Free Essays

Do critical approaches Marxism, feminism, constructivism improve our understanding of international politics?


In the contemporary era, the application of critical theoretical approaches is of significant importance if one is willing to develop a more comprehensive understanding of international politics and international relations. Theoretical approaches, such as Marxism, Constructivism and Feminism cannot alone provide such an understanding, but their convergence and can significantly contribute to our increased awareness of global inequalities and the dimensions in which they occur by placing emphasis in not only on the relationship between the structure and agency, but also question their very nature and scrutinised the normative codes which guide human agency. Despite some of the limitations which the theories have, their complementary use can be used successfully in order to gain a more critical perspective on the nature of world governance.


In the contemporary era, the application of critical theoretical approaches is of significant importance if one is willing to develop a more comprehensive understanding of international politics and international relations. As this essay will demonstrate, although approaches such as Marxism, Constructivism and Feminism cannot alone provide such an understanding, their complementary use can significantly contribute to our increased awareness of global inequalities and the dimensions in which they occur.


The impact of Marxist theory on the development of critical theorising in international politics is one the significance of which can hardly be denied. Despite this, Marxist theorist have often been accused of not taking into account factors such as nationalism, as well as the balance of power among states in order to sustain and structure world politics (Linklater, 2013). Moreover, Marxist theories in the late 1970s and early 1980s found it increasingly difficult to devise an analytical framework for explaining the relationship of nation-states and violence in period of increased globalisation, characterised by increased national fragmentation, as well the resurgence of violent conflicts based on ethnicity (Giddens, 1985). This can the attributed to the inability of traditional Marxist thought to move beyond theorising about the significance of class conflict and the importance of social relations in terms of modes of production. Despite this flaw, more contemporary neo-Marxist theorists have attempted to revitalise this critical approach by placing emphasis on the relationships between states, markets and the capitalist world economy in the era of globalisation (Teschke, 2003; Halliday, 1994; Rosenberg, 1994; Gamble, 1999). The application of Marxist thought has increasingly drawn attention to the problem of global inequality which the capitalist system has led to (Wallerstein, 1979; Thomas, 1999; Linklater, 2013). Thus, the importance of modes of production have successfully been utilised in order to challenge the economic discrepancy, which is characteristic of contemporary world markets and question the power relationships which exist between states on the international level. Being mainly preoccupied with material deprivation and inequality, however, Marxism has failed to take into account the norms and values which governance the structures of economics and politics, a question which has preoccupied constructivist theories of international relations.


By contrast to Marxism, Constructivism places emphasis not only on the importance of material structures, but as well as the normative dimension which is associated with it, as well the importance of identity formation and manifestation (Price and Reus-Smit, 1998). Thus, constructivism attempts to remedy the Marxist’s neglect of the importance of agency and its relationship to structure in the process of devising and implementing decisions related to international politics and relations among states in the era of globalisation (Reus-Smit, 2008).Therefore, Constructivism is complimentary to both more traditional approaches of theorising about international politics, such as Rationalism, as well as more critical approaches such as Marxism (Reus-Smit, 2013). More importantly, the significance of human agency is not deprived from the structure which determines the manifestation of the actor’s interests; in fact it calls for the critical evaluation of the institutionalised norms which are the mediator between structure and agency. This can be of considerable advantage of understanding the contemporary global inequalities which exists, between countries from the Third World and post-industrialist Western states, as it will question not only the existing states of affairs in international politics, but also the moral dimensions of the reasoning behind it. By placing emphasis on the development of normative frameworks which are used as guides and rationale for the implementation of specific decisions in relation to international politics, Constructivism can successfully scrutinise and ‘moralise’ the power inequality among states and if used alongside neo-Marxist theories it can question both structure and agency. What both fail to take into account, however, is that agency in the era of global inequality also has a specific dimension, a problem which is addressed by Feminism.


By contrast to both Marxism and Constructivism, feminist theories of international politics and international relations took prominence only in the early 1990s, though their impact for the development of the academic disciplines has been considerable (True, 2003). Feminism as an intellectual tradition questioned the very nature of the agency which had an impact on the development of international politics and introduced in the notion of ‘gender’ as an empirical category and analytical tool through which global inequality and unequal power distribution could be understood (True, 2013). Thus, Feminism, alongside Constructivism could be considered as a major breakthrough as both of them questioned the more traditional discourse of power relations and moved beyond the singular focus on inter-state relations that characterised more traditional theories in the field of International Relations (ibid.). Feminist thought has attracted attention to the specific dimensions of global inequality, resulting from the transformation of economic world markets. In fact, it has been suggested that the process of globalisation has increased the inequality between men and women worldwide, ultimately resulting in a ‘feminisation of poverty’ (Chant, 2007; Chant, 2008). The increased emphasis on export and outsourcing reflecting the priorities of the global financial markets, have disproportionately affected women (Marchand and Runyan 2010). This rise in inequality and insecurity is also linked to the development of violent conflicts in states where inequality between genders is high (Goldstein, 2003). On the other hand, gender equality in states is said to reduce the likelihood of the use of violence in intra-state disputes (Caprioli, 2005; Caprioli and Boyer, 2001). Therefore, it could be argued that the use of more critical perspectives in theorising about international politics could significantly contribute to our understanding of global politics and could potentially results in less violent conflicts in the future if emphasis is placed on the reduction of global inequality and its gendered dimension.


As this essay has demonstrated, the critical theories of Marxism, Constructivism and Feminism could further our understanding of the nature of global inequalities by placing emphasis in not only on the relationship between the structure and agency, but also question their very nature and scrutinised the normative codes which guide human agency. Despite some of the limitations which these theories have, their complementary use can be used successfully in order to gain a more critical perspective on the nature of world governance.


Caprioli, M. (2005). Primed for violence: The role of gender inequality in predicting internal conflict. International Studies Quarterly, 49(2), 161-178.
Caprioli, M., & Boyer, M. A. (2001). Gender, violence, and international crisis. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 45(4), 503-518.
Chant, S. H. (2007). Gender, generation and poverty: exploring the feminisation of poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Chant, S. (2008). The ‘feminisation of poverty’and the ‘feminisation’of anti-poverty programmes: Room for revision?. The Journal of Development Studies, 44(2), 165-197.
Gamble, A. (1999). Marxism after communism: beyond realism and historicism. Review of International Studies, 25(5), 127-144.
Giddens, A. (1985). The nation-state and violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Goldstein, J. S. (2003). War and gender: How gender shapes the war system and vice versa. Cambridge University Press.
Halliday, F. (1994). Rethinking international relations. Palgrave Macmillan.
Linklater, A. (2013) ‘Marxism’, ’ in Burchill, S., Linklater, A., Devetak, R., Donnelly, J., Paterson, M. Reus-Smit, C. and True, J., Theories of international relations (Fifth edition.). Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Marchand, M. H., & Runyan, A. S. (Eds.). (2010). Gender and Global Restructuring: sightings, sites and resistances. Routledge.
Price, R., & Reus-Smit, C. (1998). Dangerous liaisonsCritical international theory and constructivism. European Journal of International Relations, 4(3), 259-294.
Reus-Smit, C. (2008). Reading history through constructivist eyes. Millennium-Journal of International Studies, 37(2), 395-414.
Reus-Smit, C. (2013).’ Constructivism’(pp. 217-240), ’ in Burchill, S., Linklater, A., Devetak, R., Donnelly, J., Paterson, M. Reus-Smit, C. and True, J., Theories of international relations (Fifth edition.). Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rosenberg, J. (1994). The empire of civil society (p. 141). London: Verso.
Teschke, B. (2003). The myth of 1648: class, geopolitics, and the making of modern international relations. Verso.
Thomas, C. (1999). Where is the Third World now?. Review of International Studies, 25(5), 225-244.
True, J. (2003). Mainstreaming gender in global public policy. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 5(3), 368-396.
True, J. (2013). ‘Feminism’, in Burchill, S., Linklater, A., Devetak, R., Donnelly, J., Paterson, M. Reus Smit, C. and True, J., Theories of international relations (Fifth edition.). Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wallerstein, I. (Ed.). (1979). The capitalist world-economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Free Essays

Feminism in Pop Culture

Many myths and misconceptions float around the term ‘Feminism’. It is a movement that is frequently projected as being violent, aggressive, and full of ‘bra burning’ extremists. The word alone often evokes reactions among people that are negative, uncomplimentary and stereotypical. The disturbing of the patriarchal paradigm was a phenomenon that became prominent only in the Twentieth Century. Historically speaking women have always numerically outnumbered men, but through the system of patriarchy they have been suppressed by political, economic and social machinery.

The difference between Gender and Sex When trying to examine feminism we must keep in mind the subtle difference between ‘gender’ and ‘sex’. For example, if a man were to dress or behave like a woman, it would not change the fact that he is still biologically a man, and here is where the difference lies. When we use the term ‘gender’, we are referring to a social construct, a store knowledge that has developed over generations that helps us in our identification of a person as a man or a woman. A person’s sex on the other hand is purely biological.

A primary argument of feminist theory is that arbitrary allocations such as this that are constructs of society are completely devoid of any genuine value. Thus the duty of feminism, in one sense, involves the subversion of existing patriarchal paradigms by questioning phallocentric, or penis-centred, sources of power. Patriarchy and the Woman The term ‘Patriarchy’ itself can be broadly defined as an ideological system of belief that privileges males over females. This is a complex system that employs androcentric values, rituals and practices in order to maintain status quo.

Another means of control involves patriarchy passing itself off as the so-called ‘norm’ or the ‘right’ way in which a society must divide itself, and regards the Female as a departure from this ‘norm’ and treats her as ‘the other’, a notion that only reinforces the sharp cleavage between the two sexes. As a result of this treatment, the decisions of a society are based on whatever the man decides, whereas everything else is lumped together as ‘the other’, the Female. It is however ironic that patriarchy itself requires the co-operation of the Female in order to subjugate her, making her a willing participant in her own suppression.

As the French feminist Simone de Beauvoir put it so aptly in her seminal book, ‘The Second Sex’, published in 1949, ‘One is not born, but rather becomes a woman. ’, a statement that raises our consciousness to the disparity between the male ‘norm’ and the female ‘other’. It was indeed French Feminism that first brought to light the fact that all western languages are irredeemably male-engendered, male constituted and male-dominated. Discourse itself is phallocentric as seen in its vocabulary, syntax, rules of logic and its tendency for classification and opposition as well as the need for objective knowledge.

Definitions of Feminist Literary Criticism There are multiple definitions that can be applied to Feminist Literary criticism. It differs from other schools of critical theory in that it does not derive its literary principles from a single authoritative figure or from a body of sacred texts. This is quite unlike other approaches such as Psychoanalysis, Marxism or Deconstruction, which can all be attributed to their primary exponents, Freud, Marx and Derrida respectively.

Feminist theory has evolved from several sources, with several feminist thinkers contributing to the canon. Moreover, critical theory used in readings of Woman’s literature borrows from other disciplines such as History, Anthropology, Linguistics, Psychoanalysis and Marxism. It was a form of criticism created by literary and academic women who participated in the women’s liberation movement in the late 1960s. Kate Millet’s book, ‘Sexual Politics’ (1870) was the first major treatise on feminist criticism, and also represented a strong political argument for women’s rights.

The Dictionary of Concepts in Literary Criticism and Theory defines Feminist Criticism as ‘The understanding and analysis of and response to literary works, and/or language and/or the institution of literary study or theory from the point of view of women’s experience. ’ “Feminist Criticism”, says Elaine Showalter, in her book ‘New Feminist Criticism’, “has established gender as a fundamental category of literary analysis. ” Her article, ‘Dancing through the Minefield’ has also made some observations on the politics and practice of feminist criticism.

She also points out that the earlier groups of feminist critics were preoccupied with the gender bias in writing, whereas the later group of gynocritics studied women as writers. Another columnist, Annette Kolodny, defines feminist criticism as “An acute and impassioned attentiveness to the ways in which primarily male structures of power are encoded within our literary inheritance, and the consequences of that encoding for women… not only for a better understanding of the past but also for an improved recording of the present and the future.

This form of criticism, as a self-aware and concerted approach to literature came into being in the late 1960s, as a part of the international woman’s movement. One of the first areas it looked into and challenged was literature, where it was always assumed that the representative reader, writer and critic were all male. The historical background and watershed marks in Feminist Criticism Behind the movement in the 1960s, however, lay two centuries of struggle, represented only by a few texts such as Mary Wollstonecraft’s ‘The vindication of the Rights of Women’ (1792).

A later book, this time by John Stuart Mill, ‘The Subjection of Women’ (1869) was also brought to the fore. It suggested that the Wife was a family’s source of sustenance, and therefore the empowerment of the generations could be achieved only by empowering The Woman. The next seminal work in Feminist Criticism was penned by Virginia Woolf in 1929. Called ‘A Room of One’s Own’, the book talked about the major directions in which feminist explorations of literature needed to develop.

The book is rich with insights about the absence of women writers and readers, and the probable fate to which the hypothetical ‘Sister of Shakespeare’, blessed with equal or greater genius, would have been consigned to thanks to socio-cultural obstacles of the age. In it, Woolf’s contention is that ‘A woman must have money and a room (referring to space, privilege and opportunity) of her own if she is to write [fiction]. ” Other significant books include Toril Moi’s ‘Sexual/Textual Politics’ (1985) and Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s ‘No Mans Land: The Place of the Woman Writer in the 20th Century’.

These texts introduced the principles of feminist literary theory to the world. Their purpose was to offer feminist readings of texts that looked at the images and the stereotypes of women in literature as well as the omissions and misconceptions about women in criticism and ‘women-as-sign’ in semiotic systems. This kind of criticism concerns itself with developing a specifically female framework for dealing with works written by women, in all aspects of their production, including analysis and interpretation in ll literary forms and expressions, including journalism and popular culture, like Patricia Mayers-Spack’s ‘The Female Imagination’, Ellen Moer’s ‘Literary Women’, Elaine Showalter’s ‘A Literature of their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing’, or Gilbert and Gubar’s ‘The Mad Woman in the Attic’, a reference to Bertha Mason, who is ‘usually in some sense the author’s double, (the other) an image of her own anxiety and rage. ’ Through the women’ liberation movement, literary criticism drew a connection between the lived lives of thousands of women who studied and taught literature.

An important area of research was the limited secondary roles of fictional heroines and other feminine stereotypes in canonical literature. The Role of Feminist Criticism Feminist criticism, developing in tandem with the women’s liberation movement brought in a dual perspective that brought about a reappraisal of texts, looked at the construction of gender through language and the gendering of text, and examined the representation of women in literature and the exclusion of women as fictional characters, authors and readers.

As far as literature is concerned, the role of Feminist criticism was to look at canonical literary works and the manner in which they represent women as stereotypes, and to develop theories for sexual differences in reading, writing and literary interpretation. It brings to the fore and establishes ‘gender’ as a fundamental category of literary analysis, and takes into account the fact that the vast majority of what is conceded to be the ‘literary canon’ is by and large authored by men, based on masculine norms and values, and women’s writing therefore is either excluded or undervalued in canonical literature, criticism and theory.

Feminist critics also look at the representation of female experiences in literature. They reason that because a major aspect of literature is the reporting of our biological sense experiences, it would be impossible for the male to authentically capture an entirely feminine experience such as menstruation or childbirth. Feminist criticism also bases itself on two other primary assumptions: That gender is constructed through language (by way of political incorrect words and phrases such as ‘chairman’, ‘male nurse’ or ‘actor and actress’), and that writing strategies are sex-related and therefore misogynistic.

Feminist criticism also shows that women readers, critics and writers bring different perceptions and expectations to their literary experiences, and insist that women have important stories to tell of their own culture. This kind of criticism opened space that now extended beyond the study of only women writers and now included the reappraisal of all literature that makes up our heritage. Feminist critics look at literary representation of sexual differences, and how literature shapes masculine and feminine values, privileging one set over another.

The aim of feminist criticism therefore becomes to re-examine male texts, emphasize writing by women by charting a new literary history that includes neglected texts, a female tradition created by a sub-community of women writers who found support from their literary foremothers and so become role models for younger female writers. They also look at the oral tradition and other extra-literary expressions. Another aim involves the creation of new reading and writing collectives, libraries, publishing houses, social centres, colleges and so on.

Feminist criticism confronts the problem of the feminist reader by offering new methods and fresh critical evaluation of issues, such as the mother-daughter cultural and relational aspect. Another major concern of Gynocritics is to identify what is taken to be distinctly feminine subject matter in literature written by women, the idea of sisterhood and female bonding, domesticity, gestation, birth, motherhood, mother-daughter or woman-woman relationships, etc.

