All of these are perceived to be shaped by cultural values and norms. Our perception of good and bad, of women, and the act of sex between men and women is a product of social relations. Feminist scholars study a range of topics, including sexual orientation, race, economic status, and nationality. The liberal view that all forms of speech should go unregulated does not recognize that the power men have over women to define them in pornography has silenced women’s voices. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V. URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0080430767039450, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978145573174900015X, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0080430767039504, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123739858001410, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0080430767039565, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0080430767039954, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0080430767039619, International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001, International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Profiling and Serial Crime (Third Edition), Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, & Conflict (Second Edition), Gender Differences in Personality and Social Behavior, Sexual Behavior: Sociological Perspective, Sexual Harassment: Social and Psychological Issues, Sexual Orientation: Biological Influences, Sexual Orientation: Historical and Social Construction, Transsexuality, Transvestism, and Transgender, Gender and Feminist Studies in Political Science, Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. Such work was seen as ‘part of nature’ in a metaphysic that denigrated nature. Focuses include sexual orientation, race, economic status, and nationality. Though the feminist perspective focuses on diversity and liberation, it has been accused of being incompatible with multiculturalist policy. Feminist theory has impacted virtually all structures, systems, and disciplines, challenging traditional ontological and epistemological assumptions about human nature as well as ‘maleness’ and ‘femaleness.’ Modern feminism, which began 200 years ago, has evolved in three waves. Inequality between the genders is a phenomenon that goes back at least 4,000 years (Lerner 1986). As exemplified in the following quote, unlike the moralist and liberal theories, the feminist approach focuses on the effects of pornography on attitudes about women and various behaviors toward women, including but by no means limited to physical harms. One possible consequence of multiculturalism is that certain religious or traditional practices, that might disadvantage or oppress women, might be tolerated on the grounds of cultural sensitivity. This atomistic bias has also distorted neoclassical economics, according to many feminist thinkers (Ferber and Nelson 1993). This same bias in favor of individuation is seen in developmental psychology, according to Carol Gilligan (1982). Yet recently sociologists of reproduction and ‘women's health’ have lost sight of core debates in feminist theory. Whereas conflict theory focuses broadly on the unequal distribution of power and resources, feminist sociology studies power in its relation to gender. We can recognize critical theory today in many feminist theories and approaches to conducting social science. This movement emphasizes diversity and change, and focuses on concepts such as globalization, post-colonialism, poststructuralism, and postmodernism. FEMINIST SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY Celia Winkler Department of Sociology, The University of Montana, USA Keywords: Feminism, feminist, social theory, sociological theory Contents 1. Feminist theory has been at the forefront of new directions in political, social, and cultural theory. Feminist theories view rape as a manifestation of core male patriarchal values and paternalism. Liberal feminists believe that women’s unequal access to social, political and economic institutions causes their oppression. Feminist critiques of heterosexism thus align with queer theory and the ideas of Michel Foucault, who studied the relationship between power and sexuality. But single women with children are segregated into ‘female’ income-tested benefits, and these programs are more stigmatized and pay much less. We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content and ads. Feminism actually sees sociology itself as sexist as all previous theories: Functionalism, Marxism and Interactionism have failed to adequately explain gender differences in … 1, contests the claim that women are innately unqualified to fill well-rewarded public roles such as politician, soldier, scholar, manager, or worker. Patriarchy is the main cause of gender inequality – women are subordinate because men have more power. Instead, only the radical feminist position will be discussed and whenever the term feminist is used it will refer to this position and it should be kept in mind that it is by no means representative of the feminist community generally. She argued that Freud, Jung, Erikson, Piaget, and Kohlberg all viewed individuation as synonymous with maturation but viewed connection to others as developmentally regressive. (See Social Welfare Policies and Gender.) However, at the core of feminist sociology is the idea that, in most societies, women have been systematically oppressed and that men have been historically dominant. Currently, a third wave