An introduction to feminism

Those historians use the label " protofeminist " to describe earlier movements.

An introduction to feminism

Introduction Feminism brings many things to philosophy including not only a variety of particular moral and political claims, but ways of asking and answering questions, critiques of mainstream philosophical views and methods, and new topics of inquiry.

Feminist contributions to and interventions in mainstream philosophical debates are An introduction to feminism in entries under "Feminism, interventions". Entries covered under the rubric "Feminism, topics" concern philosophical issues that arise as feminists articulate accounts of sexism, critique sexist social and cultural practices, and develop alternative visions of a just world.

In short, they are philosophical topics that arise within feminism. An introduction to feminism there are many different and sometimes conflicting approaches to feminist philosophy, see "Feminism, approaches to"it is instructive to begin by asking what, if anything, feminists as a group are committed to.

Considering some of the controversies over what feminism is provides a springboard for seeing how feminist commitments generate a host of philosophical topics, especially as those commitments confront the world as we know it.

My goal here will be to sketch some of the central uses of the term that are most relevant to those interested in contemporary feminist philosophy. For an overview of the history of feminist thought see: The references I provide below are only a small sample of the work available on the topics in question; more complete bibliographies are available at the specific topical entries and also at the end of this entry.

Some feminists trace the origins of the term "feminism" in English as rooted in the movement in Europe and the US beginning with the mobilization for suffrage during the late 19th and early 20th century and refer to this movement as "First Wave" feminism.

More recently, transformations of feminism in the past decade have been referred to as "Third Wave" feminism. However, other feminist scholars object to identifying feminism with these particular moments of political activism, on the grounds that doing so eclipses the fact that there has been resistance to male domination that should be considered "feminist" throughout history and across cultures: One might seek to solve these problems by emphasizing the political ideas that the term was apparently coined to capture, viz.

But this too raises controversy, for it frames feminism within a broadly Liberal approach to political and economic life. Although most feminists would probably agree that there is some sense of "rights" on which achieving equal rights for women is a necessary condition for feminism to succeed, most would also argue that this would not be sufficient.

Given the controversies over the term "feminism" and the politics of circumscribing the boundaries of a social movement, it is sometimes tempting to think that there is little point in demanding a definition of the term beyond a set of disjuncts that capture different instances.

However, at the same time it can be both intellectually and politically valuable to have a schematic framework that enables us to map at least some of our points of agreement and disagreement. For an overview of different philosophical approaches to feminism, see "Feminism, approaches to".

Normative and Descriptive Components In many of its forms, feminism seems to involve at least two claims, one normative and the other descriptive. The normative claim concerns how women ought or ought not to be viewed and treated and draws on a background conception of justice or broad moral position; the descriptive claim concerns how women are, as a matter of fact, viewed and treated, alleging that they are not being treated in accordance with the standards of justice or morality invoked in the normative claim.

Together the two claims provide reasons for working to change the way things are; hence, feminism is not just an intellectual but also a political movement. So, for example, a Liberal approach of the kind already mentioned might define feminism rather simplistically here in terms of two claims: On this account, that women and men ought to have equal rights and respect is the normative claim; and that women are denied equal rights and respect functions here as the descriptive claim.

Admittedly, the claim that women are disadvantaged with respect to rights and respect is not a "purely descriptive" claim since it plausibly involves an evaluative component.

However, my point here is simply that claims of this sort concern what is the case not what ought to be the case. Disagreements within feminism can occur with respect to either the descriptive or normative claim, e. Disagreements between feminists and non-feminists can also occur with respect to both the normative and descriptive claims, e.

Others disagree about the background moral or political views. In an effort to suggest a schematic account of feminism, Susan James characterizes feminism as follows: Feminism is grounded on the belief that women are oppressed or disadvantaged by comparison with men, and that their oppression is in some way illegitimate or unjustified.

Under the umbrella of this general characterization there are, however, many interpretations of women and their oppression, so that it is a mistake to think of feminism as a single philosophical doctrine, or as implying an agreed political program.

JamesJames seems here to be using the notions of "oppression" and "disadvantage" as placeholders for more substantive accounts of injustice both normative and descriptive over which feminists disagree.

Some might prefer to define feminism in terms of a normative claim alone: Of course this qualification might be and is used for various purposes, but one persistent usage seems to follow the qualification with some claim that is hard to distinguish from claims that feminists are wont to make.

If we see the identification "feminist" as implicitly committing one to both a normative stance about how things should be and an interpretation of current conditions, it is easy to imagine someone being in the position of wanting to cancel his or her endorsement of either the normative or the descriptive claim.

Or one might be willing to acknowledge in a very general way that equality for women is a good thing, without being committed to interpreting particular everyday situations as unjust especially if is unclear how far these interpretations would have to extend.This refreshing, inclusive overview focuses on the practice of feminism with coverage of actions and activism, alongside a clear and critical introduction to the theory.

An introduction to feminism

It explores a range of approaches and analyses key terms to equip readers with a critical understanding of the vocabulary of feminist benjaminpohle.coms: 1. Feminism An Introduction to Intersectionality. Let me be straight with you. Even just the introduction (which I read) is a great summary of the theory of intersectionality.

Feminism, Feminism Tagged With: advocacy, privilege, racism, sexism, The F-Word. An Introduction to FeministPhilosophy shows how feminist thinking on these and related topicshas developed since the s.

The book also explains how feministphilosophy relates to Reviews: 2. Feminism? You want feminism? Which brand would you like? Feminism -- Definitions of Terms. Index of Terms. Preamble. Whatever positive image the word feminist may have had, it has been tarnished by those who have made it their own, and I, for one, am content to leave the militants in full possession of the term.

— Dale O'Leary in her book. So what is. feminism anyway?. Is it possible to make sense of the complex and often contradictory debates?

In this concise and accessible introduction to feminist theory, Chris Beasley provides clear explanations of the many types of feminism.

An introduction to feminism

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