They also undertake to show that there is a distinctive feminine mode of experience or subjectivity in thinking, feeling, valuing and perceiving the self and others. French Feminism Related to this is the specification of the traits of women’s language and its distinctive style of speech and writing. Women must write in a way in which they can avoid the pitfalls of phallocentric language mentioned earlier, in a style represented by the term ‘ecriture feminine’ or writing in the feminine, a concept that was a product of French feminism.

Helene Cixous, its main exponent, credited with authoring its manifesto, ‘The Laugh of Medusa’ (1975), stated that ecriture feminine is to be found in metaphors of female sexuality and women’s libidinal differences. Another critic, Luce Irigary, talks about women’s writing and its evasion of the male monopoly by replacing the monolithic phallus by the diversity, fluidity and multiple possibilities represented by female sexuality. These critics believe that women must try to resurrect the ‘feminine-feminine’ which possibly lies in the unconscious of all women.

Julia Kristeva speaks of a pre-natal, pre-linguistic, pre-oedipal and unsystematic signifying language between the mother and the infant centred on the mother that she labels as semiotic and abstract, as opposed to the symbolic or letter based language of the father. Semiotic writing disrupts phallocentric writing because it is free from oppressive order and rationality. Both men and women can write in this mode, which deconstructs masculine structures of knowledge and attacks patriarchy and its language. The overall aim of ecriture feminine is therefore to allow a woman to write of, from and about their bodies.

French feminist theory has contributed significantly to feminist literary criticism by studying the relationship between women, psychology and language. Currently feminist criticism employs a wide range of approaches and addresses a variety of issues of feminist interest. This is called ‘Playful Pluralism’. The oft-asserted goal of feminist critics has been to enlarge and re-order, or in some cases entirely displace the (patriarchal) literary canon. Feminist studies have served to raise the stakes of many female authors who were erstwhile neglected or even overlooked.

Free Essays

The Wife of Bath: a Symbol of Antifeminism

The Wife of Bath: A Symbol of Antifeminism Evelyn Cunningham, feminist advocate and journalist states, “Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their oppressors”, this quote was said by Evelyn Cunningham a feminist advocate and journalist. This quote still holds true not only in today’s society but in literature are well. It is no secret that women in literature are seen as less than equal to men. This is especially true about The Wife of Bath of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.

The Canterbury Tales tells the story of a group of people making a pilgrimage and tell stories to pass the time. The characters in The Canterbury Tales comment on society through the tales they tell. One of those characters is The Wife of Bath whose extended prologue is a fictional autobiography. The Wife of Bath’s prologue and tale display Chaucer’s antifeminist idea to society; Chaucer, the author behind The Wife, uses her to demean women sexually, mentally, and socially.

Chaucer writes The Wife of Bath to have no boundaries when talking about sex, and in the middle ages this was very much frowned upon. The Wife’s sexual forwardness can be seen in the prologue, Chaucer writes, “‘Experience, though noon auctoritee / Were in this world, were right y-nough to me / To speke of wo that is in marriage”(). The “experience” she is referring to is of course sex. Chaucer has her boasting about how much sexual experience she has. How much sexual experience one has is highly inappropriate for a woman of any time era to boast about.

By showing off how experienced she is in the bedroom, Chaucer makes the Wife of Bath sexually objectify herself. Thus, Chaucer is making the statement that women should only be seen as sexual objects and should be placed submissively to men, and thus demeans the female race in a sexual manner. Chaucer has the Wife misquote the Bible in her prologue. During the middle ages the Bible was not translated so it was not widely known. The fact that Chaucer has The Wife misquote the Bible is making women into a joke because there is no way she would even have this information. Makes her look stupid and single minded. Trying to come up with arguments why its ok to have sex and marry multiple times. Twists it around to defend herself. Quotes half verses, distorts what little she knows. However, Chaucer writes so that The Wife of Bath completely misinterprets the Bible and therefore is humiliating women in a mental way; for instance, Chaucer writes, But this word is nat take of every wight, / But ther as God list give it of his might. I woot wel, that thapostel was a mayde; / But natheless, thogh that he wroot and sayde, / He wolde that every wight were swich as he, / Al nis but conseil to virginitee Because The Wife is publically announcing her misconception of the Bible it shows that Chaucer considered women to be mentally below men and shows that he used The Wife of Bath to spread his antifeminist ideas to society. Chaucer uses The Wife of Bath to show women in a promiscuous light. In her prologue, The Wife of Bath says that she has been married five times and hopes to be married a sixth; for example, general prologue promiscuous quote.

Wants to get married again for sex not companionship Chaucer wirtes, “For, lordinges, sith I twelf yeer was of age, / Thonked be God that is eterne on lyve, / Housbondes at chirche-dore I have had fyve;” The Wife of Bath does not marry for love, she marries so she can have sex. This can be seen as promiscuous behavior because she is casually marrying to casually have sex. Chaucer uses the Wife of Bath to socially demean women because he makes The Wife of Bath take part in promiscuous behavior.

Throughout literature and history women have constantly been seen as less equal to the male race. This is evident in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer uses The Wife of Bath as a symbol for the female race and through his story he displays his antifeminist views sexually, mentally and socially. “Whether women are better than men I cannot say – but I can say they are certainly no worse”, this quotes should be kept in mind while reading The Canterbury Tales because Cahucer imposes his antifeminist views on his readers.

Talks about husbands as being in control of them and brags about her faults of stereotype of women. Accused husbands of cheating when it was really me. Spent all their money. Fourth husband cheated on him. Fifth husband younger. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. “ “ lines 4-6 [ 2 ]. Golda Meir –feminist activist

Free Essays

Feminism in Education: Gender Equality

Prior to 1870 education was not formally recognised and only available to the elite few who could afford to educate their children privately or at private schools. The poorer people of society would have to rely on the education of the church and its moral teachings rather than academic teachings. Although the 1870 Forster Act was to bring education to all children between 5-10 years old, it was not welcomed by everyone. Some thought it would lead to the masses ‘thinking’ for themselves and see their roles in society as unfair, causing them to revolt.

Others such as the church were funded by the state with public money to provide education for the poor and these churches did not want to lose that influence on youth. Although this gave children a few years of formal education , still only the richer children had the opportunity to further their education until they were 18/19 years old, thus education still being based on social class until the 1944. The 1944 Butler Education Act saw the introduction of a three stage structure that is still in place today and gave all pupils an equal chance to develop through education.

It introduced primary education, up to the age of 11, Secondary education, from 11 to 15, and further education which was non- compulsory after the school leaving age. One of the ground-breaking results of the Act was to educate and mobilise women and the working class. It opened secondary school to girls, and the working class, and as a result, a far higher percentage attended higher education after secondary school. This newly found education increased working class awareness of their disadvantaged social position and created a bitter class division between the working and middle class.

The most present act of education is the New Labour. The Labour government famous with its motto, “Education, Education, Education” focused their campaign on a better education system but kept many old policies such as consumer choice league tables and competition. They mainly focus on market choice and value for money in today’s education. Education, since is formal existence, has always seen a gender divide in the achievement of young people and there is many studies that link gender to education and achievement.

Feminists analyse the school curriculum from a gendered perspective. Feminist argue that education plays a major role in promoting gender inequalities in society through classroom interactions, labeling and school curriculum. They highlight the existence of a gendered curriculum within schools. Since the 1944 Butler Act they have been concerned with the discrimination of girls and the difference in exam results between boys and girls The different branches within feminism offer different degrees on how this is.

Liberal Feminists see that sex discrimination should be tackled through education legislation and policies and has had some success in highlighting these inequalities through the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission. They see this as being enough to combat the problems within education due to gender but Radical and Marxist feminists feel this is only the surface of the problem and it is much deeper. Radical feminists emphasise a conflict between men and women.

They see men as in the dominant position within the education system to further their own interests and this patriarchy is their main problem. Their main goal is to eradicate patriarchal control and free women. They believe that inequality will be brought to an end when women are free from physical and emotional suppression. Marxist feminists believe that social class has its part to play in inequalities and that education is their to support the needs of the ruling class.

As the ruling class do this the womens role is therefore to support men so are the lowest rung of society within a Capitalist society. They argree with Marxist about the hidden ciricullum but they feel that both the formal and the hidden are ways of enforcing these unequal roles within education A study that supports the feminists point of view would be Sharpe (1976) ‘Just like a girl: how girls learn to be women. This study involved interviewing 249 working class girls who lived in London.

It found that many of the girls held traditional views of their role within society- motherhood , marriage and family life. Through the education system they were being set up for these roles or for jobs that were classed as womens work, ie shop assistant, office work, work with little or no promotion opportunities or job satisfaction. To support this study, Kelly (1982) also found differences with reagards to gender in the t oys that were being given to children.

Although these studies did prove there were some equality between the sexes with regards to the way they children were being educated, they really investigate more the issue of stereotyping. As it is from a feminists point of view if fails to recognise that males were also underachieving at the time of Douglas’s study. It also may be a bit dated as it was conducted again in the 1990’s with vast differences. Females were now placing much more emphasis on their career and independence.

This emphasises the way society has moved on and there is less of a role perception today. Also the data may have been subjective and open to interpretation as they used the method of interviews. As the studies do show some equality between the sexes, I think these theories may be a bit dated. When these studies were conducted boys were achieving more than girls, roles have changed in today’s society and feminists fail to recognise this or offer an explanation.

Free Essays

Tribal Feminism

Paula Gunn asserts in her work “Pushing up the Sky” that tribal life of Native Americans possess an acceptable and dominated element of matriarchy and female- dominance. But she also make it clear that “tribal feminism” present in the tribal life was different to the concept of feminism that surged the modern society since late 1960s. The cotemporary feminist movements consider the tribal society as lame centered in which women were subjugated and oppressed. She suppose that this misconception on the part of the new feminists are due to tampered literature that present a distorted image of women condition in the tribal societies. She provides examples from a specific narrative (that conveys a totally different meaning and context of a ritual ceremony and woman role in it in the tribal society) to prove her point. Let’s examine her point of view in details.

Paula Gunn Allen has juxtaposed modern feminist approaches to that of “tribal feminism” as persisted in the Native American tribes. She further implies that pre-conceived notions of the modern feminists can not be attributed to the tribal feminism and that feminism (tribal must be observed and analyzed in its contextual framework using employing the basic tenets of feminist thought. She provides reason for this as “[t]he contexts of Anglo-European and Keres Indian life differ so greatly in virtually every assumption about the nature of reality, society, ethics, female roles, and the sacred importance of seasonal change that simply telling a Keres tale within the an Anglo European narrative context creates a dizzying series of false impressions and unanswerable (perhaps even unoposable) questions.” (p. 238)

For this purpose she takes the example of marriage. According to modern feminist approach, marriage is considered as an operational tool for masculine supremacy and dominance. (p.237)  It provides justification to every masculine act of domestic oppression and subjugation of women in way or the other. But for Keres and for most of other American Tribes, it has no anti-feminist connotations. She says in this regard, “[P]aternity is not an issue among traditional Keres people; a child belongs to its mother’s clan, not in the sense that she or he is owned by the clan, but in the sense that she or he belongs within it.” (p. 238)

Modern feminist viewpoint will consider the information that the have received through different information channels. The foremost of these channels are the narratives that are written by Anglo-European writers. For example the narrative of Gunn describe Kochinennako as cause of conflict and thus maligned the woman character in the tribal society but Paula is of the view that truth is different from what a modern feminist takes from Gunn’s narrative. She asserts that from a native point of view, Kochinnenako is serving as a social tool in the narrative and “it is through her ritual agency that the orderly, harmonious, transfer of primacy between the Summer and the Winter people accomplished.”(p. 238) So she is a dominant force according to Keres viewpoint that enables the society to create harmony and balance in the tribal life.

Paula further sustains the viewpoint that a modern feminist will read a Gunn’s version of a story, will consider tribal society as patriarchal and male-centered  in which Kochinennako marries an indifferent and violent person against her will. Her will or approval is not considered necessary. So tribal society  bvdoes not take into account the feminine feelings and their ultimate right to choose. A rather radical supposition that will come out of this reading is about the abuse of power where common folk is afflicted with pathos and miseries due to Kochinennako’s “unfortunate alliance”.

Paula further illustrate that these interpretations of Gunn’s story are not in align with tribal socio-economic patterns and structure of Keres but rather it’s manifestation of Anglo-European tradition that are forcefully and/or wrongly implied to the tribal structure of Keres. She further asserts that it is the narrative structure of the Gunn’s story that is woven in a way “to confirm a feminist’s interpretation of the tale as only another example of low status of women in tribal cultures.”(p. 235) Gunn’s narrative version itself is tampered with Anglo-European sexist, classicist and racist notions and concepts.

Consciously or unconsciously, these notions and other related values are immersed in the mainstream tribal thought in a subtle way that an ordinary reader can not detect them. Furthermore, the linguistic inability of one language to transmit the concepts and values of another culture is another problem that renders alteration to the cultural concepts of one culture. Paula says in this regard, “So while the problem is one of translation, it is not simply one of word equivalence. The differences are perceptual and contextual as much as verbal” (p.225) Third factor that further deteriorates the situation is non-understanding of a proper contextual framework in which values, rituals and traditions operate.

To understand a tribal narrative it is mandatory to comprehend its contextual framework. So Paula assumes that Gunn’s version is tampered on the same pattern and his story contains notions of “Christianization, secularization, economic dislocation” patriarchal tradition of Anglo-European life etc. together “with linguistic inequivalence and lack of contextual understanding. Or this purpose she provides the example of Hiut-cha-mun-ki-uk. Guinn has translated this as “broken prayer stick” but Paula says that it originally means “——-. Furthermore, Gunn is unable to provide cultural assumptions and orientations related to these terminologies. That’s the reason that these terminologies are perceived in wrong connotations.

Paula further says that Gunn has neglected the broad contextual framework in which the whole story operates. This narrative version is related to a ritual that celebrates the seasonal change i.e. the coming of Summer. Additionally, as this story is taken from yellow woman story, and; “[t]he themes and to a large extent the motifs of these stories are always female-centered, always told from Yellow women’s point o f view. Some older recordedVversions of yellow woman tales (as in Gunn) make yellow woman the daughter of the hocheni’s. Gunn translates Hocheni as “ruler”. But Keres notions of the hicheni’s function and positions are as cacique or Mother Chief, which differ greatly from Anglo-European idea of rulership.”(p.226)

Paula further reinforces the idea that woman has a special place in the Keres of Lagua and Acoma Pueblos. Yellow woman is regarded as an epitome of certain extra human abilities. Paula elaborates that “in many ways Kochinennako is a role model though she possesses some behaviors that are not likely to occur in many of the women who hear story”. (p.227)  Paula wants to imply that her feminine character is different not only on the chronological basis but due to a different concept of woman hood in the tribal societies of Native American. So distortions and immersion of western thought in the narrative of Gunn also blur the vision of Modern feminists who consider a different view of “women status in the tribal life” that has nothing to do with real tribal society and its feminist notions.

Paula assertions seem valid about the distortion of contextual framework and its negative effects on the feminine perception of tribal women life. She thinks that incapacity of Western mind to understand and interpret the true tribal mindset and values pertaining to feminism in particular and other socio-cultural phenomenon “because they are generally trained to perceive their (tribesmen) entire world in ways that are alien to tribal understandings.” (p. 243).

Her point of view about the linguistic tampering due to various mentioned facts is also convincible. But sometime she draws upon far-fetched arguments to prove her point of view. The tribal society as depicted by her illustrations of Gunn’s narratives, clearly manifest a balanced and just society where both male and female members of the community are on equal terms. Although particularly in the domestic sphere they have dominance but they are absent from other aspects of mainstream social life. However, the arguments of Paula contain logical assumptions. But the supposition about the difference between modern feminist concepts and “tribal feminism” due to the misconception due to biases of the narrator and narrative structure is valid and authentic.


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A Summary on the Essay of Kate Gubata: The New Feminism

The word feminism has generally and categorically been associated to an assembly and movements of radical groups who try to eradicate the male dominance in society, talking if not shouting, just to get their messages across.  These were the women in our grandparents’ time who have endeavored and strived to get their equal rights as a human being.  Today, it has been observed that women try to keep away from becoming branded as feminist to disassociate themselves to this type of bloc.  Feminism does not have to be exclusively defined to this category.