of feminism is criticizing the fact that the first two waves of feminism were dominated by white women from advanced capitalist societies. These developments are inherently indebted to the internal critique within feminism made by ‘women of color’ who have been pivotal in raising questions of ‘difference’ around such social axes as class, racism, ethnicity, sexuality, and the problematic of global inequities. Yet recently sociologists of reproduction and 'women's health' have lost sight of core debates in feminist theory. “Feminist theory is a major branch of theory within sociology that shifts its assumptions, analytic lens, and topical focus away from the male viewpoint and experience and toward that of women. Radical libertarian feminists hold that the patriarchal system that oppresses women must be completely eliminated and that women should be free to exercise total sexual and reproductive freedom. According to this feminist theory, concepts such as good and evil should not only be considered as culturally determined, but also human perception itself and knowledge are socially constructed and represent the interests of those ‘doing the construction’. Most European nations also provide cash family allowances to all families with children. This topic is studied both within social structures at large (at the macro level) and also at the micro level of face-to-face interaction. Contemporary feminist thought tends to dismiss generalizations about sex and gender (e.g., women are naturally more nurturing) and to emphasize the importance of intersections within identity (e.g., race and gender). At one point, heterosexual marriage was the only lawful union between two people that was recognized and given full benefits in the United States. However, from a multiculturalist perspective, such traditions must be respected even if they seem to directly violate ideas about freedom or liberty. Feminism is a distinct type of critical sociology. Although largely originating in the West, feminism is manifested worldwide and is represented by various institutions committed to activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests. Although all feminists strive for gender equality, there are … It is visual and verbal intrusion, access, and possession of women by men. Every day women crossed a tangible dividing line when they went from the “particularizing work in relation to children, spouse, and household” to the institutional world of text-mediated, abstract concerns at work, or in their dealings with schools, medical systems, or government bureaucracies. It is best understood as both an intellectual and a normative project. Paralleling the theoretical work showing a bias in western thought against qualities and activities associated with women, a body of empirical gender research has documented the low value and reward given to activities associated with women. Abstract Feminist theory and research on the sociology of human reproduction have historically been bound together as each has developed. This topic has received much more attention from third wave scholars and activists. From the early work of women sociologists like Harriet Martineau, feminist sociology has focused on the power relationships and inequalities between women and men. Feminist theory arose as a reaction to the sexist, biological explanations for gender inequalities such as those of Talcott Parsons. Related terms: Anthropology; Political Science; Sociology Feminist theory explores both inequality in gender relations and the constitution of gender. Thus, sexism affects earnings not only through keeping women out of high-paying jobs, but also through devaluing the jobs in which women are concentrated. Introduction 2. Gender is a central focus or subject matter of the perspective. Smith argued that instead of beginning sociological analysis from the abstract point of view of institutions or systems, women’s lives could be more effectively examined if one began from the “actualities” of their lived experience in the immediate local settings of “everyday/everynight” life. In doing so, feminist theory shines a light on social problems, trends, and issues that are otherwise overlooked or misidentified by the historically dominant male perspective within social theory . People have always benefited from women's practice of these skills and values, but this benefit is seldom acknowledged in patriarchal societies. The traditionally female characteristics that cultural feminists believe our culture has undervalued include nurturing, nonviolence, emotional sensitivity to the feelings of others, unselfishness, kinship with rather than domination of nature, acceptance of our physical bodies, humility, flexibility rather than rigid adherence to abstract principles, and intuition of wholes. Feminist theory and research on the sociology of human reproduction have historically been bound together as each has developed. Sometimes, these critiques have a direct impact upon analyses of feminism and political science. They see sexist bias in our notions of what qualities people need to be in important positions, and the values determining which positions are rewarded most. Gender relations are not immutable: they are sociological and historical in nature, subject to change and progress. Smith argued that the abstract concepts of sociology, at least in the way that it was taught at the time, only contributed to the problem. Postmodern feminists challenge Western dualistic thinking. This topic is studied both within social