Sunday, June 21, 2009

Feminist Theory

I was not aware that there were so many different kinds of feminism. I think liberal feminism is the most persuasive because it talks about how women are unequal in society, which I completely agree with. It also talks about obtaining sexual equality for women, and I agree with this as well. I think that women ‘should’ have equality when it comes to men. I think women should especially have equality when it comes to their image in the media.

I think that the different types of feminism perpetuate or challenge myths about feminism in many different ways. The different types of feminism perpetuate myths about feminism because some of these feminist beliefs such as Marxist feminism and Radical feminism talk all about how women are treated unfairly and are oppressed, which basically makes it seem like a complaint, which perpetuates the myth that feminism is essentially just a bunch of women whining about issues, etc. However feminist beliefs such as Liberal Feminism challenges these feminist myths because it provides reasoning and understanding as to why women are treated unequally and provides solutions such as education, equal economic access, and power in order to correct this inequality.

Feminist research is different from more traditional forms of research because when feminists approach research they hope that the world will be a better place and they study different writings from women’s experiences, and they place themselves in the role of the person being researched. They also use a standpoint theory to obtain privilege over the character of gender relations.

I think that there definitely ‘is’ a such thing as a feminist method. I think that by viewing other women’s experiences and collecting historical data about women and the issues that they faced in the past, there definitely is a method for changing equality for women in the present and future.

1 comment:

  1. I would say that all the types of feminism talk about women being unfairly treated or oppressed. It's not necessarily that Marxist or radical feminists are complaining so much as most people have a tendency to have a difficult time figuring out how their analysis and strategy would be operationalized in real life. Many people might agree, for instance, that men dominate women systemically through patriarchy or that capitalism works to devalue women, but it's hard to imagine how to change the SYSTEMS to address the root causes that Marxists and radical feminists identify. Liberal feminism is easier for many people to understand because it doesn't advocate changing the SYSTEM, but rather working through it. Other feminists, however, challenge that by saying it's not enough. The debate will no doubt continue!

    One more point on the feminist method issue - Harding would say there is no such thing as a feminist "method." The reason she says that has to do entirely with the definition of "method." What you describe, for example, about viewing other women's experiences is really more an epistemological position. You're saying that women's personal experience is valuable, and that it can contribute to knowledge. Epistemology is a theory of knowledge - it determines what "counts" as knowledge, or as stuff worth knowing. Method, on the other hand, is just a way of gathering data. Methods can be experiments, historical or archival analysis, surveys, interviews, ethnographies or participant oberservation, etc. ANYONE can use those methods - feminists or not. So what you're really saying is yes, there is such a thing as feminist EPISTEMOLOGY (valuing women as research subjects and sources of knowledge), but a feminist researcher can do an experiment just as easily as a patriarchal psychologist could. There ARE feminist epistemologies and methodologies; there are NOT feminist methods. I hope that makes sense!