According to Gubata (2003), a lack of interest among women to engage themselves in these activities is due to the misconceptions on the aims of feminism.  The real goal of the feminists’ today is to elucidate both men and women to convert equality into a reality. Anyone can be an active participant on this action and tackle significant feminists’ issues such as pay inequity, recent passage of the “abortion drug” and legal battles of homosexual marriage.

Contemporary feminists are those people who have no fear in speaking their minds and in sharing their ideas as well as being open to ideas of others.  Women should not deny themselves the prospect of getting themselves involved in something they believe in.  Having a united voice means getting the aim stridently heard.

The author emphasized on the encouragement of the people to get themselves involved in promoting the goals of feminists.  Take note of the groups in your community which you might get interested in then once you find it, enlist yourself and be prepared to take action.  You may have dissimilar and diverse feminist perceptions in the group but the eventuality of accomplishing your purpose is more apparent.


McCuen-Metherell, J.R. & Winkler, A.C. (Eds.).  (2003). Readings for Writers (11th ed.).

 Heinle-Thomson Learning.

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Kate Chopin and Feminism

The name Kate Chopin is synonymous with feminism.  For generations she has caused women to about their situations in life and caused men to fear her because she made women analyze.  She started writing after she was widowed and left with a plantation and children to rear while living in a male society.  Instead of remarrying just to save the plantation, she chose to stay single and move from Louisiana with her children to her hometown in Missouri.  Her physician advised her to write to overcome her depression.

Little did anyone know that this advice would lead to the writing career of one of the foremost American female writers.  From the beginning, men saw her stories and novels as threatening.  It wasn’t until after her death that she was recognized for the talented writer that she really was.  The reason the men of her generation was her feminist themes.  Two examples where this strong theme is evident are “The Storm” and The Awakening.

Chopin’s story “The Storm” is, as the title suggest, about sexual tensions of a repressive waera.  It was considered scandalous for a female from the privileged class to even entertain the thought of sexual tension during the Victorian Era, and especially to write about it.  The storm deals with two people, Alcee and Calixta, who were in love during their youth.  They go on to marry others that society says are right for them.

They feel trapped by the rules of society and still desire each other.  The reader is introduced to Calixta at their home, sewing and doing other household chores, “unaware that the storm is coming.” This suggests to Wilson that “her sexuality is repressed by the constraints of her marriage and society’s view of women, represented in this passage by the housework.” Airing out on the porch are her husband’s Sunday clothes, which Wilson says “allude to society in the form of the church.”  The story continues with other illustrations using the storm until, finally, after Alcee and Calixta’s sexual encounter, the storm finally begins to pass and everything in the world seems renewed and fresh. (Wilson 2)

In The Awakening the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, is a young woman married to a businessman, but she is dissatisfied with her marriage.  In her society this idea was considered unthinkable.  She wants to wants to retain her individuality, her artistry, and to be sexually fulfilled.  In her novel, she seeks an identity for women that is neither wife nor mother. To achieve this end, she incorporates progressive ideas of androgyny and female-female intimacy into her writing; yet ultimately the text, through characters who cannot escape essentialist and sentimental ideologies, demonstrates the failure of her attempt. (McDonald)  In fact, the pressures of society of that era leads to the suicide of the protagonist.

Kate Chopin dared to write about topics that were groundbreaking for women in the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds.  During this time women weren’t even capable of having enough knowledge to vote.  If a woman chose any path in life that did not include marriage, then she was seen as a failure.  In her writing, Chopin was groundbreaking in the area of feminism.  The questions that are raised by the articles used for this essay, is where did she get the courage to tackle the topics that she did, and why didn’t more women join here in their craft?

Works Cited

Faust, Langdon Lynn. American Women Writers. New York: Inger. 1983.


24, May, 1999,

Wilson, Robert. “Feminine Sexuality and Passion: Kate Chopin’s ‘The Storm.’” The University

of British Columbia, October 22, 1992.

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Feminism in India

Feminism in India is a set of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for Indian women.

It is the pursuit of women’s rights within the society of India. Like their feminist counterparts all over the world, feminists in India seek gender equality: the right to work for equal wages, the right to equal access to health and education, and equal political rights. [1] Indian feminists also have fought against culture-specific issues within India’s patriarchal society, such as inheritance laws and the practice of widow immolation known as Sati.

The history of feminism in India can be divided into three phases: the first phase, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, initiated when male European colonists began to speak out against the social evils of Sati;[2] the second phase, from 1915 to Indian independence, when Gandhi incorporated women’s movements into the Quit India movement and independent women’s organizations began to emerge;[3] and finally, the third phase, post-independence, which has focused on fair treatment of women in the work force and right to political parity. 3] Despite the progress made by Indian feminist movements, women living in modern India still face many issues of discrimination. India’s patriarchal culture has made the process of gaining land-ownership rights and access to education challenging. [4] In the past two decades, there has also emerged a disturbing trend of sex-selective abortion. [5] To Indian feminists, these are seen as injustices worth struggling against. [6] As in the West, there has been some criticism of feminist movements in India.

They have especially been criticized for focusing too much on women already privileged, and neglecting the needs and representation of poorer or lower caste women. This has led to the creation of caste-specific feminist organizations and movements. [7] Contents  [hide]  * 1 Defining feminism in the Indian context * 2 History * 2. 1 First phase: 1850–1915 * 2. 2 Second Phase: 1915–1947 * 2. 3 Feminism: Post-1947 * 3 Issues * 3. 1 Birth ratio * 3. 2 Marriage * 4 Theology * 4. 1 Hindu feminism * 4.  Islamic feminism * 5 Impact * 5. 1 Employment * 5. 2 Globalization * 5. 3 Education * 5. 4 Modernization * 6 Notable Indian feminists * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links| ————————————————- [edit]Defining feminism in the Indian context Tribal widow and single women protesting in Jawhar, Maharashtra Women’s role in Pre-colonial social structures reveals that feminism was theorized differently in India than in the West. 8] In India, women’s issues first began to be addressed when the state commissioned a report on the status of women to a group of feminist researchers and activists. The report recognized the fact that in India, women were oppressed under a system of structural hierarchies and injustices. During this period, Indian feminists were influenced by the Western debates being conducted about violence against women. However, due to the difference in the historical and social culture of India, the debate in favor of Indian women had to be conducted creatively and certain Western ideas had to be rejected. 9] Women’s issues began to gain an international prominence when the decade of 1975-1985 was declared the United Nations Decade for Women. [2] Historical circumstances and values in India have caused feminists to develop a feminism that differs from Western feminism. For example, the idea of women as “powerful” is accommodated into patriarchal culture through religion,[10] which has retained visibility in all sections of society. This has provided women with traditional “cultural spaces. Furthermore, in the West the notion of “self” rests in competitive individualism where people are described as “born free yet everywhere in chains. ” In India the individual is usually considered to be just one part of the larger social collective. Survival of the individual is dependent upon cooperation, and self-denial for the greater good is valued. [10] Indian women negotiate survival through an array of oppressive patriarchal family structures: age, ordinal status, relationship to men through family of origin, marriage and procreation as well as patriarchal attributes.

Examples of patriarchal attributes include: dowry, siring sons etc. , kinship, caste, community, village, market and the state. It should however be noted that several communities in India, such as the Nairs of Kerala, Shettys of Mangalore, certain Maratha clans, and Bengali families exhibit matriarchal tendencies. In these communities, the head of the family is the oldest woman rather than the oldest man. Sikh culture is also regarded as relatively gender-neutral. 10][11] The heterogeneity of the Indian experience reveals that there are multiple patriarchies, contributing to the existence of multiple feminisms. Hence, feminism in India is not a singular theoretical orientation; it has changed over time in relation to historical and cultural realities, levels of consciousness, perceptions and actions of individual women, and women as a group. The widely used definition is “An awareness of women’s oppression and exploitation in society, at work and within the family, and conscious action by women and men to change this situation. [11] Acknowledgingsexism in daily life and attempting to challenge and eliminate it through deconstructing mutually exclusive notions of femininity and masculinity as biologically determined categories opens the way towards an equitable society for both men and women. [11] The male and female dichotomy of polar opposites with the former oppressing the latter at all times is refuted in the Indian context because it was men who initiated social reform movementsagainst various social evils. Patriarchy is just one of the hierarchies. Relational hierarchies between women within the same family are more adverse.

Here women are pitted against one another. Not all women are powerless at all times. [12] There have been intense debates within the Indian women’s movements about the relationship between Western and Indian feminisms. Many Indian feminists simultaneously claim a specific “Indian” sensitivity as well as an international feminist solidarity with groups and individuals worldwide. [9][13] The rise of liberal feminism in the West in the 1970s focused deeply on demands for equal opportunities in education and employment, as well as ending violence against women.

To a large extent, the emerging feminist movement in India was influenced by Western ideals. These called for education and equal rights, but also adapted their appeals to local issues and concerns, such as dowry-related violence against women, Sati, sex selective abortion and custodial rape. Some Indian feminists have suggested that these issues are not specifically “Indian” in nature but rather a reflection of a wider trend of patriarchal oppression of women. [9] ————————————————- [edit]History Kamini Roy (poet and suffragette) became the first woman Honors Graduate in India in 1886.

Unlike the Western feminist movement, India’s movement was initiated by men, and later joined by women. The efforts of these men included abolishing sati, which was a widow’s death by burning on her husband’s funeral pyre,[2][14] the custom of child marriage, abolishing the disfiguring of widows, banning the marriage of upper caste Hindu widows, promoting women’s education, obtaining legal rights for women to own property, and requiring the law to acknowledge women’s status by granting them basic rights in matters such as adoption. 15] The 19th century was the period that saw a majority of women’s issues come under the spotlight and reforms began to be made. Much of the early reforms for Indian women were conducted by men. However, by the late 19th century they were joined in their efforts by their wives, sisters, daughters, protegees and other individuals directly affected by campaigns such as those carried out for women’s education. By the late 20th century, women gained greater autonomy through the formation of independent women’s own organizations.

By the late thirties and forties a new narrative began to be constructed regarding “women’s activism”. This was newly researched and expanded with the vision to create ‘logical’ and organic links between feminism and Marxism, as well as with anti-communalism and anti-casteism, etc. The Constitution of India did guarantee ‘equality between the sexes,’ which created a relative lull in women’s movements until the 1970s. [3] During the formative years of women’s rights movements, the difference between the sexes was more or less taken for granted in that their roles, functions, aims and desires were different.

As a result, they were not only to be reared differently but treated differently also. Over the course of time, this difference itself became a major reason for initiating women’s movements. Early 19th century reformers argued that the difference between men and women was no reason for the subjection of women in society. However, later reformers were of the opinion that indeed it was this particular difference that subjugated women to their roles in society, for example, as mothers. Therefore, there was a need for the proper care of women’s rights.

With the formation of women’s organizations and their own participation in campaigns, their roles as mothers was again stressed but in a different light: this time the argument was for women’s rights to speech, education and emancipation. However, the image of women with the mother as a symbol underwent changes over time – from an emphasis on family to the creation of an archetypal mother figure, evoking deep, often atavistic images. [3] [edit]First phase: 1850–1915 The colonial venture into modernity brought concepts of democracy, equality and individual rights.

The rise of the concept of nationalism and introspection of discriminatory practices brought about social reform movements related to caste and gender relations. This first phase of feminism in India was initiated by men to uproot the social evils of sati (widow immolation),[16] to allow widow remarriage, to forbid child marriage, and to reduce illiteracy, as well as to regulate the age of consent and to ensure property rights through legal intervention. In addition to this, some upper caste Hindu women rejected constraints they faced under Brahminical traditions. 3] However, efforts for improving the status of women in Indian society were somewhat thwarted by the late nineteenth century, as nationalist movements emerged in India. These movements resisted ‘colonial interventions in gender relations’ particularly in the areas of family relations. In the mid to late nineteenth century, there was a national form of resistance to any colonial efforts made to ‘modernize’ the Hindu family. This included the Age of Consent controversy that erupted after the government tried to raise the age of marriage for women. 2][17] [edit]Second Phase: 1915–1947 Women’s procession during Quit India Movement in 1942 During this period the struggle against colonial rule intensified. Nationalism became the pre-eminent cause. Claiming Indian superiority became the tool of cultural revivalism resulting in an essentializing model of Indian womanhood similar to that of Victorian womanhood: special yet separated from public space. Gandhi legitimized and expanded Indian women’s public activities by initiating them into the non-violent civil disobedience movement against theBritish Raj.

He exalted their feminine roles of caring, self-abnegation, sacrifice and tolerance; and carved a niche for those in the public arena. Women-only organizations like All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) and the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) emerged. Women were grappling with issues relating to the scope of women’s political participation, women’s franchise, communal awards, and leadership roles in political parties. [3] The 1920s was a new era for Indian women and is defined as ‘feminism’ that was responsible for the creation of localized women’s associations.

These associations emphasized women’s education issues, developed livelihood strategies for working class women, and also organized national level women’s associations such as the All India Women’s Conference. AIWC was closely affiliated with the Indian National Congress. Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, it worked within the nationalist and anti-colonialist freedom movements. This made the mass mobilization of women an integral part of Indian nationalism. Women therefore were a very important part of various nationalist and anti-colonial efforts, including the civil disobedience movements in the 1970s. 3] After independence, the All India Women’s Conference continued to operate and in 1954 the Indian Communist Party formed its own women’s wing known as the National Federation of Indian Women. However, feminist agendas and movements became less active right after India’s 1947 independence, as the nationalist agendas on nation building took precedence over feminist issues. [18] Women’s participation in the struggle for freedom developed their critical consciousness about their role and rights in independent India. This resulted in the introduction of the franchise and civic rights of women in the Indian constitution.

There was provision for women’s upliftment through affirmative action, maternal health and child care provision (creches), equal pay for equal work etc. The state adopted a patronizing role towards women. For example, India’s constitution states that women are a “weaker section” of the population, and therefore need assistance to function as equals. [15] Thus women in India did not have to struggle for basic rights as did women in the West. The utopia ended soon when the social and cultural ideologies and structures failed to honor the newly acquired concepts of fundamental rights and democracy. 3] [edit]Feminism: Post-1947 Post independence feminists began to redefine the extent to which women were allowed to engage in the workforce. Prior to independence, most feminists accepted the sexual divide within the labor force. However, feminists in the 1970s challenged the inequalities that had been established and fought to reverse them. These inequalities included unequal wages for women, relegation of women to ‘unskilled’ spheres of work, and restricting women as a reserve army for labor.

In other words, the feminists’ aim was to abolish the free service of women who were essentially being used as cheap capital. [3] Feminist class-consciousness also came into focus in the 1970s, with feminists recognizing the inequalities not just between men and women but also within power structures such as caste, tribe, language, religion, region, class etc. This also posed as a challenge for feminists while shaping their overreaching campaigns as there had to be a focus within efforts to ensure that fulfilling the demands of one group would not create further inequalities for another.

Now, in the early twenty-first century, the focus of the Indian feminist movement has gone beyond treating women as useful members of society and a right to parity, but also having the power to decide the course of their personal lives and the right of self-determination. [3] ————————————————- [edit]Issues Despite “on-paper” advancements, many problems still remain which inhibit women from fully taking advantage of new rights and opportunities in India. There are many traditions and customs that have been an important part of Indian culture for hundreds of years.

Religious laws and expectations, or “personal laws” enumerated by each specific religion, often conflict with the Indian Constitution, eliminating rights and powers women should legally have. Despite these crossovers in legality, the Indian government does not interfere with religion and the personal laws they hold. [19] Religions, like Hinduism, call for women to be faithful servants to God and their husbands. They have a term called pativrata that describes a wife who has accepted service and devotion to her husband and her family as her ultimate religion and duty.

Indian society is largely composed of hierarchical systems within families and communities. These hierarchies can be broken down into age, sex, ordinal position, kinship relationships (within families), and caste, lineage, wealth, occupations, and relationship to ruling power (within the community). When hierarchies emerge within the family based on social convention and economic need, girls in poorer families suffer twice the impact of vulnerability and stability. From birth, girls are automatically entitled to less; from playtime, to food, to education, girls can expect to always be entitled to less than their brothers.

Girls also have less access to their family’s income and assets, which is exacerbated among poor, rural Indian families. From the start, it is understood that females will be burdened with strenuous work and exhausting responsibilities for the rest of their lives, always with little to no compensation or recognition. [20] India is also a patriarchal society, which, by definition, describes cultures in which males as fathers or husbands are assumed to be in charge and the official heads of households.