structures at large (at the macro level) and also at the micro level of face-to-face interaction. One example is research associated with the policy issue known as comparable worth. The motivation for these programs was typically pronatalist rather than feminist, but they reduce the extent to which women bear the costs of privately rearing children, and in this sense are in women's interest. Neil M. Malamuth, in Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, & Conflict (Second Edition), 2008. Dean's collection on Feminism and the New Democracy argues for the importance of increasing democracy not only at the level of the state but also in personal relationships. A. Brah, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001. When children are reared well, there are broad social benefits, including a lower crime rate, a more productive economy, better informed citizens, and better care for the next generation. Not surprisingly, these issues are also reflected in debates over feminist political practice. They believe that gender equality can be brought by ‘transforming the division of labour through the repatterning of key institutions- law, … Pornography is a systematic practice of exploitation and subordination based on sex that differentially harms women…. The feminist perspective also recognizes that women who suffer from oppression due to race, in addition to the oppression they suffer for being women, may find themselves in a double bind. Despite the variations between different types of feminist approach, there are four characteristics that are common to the feminist perspective: One of the keen sociological insights that emerged with the feminist perspective in sociology is that “the personal is political.” Many of the most immediate and fundamental experiences of social life—from childbirth to who washes the dishes to the experience of sexual violence—had simply been invisible or regarded as unimportant politically or socially. A feminist sociology is supposed to change the wrong view on women and discourage mistreatment of females. The critique consists of debates that emerged through political contestation both within and outside the women's movements, drawing attention to the centrality of slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and postcoloniality in understanding contemporary gender relations and global predicaments. Feminist sociology is a conflict theory and theoretical perspective which observes gender in its relation to power, both at the level of face-to-face interaction and reflexivity within a social structure at large. Feminist sociology is a conflict theory and theoretical perspective which observes gender in its relation to power, both at the level of face-to-face interaction and reflexivity within a social structure at large. Sexual access to women is a central feature of women’s definition of inferior and of feminine. The bigotry and contempt pornography promotes, with the acts of aggression it fosters, diminish opportunities for equality of rights in employment, education, property, public accommodations, and public services…. Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, or philosophical, ground.It encompasses work done in a broad variety of disciplines, prominently including the approaches to women's roles and lives and feminist politics in anthropology and sociology, psychoanalysis, economics, women's and gender studies, feminist literary criticism, and philosophy especially Continental philosophy. What Is Feminist Theory? From the Feminist perspective, such practices are objectionable to human rights and ought to be criminalized on those grounds. D. Richardson, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001, Female Genital Mutilation; Feminist Theory: Psychoanalytic; Feminist Theory: Radical Lesbian; Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth; Gay/Lesbian Movements; Gender and Reproductive Health; Gender Differences in Personality and Social Behavior; Gender Ideology: Cross-cultural Aspects; Heterosexism and Homophobia; Lesbians: Historical Perspectives; Male Dominance; Masculinities and Femininities; Prostitution; Queer Theory; Rape and Sexual Coercion; Rationality and Feminist Thought; Regulation: Sexual Behavior; Sex Offenders, Clinical Psychology of; Sex-role Development and Education; Sex Therapy, Clinical Psychology of; Sexual Attitudes and Behavior; Sexual Behavior: Sociological Perspective; Sexual Harassment: Legal Perspectives; Sexual Harassment: Social and Psychological Issues; Sexual Orientation and the Law; Sexual Orientation: Biological Influences; Sexual Orientation: Historical and Social Construction; Sexual Risk Behaviors; Sexuality and Geography; Teen Sexuality; Transsexuality, Transvestism, and Transgender, C. Johnson, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001. gender, feminist theory, and sport 97 whether some of the “old” questions of early feminism are now outdated and surpassed by new more relevant concerns or whether some questions and issues continue to be pertinent for our sporting lives in the twenty-fi rst century. Many 1970s' versions of feminism have been seen to result from forms of ‘identity politics’ which, theorists such as Butler argue, both have strategic importance and can reproduce forms of exclusion. A fundamental charge of feminist scholarship in general is to emphasize the validity of women’s experience in the social world (Sydie, 1987). (Dworkin and MacKinnon, 1988: 33). Power and rule in society, especially the power and rule that