their writings in a female perspective To oppose sexism in literature To Increase awareness of sexual politics of language and style
Advantages of Feminist Criticism Women have been somewhat underrepresented in the traditional cannon, and a feminist approach to literature redresses this problem.
Disadvantages Feminist turn literary criticism into a political battlefield and overlook the qualities of works they consider "patriarchal." When arguing for a distinct feminine writing style, they tend to relegate women's literature to a ghetto status; this in turn prevents female literature from being naturally included in the literary cannon. The feminist approach is often too theoretical.
Feminist Fairy Tales Engage in a debate about literary conventions and societal norms A response to other tales by women French fairy tales exemplify political and historical conditions in France beginning with those from the female perspective Example: Mlle de La Force, Mme de Muart, Mlle Bernard- all patronized women in classical literature such as nurses or maids
Literary Examples Excerpt from Sleeping Persun of Better-Than- Average Attractiveness Clip from The Paper Bag Princess “The Great Person-Hole Cover Debate”-Van Gelder “If Men Menstruated”- Steinem “The Feminine Mystique”- Betty Friedan
Example Questions When Using Feminist Criticism How do men and women differ? Are their female heroines? If so, how do they differ from the male heroes? Does the literature include the use of stereotypes as it relates to women? How does the use of pronouns represent masculine ideology? (ex. he in place of he or she)
Questions Continued Can the gender of the author be determined simply through the text? (stylistic differences between a woman’s and a man’s writing) Does the text represent what it means to be a woman? Does the text seem to favor one gender over the other?
Bibliography Garner, James. Sleeping Persun of Better-Than- Average Attractiveness. Literary Criticism. 1999. 15 Mar. 2009. Munsch, Robert. The Paper Bag Princess. Canada: Annick P, 1980.