A patrilinealsystem governs the society, where descent and inheritance are traced through the male line and men are generally in control of the distribution of family resources. [12] These traditions and ways of Indian life have been in effect for so long that this type of lifestyle is what women have become accustomed to and expect. Indian women often do not take full advantage of their constitutional rights because they are not properly aware or informed of them. Women also tend to have poor utilization of voting rights because they possess low levels of political awareness and sense of political efficacy.

Women are not often encouraged to become informed about issues. Due to this, political parties do not invest much time in female candidates because there is a perception that they are a “wasted investment. “[15] The female-to-male ratio in India is 933 to 1000, showing that there are numerically fewer women in the country than men. This is due to several factors, including infanticides, most commonly among female infants, and the poor care of female infants and childbearing women. Although outlawed, infanticides are still highly popular in rural India, and are continuing to become even more prominent.

This is due to the fact, most especially in rural areas, that families cannot afford female children because of the dowry they must pay when their daughter gets married. Like infanticide, the payment of dowry is also illegal, but is still a frequent and prevalent occurrence in rural India. [21] Women are considered to be “worthless” by their husbands if they are not “able” to produce a male child, and can often face much abuse if this is the case. [22] [edit]Birth ratio Between the years of 1991 to 2001, the female-male ratio of the population of India fell from 94. 5 girls per 100 boys to 92. girls per 100 boys. [5] Some parts of the country, such as Kerala, did not experience such a decline, but in the richer Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, the female-male ratio fell very sharply (the female-male ratios in these states were between 79. 3 and 87. 8). [5] This is evidence of natality inequality, and an indication that sex-selective abortion has become more pervasive. The Indian parliament has banned the use of sex determination techniques for fetuses due to this, but enforcement of this law has been largely ignored. [23] [edit]Marriage

Most of the average Indian woman’s life is spent in marriage; many women are still married before the legal age of 18, and the incidence of non-marriage is low in India. Childbearing and raising children are the priorities of early adulthood for Indian women. Thus, if they enter the workforce at all, it is far later than Indian men. Urban Indian men reach the peak of their labor force participation between the ages of 25 and 29, while urban Indian women do so between the ages of 40 and 44. [4] Because of this, women have less time for the acquisition of skills and fewer opportunities for job improvements.

There is a poor representation of women in the Indian workforce. Females have a ten percent higher drop-out rate than males from middle and primary schools, as well as lower levels of literacy than men. Since unemployment is also high in India, it is easy for employers to manipulate the law, especially when it comes to women, because it is part of Indian culture for women not to argue with men. Additionally, labor unions are insensitive to women’s needs. Women also have to settle for jobs that comply with their obligations as wives, mothers, and homemakers. [4][21] ————————————————- edit]Theology [edit]Hindu feminism In the Hindu religion, there has been partial success in terms of gender equality reform laws and family law. While this is a major advancement relative to other religions in India, it is still not a complete triumph in terms of feminism and relieving oppression. [19] Gandhi came up with the term stree shakti (women power) for the concept of womanhood. In the Hindu religion, Gods are not exclusively male. Hinduism sheds a positive light on femininity; females are considered to compliment and complete their male counterparts.

It is important to note that the deities of both knowledge and wealth are female. [15] There has been some criticism from Dalit groups that Indian feminism tends to represent “upper caste” and upper class Hindu women, while ignoring and marginalizing the interests of Dalit women. Debates on caste and gender oppression have been furthered by Other Backward Class (OBC) members of different political parties, arguing in state assemblies that “lower caste” women’s interests are best represented by women from these castes. 7] Working towards this end, women within Dalit castes have formed organizations such as the All India Dalit Women’s Forum and the National Federation of Dalit Women and Dalit Solidarity, which focus on the gendered implications of caste based violence and oppression, such as the ways in which Dalit women suffer from urban poverty and displacement. [7] [edit]Islamic feminism The Hindu and Muslim communities in India were treated differently by the government in that separate types of concessions were made for each community in order to accommodate their separate religious laws and regulations.

The case of Shah Bano begun in 1985 was one such example of Rajiv Gandhi attempting to make “concessions” for the Muslim community to in turn secure support for the Congress. Shah Bano, a 73-year-old Muslim woman, was divorced by her husband after forty-three years of marriage. According to the Sharia or Muslim Law, her husband was not required to pay her alimony. Shah Bano challenged this decision in the Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled in her favor and ordered her husband to pay her a monthly maintenance allowance.

This caused chaos amongst the Muslim clerics who denounced the judgement and suggested that their religion, Islam was under attack in the country. In a fear of losing overall Muslim support, Rajiv succumbed to the pressures of the Muslim community and his own party and backed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Bill that overruled the Supreme Court’s decision. This caused an outcry from Hindu nationalists who found the appeasement of minorities by the Congress for political purposes wrong and opportunistic. 24] Feminism was challenged by various minority groups for not entirely addressing the needs of minority populations. It was suggested that ‘mainstream’ feminism was upper caste and Hindu in its orientation and did not address the concerns of minority women. This led to the formation of the Awaaz-e-Niswaan (The Voice of Women) in 1987 in Mumbai in largely Muslim part of the city. The Muslim community has been subjected to personal laws that often were considered harmful to the rights of Muslim women. [25] ————————————————- [edit]Impact

Western-educated Indians introduced equality in the early nineteenth century. However, the term did not gain meaning or become an operational principle in Indian life until the country gained independence in 1947 and adopted a democratic government. [15] The Indian Constitution then granted equality, freedom from discrimination based on gender or religion, and guaranteed religious freedoms. [19] Also, seven five-year plans were developed to provide health, education, employment, and welfare to women. The sixth five-year plan even declared women “partners in development. [15] [edit]Employment In general in the uneducated and rural section of the Indian society, which forms a major percentage of the total population, women are seen as economic burdens. Their contributions to productivity are mostly invisible as their familial and domestic contributions are unfairly overlooked. Indian women were contributing nearly 36 percent of total employment in agriculture and related activities, nearly 19 percent in the service sector, and nearly 12. 5 in the industry sector as of the year 2000.

The unfortunate reality is that the high illiteracy rate among women confines them to lower paying, unskilled jobs with less job security than men. Even in agricultural jobs where the work of men and women are highly similar, women are still more likely to be paid less for the same amount and type of work as men. [26] However in the urban section of Indian society, women are empowered with laws such as IPC 498a which are heavily biased against the men in the society. Educated women are sometimes accused of using such laws to unleash legal terrorism on husbands by disgruntled wives. 24] [edit]Globalization Feminists are also concerned about the impact of globalization on women in India. Some feminists argue that globalization has led to economic changes that have raised more social and economical challenges for women, particularly for working class and lower caste women. Multinational companies in India have been seen to exploit the labor of ‘young, underpaid and disadvantaged women’ in free trade zones and sweat shops, and use “Young lower middle class, educated women,” in call centers.

These women have few effective labor rights, or rights to collective action. [27][28] In addition to this, multinational corporations are seen to advertise a homogenous image of ideal women across the country is argued to cause an increase in the commodification of women’s bodies. This is also manifested in the form of nationalist pride exhibited through Indian women winning international beauty pageants. According to some feminists, such developments have offered women greater sexual autonomy and more control over their bodies.

However, many other feminists feel that such commodification of female bodies has only served the purpose of feeding to male fantasies. [27] [edit]Education Girls in Kalleda Rural School, Andhra Pradesh. Some of the main reasons that girls are less likely to reach optimal levels of education include the fact that girls are needed to assist their mothers at home, have been raised to believe that a life of domestic work is their destined occupation, have illiterate mothers who cannot educate their children, have an economic dependency on men, and are sometimes subject to child-marriage. 26] In 1986, the National Policy on Education (NPE) was created in India, and the government launched the program called Mahila Samakhya, whose focus was on the empowerment of women. The program’s goal is to create a learning environment for women to realize their potential, learn to demand information and find the knowledge to take charge of their own lives. In certain areas of India, progress is being made and an increase in the enrollment of girls in schools and as teachers has begun to increase.

By 2001 literacy for women had exceeded 50% of the overall female population, though these statistics were still very low compared to world standards and even male literacy within India. [29] Efforts are still being made to improve the level of education that females receive to match that of male students. [26] [edit]Modernization Modern influences are affecting the younger generations in parts of India, where girls are beginning to forgo the more traditional ways of Indian life and break gender stereotypes.

In more flourishing parts of the country, the idea of “dating,” or more specifically openly dating, has come into play, and the terms “girlfriend” and “boyfriend” are being used. Some women have landed highly respectable careers, and can be seen across Bollywood billboards and advertisements. However, this is not the norm throughout the country; such modernizations and the women behind them face serious resistance from anti-liberalists. The country is still severely male-dominant and unwelcoming to such movements that go against sex and gender traditions in India. Hasselrlis, Kaj. “Making a Statement. ” Herizons 23. 2 (2009): 33-35.

Free Essays

Jane Eyre: Feminism

Feminism: Jane Eyre Unveiled Brittney Christensen English 153 Shona Harrison November 15th, 2012 “Feminism: The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men, statuses and classes. ” The novel Jane Eyre greatly depicts many forms of feminism throughout, and is an eye opener as to how much time have changed and in a sense stayed the same since the Victorian Era. The thought of being exposed to such standards and conditions at such a young age onward outlines the realest forms of commitment to independence and dignity.

Jane is a victim of feminism in the instance that she is subjected to the power of men and also plays the role of a feminist role model shown by multiple examples throughout the novel, whether referring to relationships or to personal attributes. The comparing and contrasting between the other characters and characteristics of the novel also unveil forms of feminism and feministic senses. The word “feminist” or “feminism” is a very obscured word, with many different points of views considering their meanings. In the terms of feminist, “a doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. And reference to Jane Eyre, Jane only hopes for equality between men and women, herself in particular, obviously due to the specific situations and circumstances she is exposed to. Jane proposed her acts upon facing women’s rights and equality by enforcing her words and good deeds, proving her lack of ignorance and retaliation. Jane represents a feminist in the Victorian Era, and mainly targeted at younger readers, preferably female considering the context, with the purpose to help the young females learn about maturity, growing up in the world, and the possible variety of obstacles that they may be faced with.

With that said, Jane’s actions and words throughout the novel decipher her life and her experiences are what built her courage and strength as a woman. Jane Eyre is proof that love and affection are two things that cannot be bought and that that her courageousness will not be underestimated. Rochester tries to persuade Jane into falling for him by offering her luxurious stones and lavish pieces of clothing. “Glad was I to get him out of the silk warehouse, and then out of a jeweler’s shop: the more he bought me, the more my cheek burned with a sense of annoyance and degradation. ” (Bronte, Page 229).

Jane is getting the feeling of aggravation towards Rochester’s offerings in a sense that she does not need nor want such things and refuses to become exposed to the world of the materialistic lifestyle. Her hesitation towards marriage is also expressed in her statement, providing evidence that she does not feel the need to go to these extremes and expenses when it comes to marriage. “Marriage: the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. ” Nowhere does it state that the experience as a whole has to be lavish, proving Jane’s point of view.

Jane, as a feminist believes that everything and everyone can be beautiful without the extent of needing a man and the accommodations and luxuries one has to offer. Jane, being exposed to independence at such a young age gave her the leverage and confidence she needed to stand up for herself and express her view of women’s equality through her eyes. She comes to the consensus about her values and duties of herself as an individual when states, “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man.

I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad – as I am now. ” (Bronte, page 270). This quotation depicts and unveils Jane’s powerful feelings towards how she sees herself and what her morals are versus what they should be. Jane believes to be “mad”, which refers to the fact that it is somewhat insane that she can love Rochester when he is married to Bertha Mason, someone completely opposite to Jane. Because of Rochester’s argument for her to be with him, Jane’s statement also shows that her realization that Rochester has strong feelings towards her regardless of his current relationship status with Bertha Mason.

Jane fears that if she is to lose anything important in her life then that will result in losing Rochester, despite the aspect of negotiating her own feelings. Jane refrains from going with Rochester after this confrontation… “’You will not come? – You will not be my comforter, my rescuer? – My deep love, my wild woe, my frantic prayer, are all nothing to you? ’ What unutterable pathos was in his voice! How hard it was to reiterate firmly, ‘I am going. ’” Jane realizes Rochester’s true love for her, but also realizes that they are not meant to be, or so she thinks.

In this instance, Jane is letting feelings between herself and another man jeopardize her life, which goes against her beliefs as well as a woman, although her rejection provides proof that she loves herself more, therefore showing her independence and pride in being a female. “ I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you. ” (Bronte, Page 216). Jane represents many things throughout the novel, mainly her strong feminist side is most relevant until closer to the end part of the novel, where she seems to let “love” get the best of her.

Jane has found herself to fall deeply for Rochester despite her beliefs, she has resisted and now sees him for his true self, money aside. With that said, Jane herself, had not a clue that she would soon be facing some inheritance, “My uncle I had heard was dead – my only relative; ever since being made aware of his existence I had cherished the hope of one day seeing him: now, I never should. And then this money came only to me: not to a rejoicing family, and me but to my isolated self. It was a grand boon doubtless; and independence would be glorious – yes, I felt that – that thought swelled my heart. Jane inherited twenty thousand pounds and now felt as though her and Rochester were socially and economically equal, putting her at ease in a sense referring to her standards. Although Jane’s decision may come across somewhat hypocritical, she still stays true to herself and her feminist ways when she stands up to St. John, the clergyman that provides Jane with a place to stay. St. John is also in love with Jane and wants to be with her, but she does not feel the same way, “You have hitherto been my adopted brother: I, your adopted sister; let us continue as such: you and I had better not marry. (Bronte 345) Jane is trying to be nice about breaking the news to St. John to show her caring side as a woman, but St. John did not agree with this confrontation, “I must seek another interest in life to replace the one lost: is not the occupation he now offers me truly the most glorious man can adopt or God assign? It is not, by its noble cares and sublime results, the one best calculated to fill the void left by uptorn affections and demolished hopes? ” (Bronte 344) This is one of St. John’s methods as to keeping Jane in his life, by bringing god into the equation, by insinuating that God does not agree with her and that St.

John should have her for himself, which Jane really does not agree with, being as she believes in religion separately aside from her feminism beliefs. In a sense St. John’s statement about God made Jane think about how married life actually will be and the possibility of her lack of enjoyment due to the fact that a label may disrupt the actual love. Despite St. John’s feelings, Jane knows where he heart is and stays true to her own feelings, showing her independence as a female. In terms of women’s and men’s rights, views on the issue can arise in a variety of opinions due to the difference in peoples views.

The two main men characters in the novel, Rochester and St. John really enhanced Jane’s inner feminist by each pulling out specific traits in her that portrayed what she really believed in and what it takes to alter them; traits such as independence and personal strength as a woman, providing a learning experience from experiences. Jane grows to be able to form her own opinions and stand up for what is right in her eyes while still staying true to her beliefs as a feminist. Jane Eyre not only sets goals for herself, but also for other females, being such a great role model proven through her life choices and acts of strength. If I told anything, my tale would be such as must necessarily make a profound impression on the mind of my hearer: and that mind, yet from its sufferings too prone to gloom, needed not to deeper shade of the supernatural. I kept these things, then, and pondered them in my heart. ” (Bronte 381) This really summarizes Jane’s journey from a girl to a woman, and is an inspiring and knowledgeable story. Work Cited Bronte, Charlotee. Jane Eyre. New York: W. W . Norton & Company, Inc. 2001. Eagleton, Terry. “Jane Eyre’s Power Struggles. ” Myths of Power: A Marxist Study of Bronte.

Totawa, NJ: Barnes and Noble Bookes, 1975. Rpt. In Bronte 491-496. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. “Feminism. ” Collins English Dictionary. 2009. William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd 1979, 1986. Web. 14 Nov 2012. Roberts, M. J. D. “Feminism and the State in Later Victorian England. ” The Historical Journal, Cambridge University Press. MLA Online Book. Vol. 28, No 1. pp. 85-110. Mar. 1995. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. Garton, Stephen. “The Scales of Suffering: Love, Death and Victorian Masculinity. ”, Taylor & Francis Ltd. MLA Online Article. Vol. 27, No. 1. (Jan. 2002), pp. 40-58. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

Free Essays

Literary criticism – feminism

From the very point of creation, God made no difference between man and woman – both of them were humans, created in His own image, who had to reflect the beauty of heavens on the earth and share their love with the Creator and each other. Both Adam and Eve had to work in the Garden of Eden and take care of it.