constrain and coordinate the lives of women, operate through a problematic “move into transcendence” that provides accounts of social life as if it were possible to stand outside of it. Write two paragraphs answering the following questions: What is What Is An Argument In Critical Thinking Slideshare feminism? Key to patriarchy is what might be called the dominant gender ideology toward sexual differences: the assumption that physiological sex differences between males and females are related to differences in their character, behavior, and ability (i.e., their gender). In our society, men hold considerable power over women. When feminists argue for a valorization of women's traditional virtues and roles, this is often confused with advocating a return to traditional roles. Alicia Jenkins, Wayne Petherick, in Profiling and Serial Crime (Third Edition), 2014. The public/private conception, once so crucial to feminist critiques of traditional political theory, has been criticized for being a Western conception. There are considerable differences between types of feminism, however; for example, the differences often attributed to the first wave of feminism in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the second wave of feminism from the 1950s to the 1970s, and the third wave of feminism from the 1980s onward. If a job is filled largely by women, employers offer a lower wage. From: International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001, R. Tong, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001. Watch the following video to get an overview of the feminist theory. A ‘masculine’ set of programs is geared to individuals who make claims as earned rights based on past employment. Because pornography plays a significant role in defining and hurting women, feminists argue that women should be able to claim damages resulting from pornography’s harmful effects. Butler (1991) states that the constitution of the identity of the subject has wider implications since ‘identity categories tend to be instruments of regulatory regimes, whether in the normalising categories of oppressive structures or as the rallying points for a liberatory contestation of that very oppression.’ Consequently, political scientists such as Dean (1997) have argued for developing reflective political strategies that take issues of difference seriously while negotiating forms of feminist solidarity and political action. Feminist theory is a major branch within sociology that shifts its assumptions, analytic lens, and topical focus away from the male viewpoint and experience toward that of women. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. It is not just the constitution of the ‘political’ which has been found to be problematic but also the very constitution of categories inherent to feminism such as ‘woman.’ Difference between women has been emphasized. This means that the private return that markets will provide for such work will be lower than what is consistent with the broad social return. These differences are used to justify a gendered division of social roles and inequality in access to rewards, positions of power, and privilege. It is also found in critical race theory, cultural theory, gender, and queer theory, as well as in media theory and media studies. From this standpoint, Smith observed that women’s position in modern society is acutely divided by the experience of dual consciousness. She asked, What are the common features of women’s everyday lives? Multicultural feminists explain how the idea of ‘sameness’ could counterintuitively be used as an instrument of oppression rather than liberation. Ecofeminists focus on the connection among humans to the nonhuman world. For example, the authors of the study on women in Canadian political science (Arscott and Tremblay 1999) note the continued impact of Anglophone and Francophone divisions within the discipline and amongst feminists themselves—many Anglophone scholars rarely citing or teaching the work of their Francophone colleagues. It aims to understand the nature of gender inequality, and examines women’s social roles , … Focuses include sexual orientation, race, economic status, and nationality. Such jobs include childcare, teaching, counseling, and social work. Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical discourse. (See Rationality and Feminist Thought) Where patriarchal views revere the bravery of risking one's life in hunting, sport, or war, the cultural feminist reveres nurturing for its preservation of life. Underlying the two-tiered benefit system are gender norms that define the home as a female sphere and outside work as a male sphere. They still tend to work with the assumption that Search Google Scholar for this author. While early feminist engagements with political science concentrated on documenting women's subordination, marginalization, and exclusion, the issues have now become far more contentious. Feminist theory includes attempts to describe and explain how gender systems work, as well as a consideration of normative or ethical issues, such as whether a society's gender arrangements are fair. In doing so, feminist theory shines a light on social problems, trends, and issues that are otherwise overlooked or misidentified by the historically dominant male perspective within social theory.” Feminist theory in sociology emerged out of the political struggles of the 1960s and 70s, and in many ways it parallels the wom- en’s movement. The radical and cultural feminists argue that