WCS Final Paper - December 10, 2007 Donaldson, Women,...

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December 10, 2007 Donaldson, Women, Culture, and Society Feminism and the Master’s Tools: Seeing the Oppressive Self The feminist movement during the nineteenth and early twentieth century had several women who were working for a common goal of equality between men and women. Based on the leaders of the movement, the suffrage work done by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the call for equal education by Judith Sargent Murray, it appears that political and educational equality were the means by which social equality between the sexes would occur. While women have collectively made great strives because of their hard work, gender inequality and an ideological crisis still pervades our society in a myriad of ways. Women continually face oppression in everything from representation in the media to the laws that govern their reproductive rights. In accordance with the second wave of feminism during the latter part of twentieth century, Audre Lorde’s “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference” and Diane Sampson’s “Zoe Baird and Lillian Cordero: Working Women, Illegal Girls, and the Trouble with Difference” both pose a change in the way women strive for gender equality. Unlike their feminist predecessors, both authors understand that only through recognizing and accepting differences amongst women can women adjust to seeing the perpetrator of oppression within themselves and thus strive for a more productive and all-inclusive feminist movement. 1
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Feminism is multifaceted and transcends a range of topics applicable to all women. However due to social conditioning, many women fail to admit or acknowledge their own privilege. This failure results in the pretending that differences do not exist amongst women, which subsequently undermines the ability to change our societal structures. In Lorde’s article she argues that, by examining the issues of race, class, age, and sexual orientation, women can “enrich [their] visions and [their] joint struggles” (7). However this examination cannot take place until women alter the old structures of
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2008 for the course WOMEN, AFR 101 taught by Professor Donaldson during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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WCS Final Paper - December 10, 2007 Donaldson, Women,...

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