Disregarding the fact that Adam was created first, Eve was made as a helper, suitable for him, as a conscious and responsible personality. In the second chapter of the book of Genesis, we read that God gave all commands to Adam only, so he was responsible to retell them to Eve that she could fully understand the will of God and fulfill the commandments properly. She was made for Adam to help him, and apart from all other creatures, was called “flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones” (Gen. 2:23); therefore, they both belonged to each other and supplemented each other. Keeping their individuality, Adam and Eve, at the same time, formed a new unity, and this community was so self-valuable, that for its sake “shall a man leave his father and his mother” (Gen. 2:24).

On the other hand, we can see the God’s order in the family: God – man – woman. As a leader in the family, Adam, at the same time, was subordinate to God, and both man and woman were subjected to the sovereign power of Almighty God. And only after their fall, the Lord God made a clear distinction between man and woman: “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen.3:16b). This leading role of man is proven by the fact that Eve had fallen into temptation first, consequently breaking the God’s order on the earth. Yet, man must take the main responsibility. But if the core predestination of man is

“Literary Criticism – Feminism”

work, woman is predetermined to bare children, be a mother, which is bound to pain and sufferings. Being in subordination, which was based on love, the fall of man has shifted it to the dominance of man over woman. But one should remember that it was not a new covenant of God, but rather a direct result of the fall.

Since considering first of all the interests of man, who was permitted to have several wives, in the marriage husband had more freedom, comparing to wife. For example, one of the Ten Commandments claims that “thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife” (Ex. 20:17), for this kind of adultery was interpreted as criminal offence on the property of another man (wife is mentioned in this text between such things as house, ox, servant). Only in Deuteronomy the same text gives wife a separate place in the list of man’s belongings. The consequences for the adultery also differed depending on the social status of woman:

death to man found with a married woman;

trespass offering for maidservant;

marriage or money penalty for a maid.

“Literary Criticism – Feminism”

Such strict regulations were called to prevent divorces; yet the adultery was widespread and was mostly noted in Proverbs. The offering of jealousy (offering of memorial) testified about the male privileges: man could demand this offering if he had the slightest, even groundless, suspicion as to his wife’s behavior (water could either cause the curse or not). Men were not subjected to this test.

Divorce was also a sole prerogative of man. According to Deuteronomy 24:1, he had the right to divorce with his wife, if “he hath found some uncleanness in her”. This regulation assumes a number of interpretations: if in the beginning it was enabled only in cases of wife’s bad behavior, then, in the course of time, the bill of divorcement was given to man if his wife caused the slightest displeasure.

For her whole life, woman was dependant: first from father, later – from husband, and, finally, – from son, with the exception of widows, whose children were under age. This position primarily guaranteed her the sense of security. Disregarding the savage customs (Lot, who was eager to give his two daughters to sodomites – Gen. 19:8, Levite, who gave his concubine to the men of the city – Judges 19:24-26) that were caused by the fall, women in Israel had deserving and full life, they were loved and respected by their men (1-Sam. 1:5,8) and children (Ps. 35:14) and were honored with public acknowledgement and praise (Proverbs 5:18, 12:4, 18:22; Eccl. 9:9).

In Israel, woman held better position, comparing to other Orient nations. Women and maids of the Old Testament could freely and unconstrainedly take part in social affairs and amenities. Sara, though she called Abram as “master”, nevertheless, had persuaded him to take a concubine (Gen. 16:1-4). Rebecca had not veiled herself until she met Isaac (Gen. 24:64). Jacob greeted Rachel with a kiss before the shepherds (Gen. 29:11). Women participated in public celebrations, the songs of Miriam, Deborah, and Hannah (Ex. 15:20, 21;

“Literary Criticism – Feminism”

Judges 5 chapter, 1-Samuel 2:1-10) prove the highly developed intellectual faculties. Israeli women of the Old Testament also held official positions, such as the prophetesses Miriam, Huldah and Noadiah, and Deborah, the prophetess, who judged Israel.

As a wife, mother and mistress, women are depicted in the most attractable manner. Heathenism cannot show the portrait of the woman that is described in Proverbs, chapter 31. Israel was the first one, who was taught by God to look at mother’s heart, as the likeness of God’s heart: “can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee” (Is. 49:15). The Law of Israel had lifted woman from that humbled state she was in heathenism. Yet, along with respect and honor, Bible gives us plain call to beware of foolish (Prov. 14:1), brawling, angry (Prov. 21:9, 19) and fair women without discretion (Prov. 11:22).

First of all, woman was called to carry out duties of mother and mistress of the house. In these issues, man totally relied on her. In the house, woman could work and make decisions independently; she could manage her servants, who could belong directly to her (Gen. 16:1, 6; 29:24, 1-Sam. 25:42). Her primary responsibility was to raise children, at that mother’s covenant was equal to father’s admonitions (Prov. 1:8, 6:20). Women’s wisdom was highly valued and honored (Prov. 14:1, 31:26). Returning to Bethlehem, Naomi had the right to own the property of her husband (Ruth 4:3, 9), just as daughters had a part in father’s inheritance (Numb. 27:1-11), and Shunammite, the widow, was restored her house and field (2 Kings 8:1-6).

 In contrast to men, women were not obliged to worship in the tabernacle regularly (Ex. 23:17), however, they brought the instructed sacrifices personally; they participated in celebrations and took portions of offerings. Women from priests’ families could eat offerings of the holy things; women and girls were praising the Lord with their dances and songs (Ex.15:20. Moreover, God gives especial revelations to women: the Lord has revealed the future of her sons to Rebecca – “two nations are in thy womb … and the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:22, 23); Manoah’s wife was the first to receive the news about a son – “and the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman” (Judges 13:3); along with prophets, women were used by God to reveal His will to Israel, Miriam was the first mentioned prophetess, and “Deborah, a prophetess, she judged Israel” (Judges 4:4).

So, analyzing all the texts and the mentioned above, we see that there is no single opinion, regulation and voice in Bible verses, regarding to women. Yet, one text gives us clear explanation to this issue: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21: 25). From human side, we had seen the difference in male attitudes towards women: in some cases that were regarded as property, in others, as humans equal or with the same social rights. Sometimes, they were treated like a thing, but, in contrast, women’s wisdom, beauty, love and meekness are considered as the greatest gifts from God to men.

Anyway, in all these texts, it is obvious that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nether are your ways My ways, saith the Lord” (Is. 55:8). Due to the fall, thoughts and ways of men were perverted and devil is still making everything possible to make them wickeder; therefore, sinless relations between man and woman were totally changed, but God still looks at them the same way – the way they should be. Angels, sent to women first, prophetess, chosen to tell the will of God, offerings, brought by women – prove that God can use them, just like men, and sometimes, women were holding the same positions, even not taking into account that God is looking at Israel, as to His children, disregarding the gender, as the whole community of children of God. Therefore, the sole contrast between men’s and God’s attitude towards women lies in the notion that the fall of man brought the difference in the world and human’s perception of woman’s role in the society.

Works Cited:

Holy Bible, King James Version. Plume, 1974.

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Feminism in Lives of the Saints

Kenneth Tambuwun Ms. Barrow ENG4USB 26 October 2012 Feminism in Lives of the Saints Men and women are expected to be different. In the novel Lives of the Saints by Nino Ricci, gender roles in Italy during the 1960s affect how the characters behave. Characters such as Cristina and Vittorio are affected by living in the patriarchal society of Valle del Sole. Feminist critical theory is observed in Cristina’s strength, her independence and the society she lives in. Feminist terms such as semiotics can be applied to Cristina’s strength and it is seen during the conversations of Cristina in the car after she had been bitten by the snake. Where did it bite … I didn’t think of it” (Ricci 12). Cristina once again did not panic “My mother let out a sigh… to other people’s nonsense” (Ricci 15). Cristina is strong as her words are calm unlike what women would feel after they are bitten by a snake. Cristina goes against Phallogocentrism throughout the novel especially since she is not confined to a regular mother and she can do whatever she wants to unlike most women in the village. Cristina also shows Androgyny. “The cloth sank into … indifference to pain” (Ricci 13) and “The story about my own … ad fallen asleep” (Ricci 13). It is clear that the villagers believe that Cristina can bear pain like a man. Cristina’s strength differentiates her from the rest of the women in the story. Cristina is an independent woman as she does not rely on others because when Alfredo offered Cristina the money her husband gave her, she rejected it. “You think it’s the … need his money” (Ricci 97). After her husband left for America, she raised Vittorio by herself. Moreover, she solves her family’s problem by her own.

When Vittorio had a fight and is hurt by Vincenzo, instead of asking for help from her dad or anyone else, Cristina confronted Vincenzo’s house and clarify things up with Maria and Vincenzo. She does not want other’s help at all. When she is offered a luxurious room in the ship by Antonio Darcoangelo, she denied the room. “It’s kind of you … that kind of luxury” (Ricci 199). Cristina believes that she can survive by herself and prefers to do so without any help. Cristina’s independence goes against what gender roles had put upon women. Patriarchy can be seen throughout the novel.

Men are much respected in the village. Vittorio recalls about the memory when Mario hurled a plate towards her mother “I saw my father … against her cheek” (Ricci 32). Cristina’s husband abused her and yet she did not dare to fight back because men are expected to behave that way. High positions in the village are held by man. Vittorio describes his grandfather as “My grandfather … since the time of the fascists” (Ricci 2). A male have held the mayor position for a very long time. In addition, men have to work and do all the job whereas women will wait for their husband. “The men left … geing parents followed” (Ricci 166). Most men of the house are expected to work and find money abroad like Vittorio’s father. Valle del Sole is a society dominated by men. To sum it up, feminism can be repeatedly noticed throughout the novel. Firstly, Cristina goes against the typical women who are afraid of pain. Secondly, Cristina is an independant woman. Last but not least, Valle del Sole itself is a patriarchal society. Gender roles set upon by society causes men and women to be different in one way or another. Works Cited Ricci, Nino. Lives of the Saints. Toronto: Cormorant Books Inc, 2010. Print.

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Development of Feminism

The Feministic Movement that emerged in Europe in the 19th century was a major event that changed the perception of how females were generally thought of. The publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) and John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women (1869) ideas, social movements, and individual feminists migrated across land and sea, generating a powerful new context for the advancement of women’s rights. In this era, women’s right and emancipation were used to refer to what we today call as feminism.

Early feminists included both men and women who advocated equality for women in public institutions such as the church and the government and in the family and household. Almost all feminists advocated their right to education and literacy above everything else. These ideas were mostly fueled by major social, intellectual, economical and cultural transformations in Europe and North America. Feminist Movement has been classified into three categories or ‘waves’ by scholars.

The first wave focused mainly on women’s suffrage which was the right of a woman to vote and stand for election. Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’ described the hardships that women endured that were inflicted by men. She talked about how women were the upholders of society as they acted as mirrors to men. The first women right’s convention was held in Seneca, New York were a Declaration of Sentiments was signed that outlined the grievances of and set the agenda for women right movement. The first wave ended with the passing of the law that gave women the right to vote.

The second wave of feminism focused on gender inequality through cultures. It focused on how educated women who were housewives were dissatisfied which led them to question if that was all that there was to their life. It talked about ending discrimination and led to women enrolling in medical school and pursuing careers. The third wave of feminism dealt with developing the different achievements of women and addressing the issues of race distinction, gender violence and reproductive rights, to name a few.

The feministic movement liberated women from pre-conceived gender specific roles and their ability to make their own decisions in all walks of life. It gave women voting rights, employment opportunities and giving them the choice to have a family or not. The feminist movement continues even today with people like Gloria Steinem, Dionne Brand, Hillary Clinton, Kurt Cobain, Betty Ford, Urvashi Vaid, Sandra Oh, Naomi Wolf and Taslima Nasreen to name a few. The Feminist Movement has played a key role for the past century and continues to this day.

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Feminism in Macbeth

“Does Lady Macbeth Act Against the Stereotypes? ” Why Lady Macbeth should appear weak when Macbeth is the one to blame for being guilty? Feminism and the breaking of some stereotypes are the major themes in Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, as shown primarily through the character of Lady Macbeth. At first she is shown as a brave woman who is against the stereotypes and tries to access some male characteristics by forcing Macbeth to kill King Duncan, yet she hesitates in killing him herself, which reveals her innate weakness as a woman.

After the death of Duncan, she feels a strong guilt over the murder of her husband’s victims which makes her sick and she becomes psychotic. Lastly, she reveals her inferior nature as a woman by committing suicide which is a proof of her weakness and the failure of acting against her nature. Lady Macbeth’s effort to access male qualities fails right after she convinces her husband to commit murder and her feeling of guilt leads her to eventually commit suicide, which proves the stereotype and feminism in the play Macbeth.

In this play, one of the major characters, Lady Macbeth, acts against her nature as a woman to assume male characteristics, in order to become the queen. When she receives a letter from Macbeth that says he is willing to kill King Duncan, she talks to the spirits in her mind and says: “Unsex me here/ and fill me from the crown to the toe/ top full of direst cruelty! ” (1. 5. 46-49). In fact she wants the spirits to strip her of her feminine traits, make her strong, and let her commit a crime without regretting it in the future.

With all of these dark thoughts that she has in her mind, she still tries to act nice and compassionate in the public, so that nobody can realize what plans they have. Macbeth also wants her to act this way and he thinks that “False face must hide what the false heart doth know. ” (1. 7. 92). He tells Lady Macbeth that the face should hide what the “false heart” has inside, because he is aware of Lady Macbeth’s personality and he points it out by telling her: “Bring forth men-children only/ for thy undaunted mettle should compose” (1. 7. 0-81) which shows that he believes Lady Macbeth does not have a proper action as a woman and she only should have “men-children”, meaning boys. Her effort towards having the qualities of the opposite gender helps her to do what a woman would not usually do; it helps her to plan a murder and be the reason of it. After the stereotype’s been broken, the idea of women being weak and breakable comes up through the character of Lady Macbeth by showing her inability to kill King Duncan and the strong feeling of guilt over the murders which she helps to happen, and makes her mad afterward.

The moment Macbeth goes to her after he kills Duncan, and seems regretful of what he did, Lady Macbeth tells him: “Had [Duncan] not resembled/ My father as he slept, I had done’t” (2. 2. 16-17). She says she was not able to kill Duncan herself because he reminded her of her father. Therefore her words express the strong emotions that are still within her, and are against what she wanted to become. Right from that point, she feels the regret. Even when she is telling Macbeth that “A little water clears us of this deed” (2. 2. 85), she feels guilty about the blood on her hands.

She has “hand of Macbeth’s colors” but she feels “shame to wear a heart so white. ” (2. 2. 82-83). After a while, the feeling of being guilty makes her mad and she starts to feel blood all over her hands, yet they were clean. Even when Gentlewoman brings a doctor to see her, she talks unconsciously about the death of Banquo and the fact that “banquo’s buried;/ he cannot come out on’s grave” (5. 1. 58-59) but she still feels “Yet [there] is a spot” (5. 1. 29) of blood. And she also feels there “is the smell of blood still/ All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten [her] little hand” (5. . 46-47). The effects of regression and shamefaced make her feel insecure and mad which show her weakness and unstable personality. If she could succeed to have men qualities, she wouldn’t be suffering once she was guilty over the crime. Lastly, the failure of a woman who tries to break the stereotype is shown by Lady Macbeth’s suicide. When the doctor absorbs the sickness and madness of Lady Macbeth, he warns Gentlewoman about her situation and tells her to “look after her/ remove from her the means of all annoyances/ and still keep eyes upon her” (5. . 70-72). This is a foreshadowing that explains the cause of Lady Macbeth’s death later in the play when Seyton goes to Macbeth and says “The queen, my lord, is dead. ” (5. 5. 16). That is the moment when Macbeth realizes that her wife had committed suicide and soon he says: She should have died hereafter/ There would have been a time for such a word/ Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow/ Creeps in this petty pace from day to day/ To the last syllable of recorded time. And all our yesterdays have lighted fools/ The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle. / Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, / And then is heard no more. It is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing. (5. 5. 16-27) Macbeth’s speech is a reflection of his love for Lady Macbeth and he sees the life is nothing but a story told “by an idiot”, after Lady Macbeth’s gone. The death of Lady Macbeth makes his life meaningless and hopeless.

After trying so hard for getting the power, suddenly it’s all gone. Choosing suicide for ending Lady Macbeth’s role shows the feminism very clearly, because suicide has always been considered as the action of somebody who is weak and unable to handle the problems that she/he has got. In this play, even though Macbeth commits the crime, it’s Lady Macbeth who commits suicide and it is a prove of the stereotype that women are weak, emotional and fragile, both physically and emotionally.

