Feminism definition and notes for the BA English Students of BBMKU and VBU and other autonomous universities of Jharkhand. Get all English notes in Jpathshala.com the no.1 place for the English Honours Student. Leave your suggestion in the comment box to help for the improvement of the services.
What is Feminism?
The term feminism can represent a social, cultural, political or economic movement motive to establish rights of equality and legal protection for women. Feminism is a political and sociological theory and philosophy that deals with gender differences. It also includes a movement that promotes gender equality for women and campaigns for women’s rights and interests.
Although the terms “feminism”, and “feminist,” were not widely used until the 1970s they were being used in the common parlance even earlier. Katherine Hepburn, for example, speaks of the “feminist movement in Woman of the Year in 1942. Maggie Humm and Rebecca Walker classified the history of feminism into three waves:
- The first feminist wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
- The second was in the 1960s to 1970s.
- The third extends from the 1990s to the present.
Feminist theory emerged from these feminist movements. It can be seen in many disciplines, including feminist geography, feminist history, feminist literary criticism, and feminist literature. The dominant perspectives of Western society have been altered by feminists. Feminist activists ran campaigns for women’s legal rights (rights to contract, property rights, and voting rights), for women’s bodily integrity, autonomy, for abortion rights and reproductive rights, for women and girls’ protection from domestic violence, sexual harassment, work rights including equal pay and maternity leave; and against misogyny and other forms gender-specific discrimination against them.
Most feminist movements and theories were dominated by middle-class, white women from North America and Western Europe during much of their history. Women of other races have offered alternative feminisms since Sojourner Truth’s speech in 1851 to American feminists. The Civil Rights movement in America and the fall of European colonialism, in Africa, the Caribbean, and parts of Latin America and western Asia, accelerated this trend in the 1960s. Women in the Third World and former European colonies have been advocating “Post-colonial” or “Third World” feminists since then. Chandra Talpade Mohanty and other Postcolonial Feminists are critical of Western Feminism for being Ethnocentric. This view is shared by black feminists like Alice Walker and Angela Davis.