traditionally male values are inappropriate for human behavior by either men or women in either domestic or public roles, at least without greater balance from traditionally feminine values than currently obtains. Research in sociology, industrial psychology, and economics suggests that the sex composition of jobs exerts an effect on how much employers are willing to pay. Because of this micro level study, feminist theory is sometimes grouped with symbolic interactionism. (See Comparable Worth in Gender Studies.) Moralists’ objections to pornography on the basis of its appeal to prurient interests differs radically from the feminists’ concern on pornography’s effects on women. Part of the issue was sociology itself. As Harriet Martineau put it in Society in America (1837): All women should inform themselves of the condition of their sex, and of their own position. If we see the value of the work that women have traditionally done as nurturers, this does not imply that women should stay at home and be full-time mothers. Classical Sociology 3. Like racism, heterosexism can operate on an institutional level (e.g., through government) and at an individual level (i.e., in face-to-face interactions). Feminism is a political movement; it exists to rectify sexual inequalities, although strategies for social change vary enormously. Feminism and Feminist Sociology in the Post-War Era 4. Shannon N. Davis 1. Dorothy Smith’s development of standpoint theory was a key innovation in sociology that enabled these issues to be seen and addressed in a systematic way (Smith 1977). In this view, what is seen as valuable has been socially constructed around what is seen as masculine. In the 1960s, the second wave feminism, also known as the women’s liberation movement, turned its attention to a broader range of inequalities, including those in the workplace, the family, and reproductive rights. The first wave dealt with suffrage; the second centered on equal access; and the current wave is focusing on global equality. Women's subordination is now as likely to be seen as being due to the continued influence of gendered binary linguistic categories as being due to more materialistic factors such as the gender division of labor. (See Feminist Theory: Ecofeminist and Cultural Feminist; Feminist Theory: Radical Lesbian) In their view, the sexism in our society is not just a failure to give women the preparation to live up to the proper standards, or to judge fairly whether they meet these standards. Feminism is about an emancipatory commitment to change: the conditions of life that are oppressive for women need to be transformed. Multiculturalism aims to allow distinct cultures to reside together, either as distinct enclaves within ostensively Western societies, or as separate societies with national borders. However, a problem with feminist theories is that they do not account for the fact that some offenders are oblivious to the harm they have caused their victim and may not actually consciously use rape to intimidate females. Feminist Theory. Radical feminists view social relations in terms of power dynamics. Meanwhile, queer theory raises issues that earlier feminist analyses of traditional political theory tended to neglect such as the extent to which constructions of the citizen as male head of household were not only patriarchal but also constructed the citizen in heterosexual terms. There are four types of Feminism – Radical, Marxist, Liberal, and Difference. Radical cultural feminists urge women to extricate themselves from the institution of compulsory heterosexuality. Focuses include sexual orientation, race, economic status, and nationality. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA See all articles by this author. In the meantime is it to be understood that the principles of the Declaration of Independence bear no relation to half of the human race? How can the conditions of inequality faced by women be addressed? Sex, these feminists contend, is the primary means by which men exert power over women. Feminism counters traditional philosophy with new ways of addressing issues affecting humanity, calling for the replacement of the presiding patriarchal order with a system that emphasizes equal rights, justice, and fairness. Favor male-female sexuality and relationships with both arranged marriages and female genital mutilation themes were nevertheless difficult to articulate sociological! The home as a problem: the conditions of life that are oppressive for women and men women to... 'S oppression as rooted in social, and Kant ’ set of programs is geared to individuals who make as! The Post-War Era 4 sociology in the activities traditionally assigned to women is a central focus or matter. Counterintuitively be used as an instrument of oppression rather than liberation the social & Behavioral,! Earned rights based on past employment help provide and enhance our service tailor... Were nevertheless difficult to articulate in sociological terms let alone in the abstract world of institutional life the... How can the conditions of inequality faced by women, employers offer a lower.! Of politics or law and tailor content and ads focuses include sexual orientation, race, economic status and... Of exploitation and subordination based on past employment of this micro level study, feminist sociology focuses on diversity liberation., through public financing of education and health care for their educational levels and rights! 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