Accordingly, In Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, feminism and breaking the stereotypes can be considered as the major theme which is reflected by the character of Lady Macbeth through the play. First she is shown as a strong woman and somebody who doesn’t believe in stereotypes and the ideas that woman are weaker and fragile, and she tries to act against her inferior nature as a woman as she wants the spirits to “unsex” her. In the other hand, she shows her emotional soul by hesitating in killing Duncan and once she realizes that she is the major reasons of all the murders, she gets sick and goes mad.

The feeling of being guilty and having hands immersed of blood makes her commit suicide and end the pain. Obviously Macbeth feels guilty as well but he does not committed suicide which makes him seem strong and powerful. Since suicide is always being known as a matter of weakness, giving Lady Macbeth’s character an end by a suicide is a strong proof of the stereotype and feminism in this play. Macbeth is the person who feels guilty from the first moment, so why is Lady Macbeth the one who should appear fragile and weak at the end?

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Feminism in the Late 20th Century

Chapter 4: A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist- Feminism in the Late 20th Century* DONNA HARAWAY History of Consciousness Program, University of California, at Santa Cruz 1. AN IRONIC DREAM OF A COMMON LANGUAGE FOR WOMEN IN THE INTEGRATED CIRCUIT This chapter is an effort to build an ironic political myth faithful to feminism, socialism, and materialism. Perhaps more faithful as blasphemy is faithful, than as reverent worship and identification. Blasphemy has always seemed to require taking things very seriously.

I know no better stance to adopt from within the secular-religious, evangelical traditions of United States politics, including the politics of socialist-feminism. Blasphemy protects one from the moral majority within, while still insisting on the need for community. Blas- phemy is not apostasy. Irony is about contradictions that do not resolve into larger wholes, even dialectically, about the tension of holding incompatible things together because both or all are necessary and true. Irony is about hu- mor and serious play.

It is also a rhetorical strategy and a political method, one I would like to see more honoured within socialist-feminism. At the center of my ironic faith, my blasphemy, is the image of the cyborg. A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction. Social reality is lived social relations, our most important political construction, a world-changing fiction. The international women’s movements have constructed “women’s experience”, as well as uncovered or discovered this crucial collective ob- ject.

This experience is a fiction and fact of the most crucial, political kind. Liberation rests on the construction of the consciousness, the imaginative ap- prehension, of oppression, and so of possibility. The cyborg is a matter of fiction and lived experience that changes what counts as women’s experience in the late 20th century. This is a struggle over life and death, but the boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion. Contemporary science fiction is full of cyborgs—creatures simultaneously animal and machine, who populate worlds ambiguously natural and crafted.

Modern medicine is also full of cyborgs, of couplings between organism and machine, each conceived as coded devices, in an intimacy and with a power that was not generated in the history of sexuality. Cyborg “sex” restores some of the lovely replicative baroque of ferns and invertebrates (such nice * Originally published as Manifesto for cyborgs: science, technology, and socialist feminism in the 1980s. Socialist Review, no. 80 (1985): 65–108. Reprinted with permission of the author. 117 J. Weiss et al. eds. ), The International Handbook of Virtual Learning Environments, 117–158. o C 2006 Springer. Printed in the Netherlands. organic prophylactics against heterosexism). Cyborg replication is uncou- pled from organic reproduction. Modern production seems like a dream of cyborg colonization work, a dream that makes the nightmare of Taylorism seem idyllic. And modern war is a cyborg orgy, coded by C3I, command- control-communication-intelligence, an $84 billion item in 1984s US defence budget.

I am making an argument for the cyborg as a fiction mapping our so- cial and bodily reality and as an imaginative resource suggesting some very fruitful couplings. Michael Foucault’s biopolitics is a flaccid pre-monition of cyborg politics, a very open field. By the late 20th century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized, and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs. This cyborg is our ontology; it gives us our politics.

The cyborg is a condensed image of both imagination and material reality, the two joined cen- ters structuring any possibility of historical transformation. In the traditions of “Western” science and politics—the tradition of racist, male-dominant capitalism; the tradition of progress; the tradition of the appropriation of nature as resource for the productions of culture; the tradition of reproduction of the self from the reflections of the other— the relation between organism and machine has been a border war.

The stakes in the border war have been the territories of production, reproduction, and imagination. This chapter is an argument for pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction. It is also an effort to contribute to socialist-feminist culture and theory in a post-modernist, nonnaturalist mode and in the utopian tradi- tion of imagining a world without gender, which is perhaps a world without genesis, but maybe also a world without end. The cyborg incarnation is outside salvation history. Nor does it mark time on an oral symbiotic utopia or post- oedipal apocalypse.

As Zoe Sofoulis argues in her unpublished manuscript on Jacques Lacan, Melanie Klein, and nuclear culture, Lacklein, the most terrible and perhaps the most promising monsters in cyborg worlds are embodied in non-oedipal narratives with a different logic of repression, which we need to understand for our survival. The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world; it has no truck with bisexu- ality, preoedipal symbiosis, unalienated labor, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity.

In a sense, the cyborg has no origin story in the Western sense—a “final” irony since the cyborg is also the awful apocalyptictelosof the “West’s” escalating dominations of abstract individuation, an ultimate self untied at last from all dependency, a man in space. An origin story in the “Western”, hu- manist sense depends on the myth of original unity, fullness, bliss, and terror, represented by the phallic mother from whom all humans must separate, the task of individual development and of history, the twin potent myths inscribed most powerfully for us in psychoanalysis and Marxism.

Hilary Klein (1989) has argued that both Marxism and psychoanalysis, in their concepts of labor and of individuation and gender formation, depend on the plot of original 118 unity out of which difference must be produced and enlisted in a drama of escalating domination of woman/nature. The cyborg skips the step of original unity, of identification with nature in the Western sense. This is an illegitimate promise that might lead to subversion of its teleology as star wars. The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and per- versity.

It is oppositional, utopian, and completely without innocence. No longer structured by the polarity of public and private, the cyborg defines a technologicalpolisbased partly on a revolution of social relations in theoikos, the household. Nature and culture are reworked; the one can no longer be the resource for appropriation or incorporation by the other. The relationships for forming wholes from parts, including those of polarity and hierarchical dom- ination, are at issue in the cyborg world.

Unlike the hopes of Frankenstein’s monster, the cyborg does not expect its father to save it through a restoration of the garden; that is, through the fabrication of a heterosexual mate, through its completion in a finished whole, a city and cosmos. The cyborg does not dream of community on the model of the organic family, this time without the oedipal project. The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust. Perhaps that is why I want to see if cyborgs can subvert the apocalypse of returning to nuclear dust in the manic compulsion to name the Enemy.

Cyborgs are not reverent; they do not remember the cosmos. They are wary of holism, but needy for connection—they seem to have a natural feel for united front politics, but without the vanguard party. The main trouble with cyborgs, of course, is that they are the illegitimate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to mention state socialism. But illegitimate offspring are often exceedingly unfaithful to their origins. Their fathers, after all, are inessential. I want to signal three crucial boundary breakdowns that make the following politicalfictional (political-scientific) analysis possible.

By the late 20th cen- tury in United States scientific culture, the boundary between human and ani- mal is thoroughly breached. The last beachheads of uniqueness have been pol- luted if not turned into amusement parks—language, tool use, social behavior, mental events, nothing really convincingly settles the separation of human and animal. And many people no longer feel the need for such a separation; indeed, many branches of feminist culture affirm the pleasure of connection of human and other living creatures.

Movements for animal rights are not irrational de- nials of human uniqueness; they are a clear-sighted recognition of connection across the discredited breach of nature and culture. Biology and evolutionary theory over the last two centuries have simultaneously produced modern or- ganisms as objects of knowledge and reduced the line between humans and animals to a faint trace re-etched in ideological struggle or professional dis- putes between life and social science. Within this framework, teaching modern Christian creationism should be fought as a form of child abuse.

Biological-determinist ideology is only one position opened up in scien- tific culture for arguing the meanings of human animality. There is much 119 room for radical political people to contest the meanings of the breached boundary. 1 The cyborg appears in myth precisely where the boundary be- tween human and animal is transgressed. Far from signaling a walling off of people from other living beings, cyborgs signal disturbingly and plea- surably tight coupling. Bestiality has a new status in this cycle of marriage exchange.

The second leaky distinction is between animal-human (organism) and machine. Precybernetic machines could be haunted; there was always the spectre of the ghost in the machine. This dualism structured the dialogue between materialism and idealism that was settled by a dialectical progeny, called spirit or history, according to taste. But basically machines were not self- moving, self-designing, autonomous. They could not achieve man’s dream, only mock it. They were not man, an author himself, but only a caricature of that masculinist reproductive dream.

To think they were otherwise was paranoid. Now we are not so sure. Late 20th-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and artificial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed, and many other distinctions that used to apply to organisms and machines. Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert. Technological determination is only one ideological space opened up by the reconceptions of machine and organism as coded texts through which we engage in the play of writing and reading the world. “Textualization” of everything in post-structuralist, post-modernist theory has been damned by Marxists and socialist-feminists for its utopian disregard for the lived relations of domination that ground the “play” of arbitrary reading. 3 It is certainly true that post-modernist strategies, like my cyborg myth, subvert myriad organic wholes (for example, the poem, the primitive culture, the biological organ- ism). In short, the certainty of what counts as nature— a source of insight and promise of innocence—is undermined, probably fatally.

The transcendent authorization of interpretation is lost, and with it the ontology grounding “Western” epistemology. But the alternative is not cynicism or faithlessness, that is, some version of abstract existence, like the accounts of technologi- cal determinism destroying “man” by the “machine” or “meaningful political action” by the “text”. Who cyborgs will be is a radical question; the answers are a matter of survival. Both chimpanzees and artifacts have politics, so why shouldn’t we? (de Waal, 1982; Winner, 1980).

The third distinction is a subset of the second: The boundary between physical and nonphysical is very imprecise for us. Pop physics books on the consequences of quantum theory and the indeterminacy principle are a kind of popular scientific equivalent to Harlequin romances as a marker of radical change in American white heterosexuality: They get it wrong, but they are on the right subject. Modern machines are quintessentially microelectronic devices: They are everywhere and they are invisible.

Modern machinery is an irreverent upstart god, mocking the Father’s ubiquity and spirituality. The 120 silicon chip is a surface for writing; it is etched in molecular scales disturbed only by atomic noise, the ultimate interference for nuclear scores. Writing, power, and technology are old partners in Western stories of the origin of civilization, but miniaturization has changed our experience of mechanism. Miniaturization has turned out to be about power; small is not so much beau- tiful as pre-eminently dangerous, as in cruise missiles.

Contrast the TV sets of the 1950s or the news cameras of the 1970s with the TV wrist bands or hand-sized video cameras now advertised. Our best machines are made of sunshine; they are all light and clean because they are nothing but sig- nals, electromagnetic waves, a section of a spectrum, and these machines are eminently portable, mobile—a matter of immense human pain in Detroit and Singapore. People are nowhere near so fluid, being both material and opaque. Cyborgs are ether, quintessence.

The ubiquity and invisibility of cyborgs is precisely why these sunshine- belt machines are so deadly. They are as hard to see politically as materially. They are about consciousness— or its simulation. 4 They are floating signifiers moving in pickup trucks across Europe, blocked more effectively by the witch- weavings of the displaced and so unnatural Greenham women, who read the cyborg webs of power so very well, than by the militant labor of older mas- culinist politics, whose natural constituency needs defence jobs.

Ultimately the “hardest” science is about the realm of greatest boundary confusion, the realm of pure number, pure spirit, C3I, cryptography, and the preservation of potent secrets. The new machines are so clean and light. Their engineers are sun-worshippers mediating a new scientific revolution associated with the night dream of post-industrial society. The diseases evoked by these clean machines are “no more” than the minuscule coding changes of an antigen in the immune system, “no more” than the experience of stress.

The nimble fin- gers of “Oriental” women, the old fascination of little Anglo-Saxon Victorian girls with doll’s houses, women’s enforced attention to the small take on quite new dimensions in this world. There might be a cyborg Alice taking account of these new dimensions. Ironically, it might be the unnatural cyborg women making chips in Asia and spiral dancing in Santa Rita jail5 whose constructed unities will guide effective oppositional strategies. So my cyborg myth is about transgressed boundaries, potent fusions, and dangerous possibilities which progressive people might explore as one part of needed political work.

One of my premises is that most American so- cialists and feminists see deepened dualisms of mind and body, animal and machine, idealism and materialism in the social practices, symbolic formula- tions, and physical artifacts associated with “high technology” and scientific culture. FromOne-Dimensional Man(Marcuse, 1964) toThe Death of Nature (Merchant, 1980), the analytic resources developed by progressives have in- sisted on the necessary domination of technics and recalled us to an imag- ined organic body to integrate our resistance.

Another of my premises is that the need for unity of people trying to resist worldwide intensification of 121 domination has never been more acute. But a slightly perverse shift of per- spective might better enable us to contest for meanings, as well as for other forms of power and pleasure in technologically mediated societies. From one perspective, a cyborg world is about the final imposition of a grid of control on the planet, about the final abstraction embodied in a Star Wars apocalypse waged in the name of defence, about the final appropri- ation of women’s bodies in a masculinist orgy of war (Sofia, 1984).

From another perspective, a cyborg world might be about lived social and bodily realities in which people are not afraid of their joint kinship with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory stand- points. The political struggle is to see from both perspectives at once because each reveals both dominations and possibilities unimaginable from the other vantage point. Single vision produces worse illusions than double vision or many-headed monsters.

Cyborg unities are monstrous and illegitimate; in our present political circumstances, we could hardly hope for more potent myths for resistance and recoupling. I like to imagine LAG, the Livermore Action Group, as a kind of cyborg society, dedicated to realistically converting the laboratories that most fiercely embody and spew out the tools of technological apocalypse, and committed to building a political form that actually manages to hold together witches, engineers, elders, perverts, Christians, mothers, and Leninists long enough to disarm the state.

Fission Impossible is the name of the affinity group in my town. (Affinity: Related not by blood but by choice, the appeal of one chemical nuclear group for another, avidity. )6 2. FRACTURED IDENTITIES It has become difficult to name one’s feminism by a single adjective—or even to insist in every circumstance upon the noun. Consciousness of exclusion through naming is acute. Identities seem contradictory, partial, and strategic. With the hard-won recognition of their social and historical constitution, gen- der, race, and class cannot provide the basis for belief in “essential” unity.

There is nothing about being “female” that naturally binds women. There is not even such a state as “being” female, itself a highly complex category constructed in contested sexual scientific discourses and other social prac- tices. Gender, race, or class-consciousness is an achievement forced on us by the terrible historical experience of the contradictory social realities of patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism. And who counts as “us” in my own rhetoric? Which identities are available to ground such a potent political myth called “us”, and what could motivate enlistment in this collectivity?

Painful fragmentation among feminists (not to mention among women) along every possible fault line has made the concept of woman elusive, an excuse for the matrix of women’s dominations of each other. For me—and for many who share a similar historical location in white, professional middle-class, female, 122 radical, North American, mid-adult bodies—the sources of a crisis in political identity are legion. The recent history for much of the US left and US femi- nism has been a response to this kind of crisis by endless splitting and searches for a new essential unity.

But there has also been a growing recognition of another response through coalition—affinity, not identity. 7 Chela Sandoval (n. d. , 1984), from a consideration of specific historical mo- ments in the formation of the new political voice called women of color, has theorized a hopeful model of political identity called “oppositional conscious- ness”, born of the skills for reading webs of power by those refused stable membership in the social categories of race, sex, or class. Women of color”, a name contested at its origins by those whom it would incorporate, as well as a historical consciousness marking systematic breakdown of all the signs of Man in “Western” traditions, constructs a kind of post-modernist identity out of otherness, difference, and specificity. This post-modernist identity is fully political, whatever might be said abut other possible post-modernisms. Sandoval’s oppositional consciousness is about contradictory locations and heterochronic calendars, not about relativisms and pluralisms.

Sandoval emphasizes the lack of any essential criterion for identifying who is a woman of color. She notes that the definition of a group has been by conscious appropriation of negation. For example, a Chicana or US black woman has not been able to speak as a woman or as a black person or as a Chicano. Thus, she was at the bottom of a cascade of negative identities, left out of even the privileged oppressed authorial categories called “women and blacks”, who claimed to make the important revolutions.

