7 Contemporary Feminist Theory

7 Contemporary Feminist Theory - Contemporary Sociological...

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Contemporary Sociological Theory Contemporary Feminist Theory Contemporary Feminist Theory: Theoretical Orientation Feminist theory is distinct from other theoretical perspectives in that it is woman-centered and interdisciplinary, and it actively promotes ways to achieve social justice. Three core questions inform feminist theory: (1) "What about the women?" (2) "Why is the social world as it is?" and (3) "How can we change and improve the social world so as to make it a more just place for women and for all people?" Feminist theorists have also started to question the differences between women, including how race, class, ethnicity, and age intersect with gender. In sum, feminist theory is most concerned with giving a voice to women and highlighting the various ways women have contributed to society. The Historical Roots of Feminist Theory Historically, feminist activity has paralleled liberation events, including the American and French Revolutions, the abolitionist movement in the 1830s, the mobilization for suffrage in the early 1900s, and the civil rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s. These historical movements of feminism are referred to as waves . First-wave feminism-including the first women's rights convention, which was held in Seneca Falls, NY, in 1848, and the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920-is characterized by women's struggle for political rights. Second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s and the third-wave feminism of today emphasize a variety of issues, including the growth of feminist organizations and publications and the increasing numbers of feminists in government, the educational system, and other professions. Varieties of Contemporary Feminist Theory Four varieties of feminist theory attempt to answer the question "What about the women?" The gender difference perspective tries to answer this question by examining how women's location in, and experience of, social situations differ from men's. Cultural feminists look to the different values associated with womanhood and femininity (e.g., caring, cooperation, and pacifism) as a reason why men and women experience the social world differently. Other feminist theorists
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This note was uploaded on 05/20/2010 for the course SOCIOLOGY Contempora taught by Professor N/a during the Spring '10 term at Open Uni..

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7 Contemporary Feminist Theory - Contemporary Sociological...

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