The concept of feminism is not new, although it is often associated with the latter half of the twentieth century. However, assuming this is correct is an error. The aim of this paper is to look at the concept of feminism, first defining what it is, and then looking at how it is developed and how it may be seen today.
Feminism refers to an ideology in which the position of women is advanced with the aim of gaining equality; meaning that they are able to gain the same rights as men (Offen, 1988). The concept of equality refers to political, economic, and legal rights (Offen, 1988). The underlying concept is that women also need to have equal access to resources, such as education and health care, as well as equal opportunities in the workplace (Freedman, 2003; Offen, 1988).
While the movement and progress of the ideas may be associated with the second half of the 20th century, there are many examples of early theorists supporting the idea of equal rights. In some books these may be referred to as 'proto-feminists'(Freedman, 2003). By looking at some of the history, the long road to the current status of feminism may be appreciated.
One of the first records of calls for equal rights for women is seen in the work of Plato (Baruch, 1988). Plato argued for both sexual and political equality for women, believing they could play important roles both in rolling and fighting (Baruch, 1988). Moving forward to the 14th century, Christine de Pizan wrote specifically denouncing misogyny, and calling for equality in a book originally written in French, the title translated reads "Epistle to the God of Love" (de Beauvoir, 1988)....
Through the ages there have been numerous examples of individuals, both male and female, arguing for female equality.
The potential of equal rights to women became more prominent during the Enlightenment, when many philosophers examined influences on society, and the role of women in society. The philosopher Jeremy Bentham, and the well-known novelist Mary Wollstonecraft both expressed views that today would be classified as feminist (Freedman, 2003). Jeremy Bentham stated that his decision to become a reformist was stimulated at the age of 11 years, when he realized that women had an inferior position under the law (Williford, 1975). He argued that there should be a total equality between the genders, including the right of women to vote, as well as take part in government (Williford, 1975). Bentham also argued against dual moral standards, which were different for men and women (Williford, 1975). Furthermore, he introduced a number of arguments in his book "Principles of Morals and Legislation," published in 1781, undermining the argument that women had inferior intellect (Williford, 1975).
In the context of feminism, it maybe argued that the author Mary Wollstonecraft could be classified as the first feminist philosopher. In 1792 she published "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman," which may be argued as the first clearly feminist publication (Brody, 1983). In a publication Wollstonecraft wrote about social factors that held women back and created inequality. She argued that the different treatment given to female children, including a less comprehensive education, as well as different expectations, continued to perpetuate inequality (Brody, 1983). Interestingly, she noted that the inferior position of women in society was not just the fault of men, but also the fault of women which accepted their position as inferior, and allowed the inequality to continue (Brody, 1983).
In the 19th century, despite opposition from society, and even Queen Victoria, more outspoken feminist views began to be expressed. In 1843, Marion Reid, a Scottish woman published "A Plea for Woman" which not only identified…
Offen, Karen. Defining Feminism: A Comparative Historical Approach. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 14, 1: 1988, pg 119. Offen, in her book, has very successfully and clearly laid out the history of feminism and its overall impact. Her own analyses, though, of the philosophy of feminism are of the utmost interest as she incorporates the phenomenon of dualism, individualism and relationalism into the feminist school of thought.
Feminism is defined as movements that are aimed to protect rights of the women al around the world. These rights include voting rights, political, economic as well as social rights. The second main aim of the feminist movement is to make sure that women get equal education as well as employment rights. Those who believe in feminism are termed as feminists. Feminist theory One of the most important theories in feminism is
" A story narrating the life of the abused Minnie Foster, wife to John Wright, and her killing of her husband as a means to express her oppression and experiences of abuse from him. Like the narrator's downfall to insanity in "Yellow wallpaper," Minnie's character in "A jury" reflects the lack of avenue for women to express their feelings and thoughts, resorting instead to actions that are considered deviant in
He also examines the link between the phenomenon of feminism, the increase or impact on female political participation and the influence of the 1972 elections in the activation or growth of the working women phenomenon. Caroline Ramazanoglu. Feminism and the Contradictions of Oppression. London and New York. 1989. This book mainly focuses on the difficulties faced when forming an association between the feminist social theory and feminist political strategy. The
In summing up the essential dilemma for today's woman as she contemplates -- while being handicapped as non-equal partners with males in the workplace (females are paid less than men for the same work) -- either using her reproductive ability or launching a career, McWilliams offers this succinct verity: "They have the worst of both worlds: the burdens of limitations and the hazards of opportunity" (30). Are Women Eschewing Marriage
History Of Psychology and Hysteria Hysteria, symbolize women in the field of psychology during history and in many different cultures for the reason that the issues that society goes through are reflected in the area of psychology. Hysteria has been broken down into various parts in history that had to change influences on the diagnosis and its implication for women. History has shown that parallel patterns can be observed in the