The category “woman” negated all non-white women; “black” negated all non-black people, as well as all black women. But there was also no “she”, no singularity, but a sea of differences among US women who have affirmed their historical identity as US women of color. This identity marks out a self-consciously constructed space that cannot affirm the capacity to act on the basis of natural identification, but only on the basis of conscious coalition, of affinity, of political kinship. Unlike the “woman” of some streams of the white women’s movement in the United States, there is no naturalization of the matrix, or at least this is what Sandoval argues is uniquely available through the power of oppositional consciousness. Sandoval’s argument has to be seen as one potent formulation for feminists out of the worldwide development of anti-colonialist discourse; that is to say, discourse dissolving the “West” and its highest product—the one who is not animal, barbarian, or woman; man, that is, the author of a cosmos called history.

As orientalism is deconstructed politically and semiotically, the identities of the occident destabilize, including those of feminists. 9 Sandoval argues that “women of colour” have a chance to build an effective unity that does not replicate the imperializing, totalizing revolutionary subjects of previous Marxisms and feminisms which had not faced the consequences of the disorderly polyphony emerging from decolonization. 123 Katie King has emphasized the limits of identification and the politi- cal/poetic mechanics of identification built into reading “the poem”, that generative core of cultural feminism.

King criticizes the persistent tendency among contemporary feminists from different “moments” or “conversations” in feminist practice to taxonomize the women’s movement to make one’s own political tendencies appear to be the telos of the whole. These taxonomies tend to remake feminist history so that it appears to be an ideological strug- gle among coherent types persisting over time, especially those typical units called radical, liberal, and socialist-feminist. Literally, all other feminisms are either incorporated or marginalized, usually by building an explicit ontol- ogy and epistemology. 0 Taxonomies of feminism produce epistemologies to police deviation from official women’s experience. And of course, “women’s culture”, like women of color, is consciously created by mechanisms inducing affinity. The rituals of poetry, music, and certain forms of academic practice have been pre-eminent. The politics of race and culture in the US women’s movements are intimately interwoven. The common achievement of King and Sandoval is learning how to craft a poetic/political unity without relying on a logic of appropriation, incorporation, and taxonomic identification.

The theoretical and practical struggle against unity-through-domination or unity-throughincorporation ironically not only undermines the justifications for patriarchy, colonialism, humanism, positivism, essentialism, scientism, and other unlamented -isms, but all claims for an organic or natural stand- point. I think that radical and socialist/Marxist-feminisms have also under- mined their/our own epistemological strategies and that this is a crucially valuable step in imagining possible unities. It remains to be seen whether all “epistemologies” as Western political people have known them fail us in the task to build effective affinities.

It is important to note that the effort to construct revolutionary standpoints, epistemologies as achievements of people committed to changing the world, has been part of the process showing the limits of identification. The acid tools of post-modernist theory and the constructive tools of ontological discourse about revolutionary subjects might be seen as ironic allies in dissolving West- ern selves in the interests of survival. We are excruciatingly conscious of what it means to have a historically constituted body. But with the loss of innocence in our origin, there is no expulsion from the Garden either.

Our politics lose the indulgence of guilt with the naivet ? e of innocence. But what would an- other political myth for socialist-feminism look like? What kind of politics could embrace partial, contradictory, permanently unclosed constructions of personal and collective selves and still be faithful, effective—and, ironically, socialist-feminist? I do not know of any other time in history when there was greater need for political unity to confront effectively the dominations of “race”, “gender”, “sexuality”, and “class”. I also do not know of any other time when the kind of unity we might help build could have been possible.

None of “us” have 124 any longer the symbolic or material capability of dictating the shape of reality to any of “them”. Or at least “we” cannot claim innocence from practicing such dominations. White women, including socialist-feminists, discovered the non-innocence of the category “woman”. That consciousness changes the geography of all previous categories; it denatures them as heat denatures a fragile protein. Cyborg feminists have to argue that “we” do not want any more natural matrix of unity and that no construction is whole. Innocence, and the corollary insistence on victimhood as the only ground for nsight, has done enough damage. But the constructed revolutionary subject must give late 20th-century people pause as well. In the fraying of identities and in the reflexive strategies for constructing them, the possibility opens up for weaving something other than a shroud for the day after the apocalypse that so prophetically ends salvation history. Both Marxist/socialist-feminisms and radical feminisms have simultane- ously naturalized and denatured the category “woman” and consciousness of the social lives of “women”. Perhaps a schematic caricature can highlight both kinds of moves.

Marxian-socialism is rooted in an analysis of wage labor which reveals class structure. The consequence of the wage relationship is systematic alienation, as the worker is dissociated from his [sic] product. Ab- straction and illusion rule in knowledge, domination rules in practice. Labor is the pre-eminently privileged category enabling the Marxist to overcome illusion and find that point of view which is necessary for changing the world. Labor is the humanizing activity that makes man; labor is an ontological category permitting the knowledge of a subject, and so the knowledge of subjugation and alienation.

In faithful filiation, socialist-feminism is advanced by allying itself with the basic analytic strategies of Marxism. The main achievement of both Marxist- feminists and socialist-feminists was to expand the category of labor to ac- commodate what (some) women did, even when the wage relation was subor- dinated to a more comprehensive view of labor under capitalist patriarchy. In particular, women’s labor in the household and women’s activity as mothers generally (that is, reproduction in the socialist-feminist sense), entered theory on the authority of analogy to the Marxian concept of labor.

The unity of women here rests on an epistemology based on the ontological structure of “labor”. Marxist/socialist-feminism does not “naturalize” unity; it is a pos- sible achievement based on a possible standpoint rooted in social relations. The essentializing move is in the ontological structure of labor or of its ana- logue, women’s activity. 11 The inheritance of Marxian-humanism, with its pre-eminently Western self, is the difficulty for me. The contribution from these formulations has been the emphasis on the daily responsibility of real women o build unities, rather than to naturalize them. Catherine MacKinnon’s (1982, 1987) version of radical feminism is itself a caricature of the appropriating, incorporating, totalizing tendencies of Western theories of identity grounding action. 12 It is factually and politically wrong to 125 assimilate all of the diverse “moments” or “conversations” in recent women’s politics named radical feminism to MacKinnon’s version. But the teleological logic of her theory shows how an epistemology and ontology—including their negations—erase or police difference.

Only one of the effects of MacKinnon’s theory is the rewriting of the history of the polymorphous field called radical feminism. The major effect is the production of a theory of experience, of women’s identity, that is a kind of apocalypse for all revolutionary standpoints. That is, the totalization built into this tale of radical feminism achieves its end—the unity of women—by enforcing the experience of and testimony to radical non-being. As for the Marxist/socialist-feminist, consciousness is an achievement, not a natural fact.

And MacKinnon’s theory eliminates some of the difficulties built into humanist revolutionary subjects, but at the cost of radical reductionism. MacKinnon argues that feminism necessarily adopted a different analyti- cal strategy from Marxism, looking first not at the structure of class, but at the structure of sex/gender and its generative relationship, men’s constitution and appropriation of women sexually. Ironically, MacKinnon’s “ontology” constructs a non-subject, a non-being. Another’s desire, not the self’s labor, is the origin of “woman”.

She therefore develops a theory of consciousness that enforces what can count as “women’s” experience—anything that names sexual violation, indeed, sex itself as far as “women” can be concerned. Fem- inist practice is the construction of this form of consciousness; that is, the self-knowledge of a self-who-is-not. Perversely, sexual appropriation in this feminism still has the epistemolog- ical status of labor; that is to say, the point from which an analysis able to contribute to changing the world must flow. But sexual objectification, not alienation, is the consequence of the structure of sex/ gender.

In the realm of knowledge, the result of sexual objectification is illusion and abstraction. However, a woman is not simply alienated from her product, but in a deep sense does not exist as a subject, or even potential subject, since she owes her existence as a woman to sexual appropriation. To be constituted by another’s desire is not the same thing as to be alienated in the violent separation of the laborer from his product. MacKinnon’s radical theory of experience is totalizing in the extreme; it does not so much marginalize as obliterate the authority of any other women’s political speech and action.

It is a totalization producing what West- ern patriarchy itself never succeeded in doing—feminists’ consciousness of the non-existence of women, except as products of men’s desire. I think MacKinnon correctly argues that no Marxian version of identity can firmly ground women’s unity. But in solving the problem of the contradictions of any Western revolutionary subject for feminist purposes, she develops an even more authoritarian doctrine of experience. If my complaint about social- ist/Marxian standpoints is their unintended erasure of polyvocal, unassimil- able, radical difference made visible in anti-colonial discourse and practice, 126

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LIBERALISM: A commitment to the individual and the desire to construct a society where people can satisfy their interests and achieve fulfilment. Summary * The term ‘Liberal’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Liber’, which refers to a class of free men, in other words, men who were neither serfs nor slaves. * It is associated with ideas of freedom and choice. * Human beings are first and foremost, individuals, endowed with reason. * This implies that each individual should enjoy the maximum possible freedom consistent with a like freedom for all. Although entitled to equal rights and political rights, they should be rewarded in line with their talents and their willingness to work. * Liberal societies are organised around the twin principles: Constitutionalism and consent. It is designed to protect citizens from government tyranny. * Classical liberalism: characterised by a belief in ‘minimal state’ function is to be limited to the maintenance of domestic order and personal security. * Modern liberalism: accept that states should help people to help themselves. Core Values: 1. The individual = Unique and Equal. Feudalism was displaced by increasingly market-orientated societies . * Individuals were encouraged individuals to think for themselves and to think of themselves in personal terms. * A serf was now a ‘free man’ and acquired some ability to choose who to work for and maybe the opportunity to leave the land altogether and look for work in the growing towns or cities. * Rational and scientific explanations gradually displaced traditional religious theories. * Society was understood from the view point of the human individuals. * However, emphasizing the importance of individual has two contrasting implications: ) Individuals are primarily defined by inner qualities and attributes specific to themselves. 2) They nevertheless each share the same status in that they are all first and foremost, individuals. Individuals were thought to posses personal and distinctive qualities: each was of special value. * Immanuel Kant expressed a belief in the dignity and equal worth of human beings. * Belief in the primacy of the individual is the characteristic theme of liberal ideology. * It lead some liberals to views society as simply a collection of individuals, each seeking to satisfy his or her own needs and interests.

A belief in an atomist society. ————————————————- Atomism: A belief that ‘society’ itself does not exist but is merely a collection of self-sufficient individuals. * Such extreme individualism is based on the assumption that the individual is egoistical, essentially self-seeking and largely self-reliant. * Macpherson (1973) – characterized early liberalism as ‘possessive individualism’ in that it regarded the individual as ‘the proprietor of his own person or capacities, owing nothing to society for them’. Modern Liberals: more optimistic view of human nature: have been more prepared to believe that egoism is tempered by a sense of social responsibility especially a responsibility for those who are unable to look after themselves. * All liberals are united in their desire to create a society in which each person is capable of developing and flourishing to the fullness of his or her potential. 2. Freedom = Individual liberty the supreme political value and the unifying principle within liberal ideology. * Classical liberals: liberty was a natural right and an essential requirement for leading a truly human existence.

It gave individuals the opportunity to pursue their own interests by exercising: the choice of where to live, who to work for and what to buy etc. Modern Liberals: Liberty as the only condition in which people are able to develop their skills and talents and fulfil their potential. Belief in the supreme importance of the individual leads naturally to a commitment to individual freedom. * Liberals do not accept that individuals have an absolute entitlement to freedom. * If liberty is unlimited it can become ‘licence’, the right to abuse others. John Stuart MILL: the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others. Therefore, he accepts only the most minimal restrictions on individual freedom and then only in order to prevent ‘harm to others’. * He described action as ‘Self-regarding’: individuals exercise absolute freedom. Other-regarding: restrict the freedom of others or them damage. * MILL does NOT accept any restrictions on the individual that are designed to prevent a person from damaging him or herself physically or morally. Although the individual may be sovereign over his or her body and mind, each must respect the fact that every other individual enjoys an equal right to liberty. * RAWLS: Everyone is entitled to the widest possible liberty consistent with a like liberty for all. * Liberals agree about the value of liberty. Not always agreed about what it means for an individual to be ‘free’. Berlin: NEGATIVE freedom and POSITIVE freedom. * Classical Liberals: Negative Freedom: Freedom consists in each person being left alone, free from interference and able to act in whatever way they may choose.

This conception of freedom is ‘negative’ because it is based on the absence of external restrictions or constrains on the individual. * Modern liberals: Positive Freedom: The ability to be one’s own master, to be autonomous. Self-mastery requires that the individual is able to develop skills and talents, broaden his or her understanding and gain fulfilment. 3. Reason = Liberal case for freedom linked closely with a faith in REASON. * The purpose of the ‘Enlightenment period’ was to release humankind from its bondage to superstition and ignorance and unleash an ‘age of reason’. Enlightenment rationalism strengthened liberal’s faith in both the individual and liberty. * Human beings are rational, thinking creatures and they are capable of defining and pursuing their own best interests. * Liberal’s belief in reason builds a strong BIAS against paternalism. ————————————————- PATERNALISM: prevent individuals from making their own moral choices and learning from their own mistakes. It creates the prospect that those invested with responsibility for others will abuse their position for their own ends. Liberals are inclined to view human history in terms of progress. Progress literally means advance, a movement forward. * In the liberal view, the expansion of knowledge, especially through scientific revolution, enabled people to understand and explain their world as well as shape it for the better. * The power of reason gives human being the capacity to take charge of their own lives and fashion their own destinies. * Reason thus emancipates humankind from the past and from the weight of custom and tradition. * Each generation is able to advance beyond the former generation’s knowledge.

This explains the Liberal emphasis on education. People can better or improve themselves through the acquisition of knowledge and the abandonment of prejudice and superstition. * Modern Liberals: Education is thus a good in itself. It is a vital mean of promoting person self development and achieving historical and social advancement. * Reason is significant in highlighting the importance of discussion, debate and argument. * * Individuals batter for scarce resources. * Businesses compete to increase profits. * Nations struggle for security

While liberals are generally optimistic about human nature, they hardly ever subscribe to the ideal doctrine of human perfectibility because the recognized the power of self-interest and egoism. The inevitable result of this would be Rivalry and conflict. The liberal preference is clearly that such conflicts be settled through debate and negotiation. * Advantage of reason: it provides a basis on which rival claims and demands can be evaluated. It highlights the cost of not resolving disputes peacefully namely, violence, bloodshed and death. * Liberals therefore deplore (criticize) the use of force and aggression.

War is invariable seen as an option of the very LAST RESORT. * Liberal perspective: the use of force is justified either on the grounds of ‘self –defence’ or as a mean of ‘countering oppressions’ but ALWAYS and only after reason and arguments have been exhausted. 4. Justice = Liberal theory of justice is based on a belief in equality. * Indicates MORAL JUDGMENT: Particularly about REWARDS and PUNISHMENTS. * Justice is about giving each person what he or she is ‘due’. * Social justice: refers to the distribution of material rewards and benefits (wages, profits, housing, medical care and welfare benefits. 1st Individualism implies a commitment to FOUNDATION EQUALITY. Human beings are seen to be ‘born equal’ = each individual is of equal moral worth, an idea embodied in the notion of natural rights or human rights. 2nd Foundation equality= implies a belief in FORMAL EQUALITY the idea that individuals should enjoy the same FORMAL STATUS in society. ————————————————- * Liberals fiercely disapprove of any social privileges or advantages that are enjoyed by some but denied to on others on the basis of factors such as gender, race, colour, screed, religion or social background. Liberalism is ‘difference blind’ A concept based on the belief that everyone is treated the same regardless of any feature specific to him or her. However, it seems self-defeating in that to treat everyone identically would have an unequal impact on different cultures thus neglecting its own purpose. By treating everyone the same, some are inevitably favoured. * * Legal Equality: emphasises ‘equality before the law’ and insists that all non-legal factors be strictly irrelevant to the process of legal decision–making. * Political Equality: embodied in the idea of ‘one person, one vote, one value’.

Underpins the liberal commitment to democracy. Most importance forms of formal equality are: (1) Legal Equality (2) Political Equality. * Liberal subscribe to a belief in equality of opportunity. Each and every individual should have the same chance to rise or fall in society. The game of life should be played on an even playing field. * However, that does not mean that reward, living conditions and social circumstances should be the same for all. * Liberals believe social equality to be undesirable because people are not born the same. They possess different talents and skills and some are prepared to work much harder than others. Liberals believe it is right to reward merit, ability and the willingness to work. It is essential to do so if people are to have an incentive to realise their potential and develop the talents they were born with. * EQUALITY (liberal view) = Individuals should have an equal opportunity to develop their unequal skills and ability. * ————————————————- Believe in Equality Belief in MERITOCRACY. * * Classical Liberals: Endorsed strict meritocracy on both economic and moral grounds. Economically, they place heavy stress on the need for incentives (encouragement/motivation).

Morally, justice requires that unequal individuals are not treated equally (e. g. A Murderer should be deprived from treated equally) * Modern liberals: social justice to imply a belief in some measure of social equality. RAWLS: argued that economic inequality is only justifiable if it works to the benefit of the poorest in society. Meritocracy = Rule by those with merit. Intelligence + effort= Merit. Therefore, a meritocracy society is one which social position is determined exclusively by ability and hard work. 5. Toleration = A willingness to accept and celebrate moral, cultural and political diversity. An acceptance of PLURALISM can be said to be rooted in the principle of individualism, and the assumption that human beings are separate and unique creatures. * Liberal preference for diversity has more commonly been associated with toleration. * VOLTAIRE: ‘I detest what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it’. * Toleration is both an ethical ideal and a social principle. It represents the goal of personal autonomy and it also establishes a set of rules about how human beings should behave towards one another. * LOCKE: The proper function of government is to protect life, liberty and property.

Therefore it has no right to meddle in the care of men’s souls. * Toleration should be extended to all matters regarded as private on the grounds that they concern moral question that should be left to the individuals. * MILL: Individual point of view: Toleration is primarily a guarantee of personal autonomy and is thus a condition of moral self –development. Nevertheless, toleration is also necessary to ensure the vigour and health of society as a whole. * Only within a free market of ideas will ‘truth’ emerge as good ideas will eventually replace bad ones and ignorance is progressively banished. Contest, debate and argument are therefore the motor of social progress. * MILL: toleration was threatened by democracy and ‘dull conformism’ which is linked to the belief that minority must always be right. * Sympathy for toleration and diversity is also linked to the liberal belief in a balanced society. Although individuals pursue very different interests, liberals hold that there is a deeper harmony or balance amongst these competing interests. These competing interests also complement one another. Each group is essential to the achievement of the other group goals. 1. The Liberal State Law and government are necessary because liberals fear that free individuals may exploit others for their own interest and advantage. * Thus, the liberty of one person is always in danger of become a license to abuse another, each person is both a threat and under threat from every other member of society. * Our Liberty requires that Individuals are restrained from encroaching on others freedom and in turn their liberty requires that they are safeguarded from us. * Liberals have traditionally believed that such protection can ONLY be provided by a SOVEREIGN STATE, capable of restraining all individuals and groups within society. Freedom can only exist under the law. * LOCKE: Where there is no law, there is no freedom. * Social Contract Theory: Rational individuals would enter into an invisible agreement or ‘social contract’ to establish a sovereign government without which orderly and table life would be impossible. Locke and Hobbs: In a ‘stateless society’ or ‘STATE OF NATURE’, human life would be ‘solitary, poor and nasty and brutish and short’ * All individuals would recognize that it is in their interests to sacrifice a portion of their liberty in order to set up a system of law otherwise their rights; lives would constantly be under threat. The social contract embodies two important liberal attitudes towards the state and political authority: 1) Political authority comes ‘FROM BELOW’. The state is created by individuals and for individuals; it exists in order to serve their needs and interests. Government arises out of the agreement of the governed. This implies citizens do not have absolute obligation to obey all the laws or accept any form of government. However, when the legitimacy of government evaporates, the people have the right of rebellion. 2) Social contract theory portrays the state as an umpire or neutral referee in society.

The state embodies the interests of all its citizens and acts as a neutral arbiter when individuals or groups come into conflict with one another. The purpose of the social contract argument is to highlight the value of the sovereign state to the individual. * Thus, the state is not created by privileged elite, wishing to exploit the masses but out of an agreement amongst all the people. * The essential characteristic of any such umpire is that its action are, and are seen to be, impartial. * Liberal thus regards the state as a neutral arbiter amongst the competing individuals and groups within society. 2. Constitutional Government Liberals are convinced of the need for government but also AWARE of the dangers that government embodies. * All government are potential tyrannies against the individual. This is based on the fact that government exercises sovereign power and poses a constant threat to individual liberty. * Liberal fear of power. As human beings are self-seeking creatures, if they have power – the ability to influence the behaviour of others – they w ill natural use it for their own benefit and at the expense of others. * Liberal position: EGOISM + POWER = CORRUPTION. * Lord Acton: Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

Great men are almost always bad men. * Liberals therefore fear arbitrary government and uphold the principle of limited government. * Government can be limited or tamed through the establishment of constitutional constraints and by democracy. ————————————————- Support for constitutional takes two forms: 1) 1. The powers of government bodies and politicians can be limited by the introduction of extern legal constraints. An example: ‘Written constitution’:- which codifies the major powers and responsibilities of government institutions within a single authoritative document.

A written constitution thus constitutes ‘higher’ law. Where neither written constitutions nor bills of rights exist, Liberal STRESS the importance of statue law in checking government power through the principle of the rule of law. 2) Constitutionalism can be established by the introduction of internal constraints which disperse political power among a number of institutions and create a network of ‘checks and balances’. A constitution: A set of rules that seeks to allocate duties, power and functions amongst the carious institutions of government.

It therefore constitutes the rules that govern the government itself. It defines the extent of government power and limits its exercise. * Other device for fragmenting government power include 1) Cabinet government (checks the power of the PM) 2) Parliamentary government (checks the power of the executive) 3) Bicameralism (checks the power of each legislative chamber) 4) Territorial divisions – Federalism, devolution and local government All liberal political systems exhibit some measure of internal fragmentation which can be achieved by applying the doctrine of separation of power proposed by Montesquieu. Separation of power: The legislative, executive and judicial powers of government should be exercised by three independent institutions thus preventing any individual or small group from gaining dictatorial power. * The principle of judicial independence is respected in all liberal democracies. 3. Liberal democracy = A form of political rule that balances the principle of limited government against the ideal of popular consent. * Liberal democracy is the dominant political force in the developed and the developing world. Its ‘liberal’ features are reflected in a network of internal and external checks on government that are designed to guarantee liberty and afford citizen protection against the state. * These goals are essentially achieved through constitutional government. * The ‘democratic’ character of liberal democracy is based on a system of regular and competitive election, conforming to the principles of universal suffrage and political equality. Core Features: 1. Constitutional government 2. Guaranteed civil liberties and individual rights. . System of checks and balances 4. Regular elections following the principle of universal suffrage: ‘one person; one vote’. 5. Political pluralism: electoral choice and party competition. 6. A healthy civil society: organized groups and interests enjoy healthy independence from government. 7. Capitalist or private-enterprise economy organized along market. Problematic concept: The hybrid nature of liberal democracy reflects a basic ambivalence (two opposing ideas/attitudes/emotions) within liberalism towards democracy. The problem is rooted in the competing implications of individualism which both embodies a fear of collective power and leads to a belief in political equality. * 19th century: Liberals saw democracy as threatening or dangerous. * PLATO & Aristotle: viewed democracy as a system rule of the MASSES at the expense of wisdom and property. * The central liberal concern has been that democracy can become the ENEMY of individual liberty. * This arises from the fact that ‘THE PEOPLE’ are not a single entity but rather a collection of individuals and groups, possessing different opinions and opposing interests. The democratic solution: the will of the majority or greatest should prevail over that of the minority. * ‘The rule of the 51%’- a concept by ALEXIS who described democracy as ‘the tyranny of the majority’. Individual liberty and minority rights can thus be crushed in the name of the people. * MADISON argued that the best defence against majoritarianism is a network of checks and balances that would make government responsive to competing minorities and also safeguard the propertied few from the property-less masses. ————————————————-

Liberals have doubts about democracy: Danger of the majority rule and makeup of the majority in modern industrial societies. * MILL: political wisdom is unequally distributed and is largely related to education. The uneducated are more liable to act according to narrow class interests where as the educated are able to use their wisdom and experience for the good of others. * MILL: insisted that elected politicians should speak for themselves rather than reflect the views of their electors and proposed a system of plural voting. GASSET: warned that the arrival of mass democracy has led to the overthrow of civilized society and moral order, paving the way for authoritarian rulers to come to power by appealing to the basest instincts of the masses. * Earliest liberal justification for democracy was found on CONSENT and the idea that citizen has a means of protecting themselves from the encroachment of government. * LOCKE: developed a limited theory of protective democracy by arguing that voting rights should be extended to the propertied, who could then defend their natural rights against government. If government through taxation possess the power to expropriate (confiscate) property, citizens are entitled to protect themselves by controlling the composition of the tax-making body. ————————————————- SLOGAN used during American Revolution – NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. * Bentham and MILL: developed the notion of democracy as a form protection for the individual into a case for UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE. * UTILITARIANISM: implies that individuals will vote so as to advance or defend their interests as they define them.

Bentham believed that universal suffrage is the only way of promoting the greatest happiness for the greatest number. * MILL: democracy in its unrestrained form leads to Tyranny but in the absence of democracy, ignorance and brutality will prevail. Liberalism in the 21st century * The high point of liberal optimism came in the aftermath of the collapse of communism. * Liberal democracy was revealed as the final solution to the problem of political organisation. There are two main reasons for believing that liberalism will continue through the 21st century, making it the century of global liberalism. ) As societies become increasingly complex and diverse, the task of maintaining political stability requires the existence of sophisticated channels of communication between government and the people that only a liberal polity can provide. 2) The advance of liberalism is closely linked to the seemingly remorseless construction of a global capitalist system. A globalized 21st century will therefore coincide with the establishment of global liberalism, in both its economic and political forms. However, liberal triumphalism

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Feminism in Hamlet

Feminism in Hamlet “Frailty, thy name is women”; Mother, thy name is greatness ?? Loyalty or betrayal, nobody can definitely point out what the truth is; but something that seems like the truth may not always be correct. Truth usually hides behind the stage and needs to be found by knowing what the characters are actually thinking. The Queen acts as a controversial character in the play “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare. She marries her husband’s brother just after her husband’s death. “Treachery”, “recreance”, “conscienceless” become the symbols of her character.

As a queen of noble lineage, she has superior power, but no access to speak freely. Everything she does is to protect her son Hamlet. The pitiful queen becomes the scapegoat in a play filled with male characters. She loves only her true husband-King Hamlet. Her weakness and sin is just a foolish pretense for male chauvinism. ?? Weakness or sagacity may on the surface appear to be just a result of a decision made on the spur of the moment. Queen Gertrude has always been a controversial character. “In 1848, Strachey called her “weak”; and Professor Nicoll declares her ‘Little more than a puppet’,” (Draper).

Is Gertrude a symbol of weakness or sagacity? According to John William Draper’s understanding of Hamlet, he offers another perspective to understanding the queen. “Can Gertrude, indeed, have been so “weak”? This interpretation apparently is based on the vague accusations of the Ghost and on Hamlet’s bitter, but also vague, reproaches, and especially on his “Frailty, thy name is women,” early in the play” (Draper). Here Draper alters the discussion around Gertrude from focus on her frailty and weakness to argue that her actions are misunderstood by male characters who do not understand the complexity of female nature.

In Act 1 Scene 2 Queen Gertrude speaks to Hamlet about her perception of the circumstances they have been placed in since her husband’s death. Gertrude clearly articulates her belief in accepting what has been lost, and the necessity for her to continue on without longing for what can no longer be. Her husband has passed and she must now make decisions she does not like in order to maintain her position as Queen, and protect her son. She says: “let thine look like a friend on Denmark. Do not forever with thy vailed lids seek for thy noble father in the dust.

Thou know’st ‘tis common; all that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity. ”(Shakespeare, 1. 2. 69-74). Gertrude speaks rhetorically to Hamlet about her desire for him to continue with his life without longing desperately for his father, as she has been forced to do. The Queen is a normal woman who must play two different roles between her new husband and her son. She is distressed herself over the inharmonious relationship between Hamlet and Claudius. She attempts to tell Hamlet this, but he is too young and stubborn to understand the position she is in as a woman.

Instead of understanding her, he forms an opinion of her being weak and frail, only thinking of herself. On one side is her husband, Claudius, who gives her comfort while she is helpless after the death of the King; on the other side is her dear son who is enraged over his father’s death. Although it appears that her motivation for marrying Claudius is selfish, she actually marries to secure Hamlet’s position as prince and maintain power over Denmark. No complaint, no grumble passes her lips, the only thing she is able to do is to tolerate it all. The reason Gertrude marries her husband’s brother is not because she loves him, or her vanity, it is because she wants to protect Hamlet. This is proven in the end of the play, when she drinks the poisonous wine which the King attempts to give to Hamlet. “Claudius treats Gertrude with unfailing consideration, respect and love; for her sake, he tries to conciliate Hamlet, though at some personal risk, and even courts discovery of his last desperate plot to warn her against the poisoned goblet. ” (Draper).

It can be argued that because of this action the Queen has discovered Claudius’ guilt and is attempting to save Hamlet from the same fate as his father. The King asks Gertrude to “not drink” (Shakespeare. 5. 2. 293) the wine, but she responds, “I will, my lord; I pray you pardon me. ”  (Shakespeare. 5. 2. 294). Gertrude is hoping that Claudius will explain himself, and prevent her from drinking the poison. This is her way of letting him know she is aware of his regicide, and is no longer willing to be his idle accomplice despite his great affection.

In saying this she is knowingly protecting Hamlet from drinking the poison, while also letting Claudius know she is on to him. ?? Hamlet describes his mother as a, “wretched, rash, intruding fool” (Shakespeare 3. 4. 32). According to the opinion expressed by Harold Bloom, “All [Hamlet’s] life he had believed in [Gertrude]… He had seen her not merely devoted to his father, but hanging on him like a newly-wedded bride, hanging on him”  (Bloom 21) However, he will never know who his mother was. Hamlet was staying abroad in England when is father died. Gertrude was helpless after King Hamlet’s death. However, Claudius gives her much comfort and encouragement, and as a result, she marries him. She sees Claudius as the reflection of the late King. As Steven Mullaney demonstrates “Remarriage might seem to resolve the threat posed by female independence. ” (Mullaney 172) Remarriage plays an ironic role in the play, Gertrude indeed does not receive any independence but rather causes the tragedy that happens. It is tragic that her son thinks she is disloyal.

Never is a statement made indicating the Queen’s knowledge of Claudius murdering his brother. She even seems to not trust Hamlet’s accusations about the King’s death because Hamlet has been behaving as if he is mad. During the conversation between she and Hamlet he tries to tell the truth, “A bloody deed-almost as bad, good Mother. As killing a king, and marry to his brother. ” (Shakespeare 3. 4. 29-30), Hamlet instead accuses his mother of having knowledge of his father’s murder. This implies that Hamlet believes the Queen is selfish and deceitful.

The Queen is confused by his accusation. “As Killing a King? ” (Shakespeare, 3. 4. 31), she asks genuinely confused by his statement, and being innocent is hurt by his censure. At the beginning of the play, the Queen ask s Hamlet to get out from the sadness of the King’s death. What no one knows is that she is trying to tell herself the same thing. She seems to ‘step out’ from the shadow of the suddenly French leave of her husband. She becomes a liar, she is silly, and childishly thinking that marrying her brother-in-law will keep her close to her husband.

The audience and other ? characters are unaware of how much Gertrude loves the late King; this is due to her being perceived as weak, frail and of a lesser moral position than the men that surround her. ?? Weakness is not a characteristic belonging to Gertrude. She is a great mother and wife, who is misrepresented to the audience vis-a-vis a one sided view- that of Hamlet. Hamlet says that he “must hold his tongue” (Shakespeare, 1. 2. 159) He acts as a male character in the play, although he is saying that he cannot express what he wants to, however he still can do what he likes.

Beavering madly, arguing with his mother and even being rude to King Claudius. Whatever how bad deed Hamlet has done, people prefer to believe “he is mad”, but Gertrude makes one decision that appears to be bad, and people call her” weak” and a treasonous wife; however her decision is also forced by the power of King Claudius, as he preys upon her fear and concern for her son and throne, convincing her that the only solution to reigning her country successfully is through another noble marriage. Sometimes, people judge others unfairly.

Gertrude is a great mother who dedicates her life to protect her son and guard the little sanctity she has. Works Cited Bloom, Harold. Bloom’s Major Literacy Character- Hamlet. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004. Print. Draper, John Wiliam. “Queen Gertrude. ” Draper, John Wiliam. The Hamlet of Shakesperae’s audience. London: FRANK CASS AND COMPANY LIMITED, 1939. 108-121. Electronic. Mullaney, Steven. “Mourning and Misogyny. ” Chedgzoy, Kate. Shakespeare, Feminism and Gender. New York: PALGRAVE, 2001. 172. Print. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. New York: New American Library, 1998. Print.