Session 1 Gender and Feminist perspectives (2016)Apunte Inglés
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SESSION 1: GENDER AND FEMINIST PERSPECTIVES
Gender: Social construction of sexuality. Not biological, it is cultural and social. We need to put
into question some assumptions.
Sex and Gender Sex: biological differences. Sex characteristics, chromosomal difference.
Gender identity and expression: How masculine or feminine a person feels, and how he or she expresses those traits to others. Culturally and socially constructed difference between men and women.
“Gender refers to the socio-cultural construction of the sexual difference between men and women and the subordination of the latter. Gender roles, like attributes and beliefs about what is “appropriate” for each gender, vary historically and geographically; they are not homogeneous within the same society, and they intertwine with other aspects of identity, such as class, ethnic origin, sexual preferences, legal status, etc.” (World Health Organization, WHO).
Stereotypes are affecting us, but we cannot lead these to prejudices and discrimination.
Traditional view: binary distinction (man/women, male/female, masculine/feminine).
Current perspective: more than two categories: - Intersex people (variation in sex characteristics): surgery -> mutilation? - Gender identity and transgender people - Gender identity ≠ sexual orientation Different realities - Work: productive/reproductive work, domestic work, etc.
- Family life: women’s responsibilities, double burden.
- Poverty: increasing feminization of poverty.
- Education: illiteracy rate, access to higher levels of instruction.
- Health and nutrition: sexual and reproductive health, disparities in child nutrition.
- Violence: men and women are exposed differently.
- The public and policy making: under-representation of women.
Feminisms: social movement + certain belief in equality + diverse theories.
First wave feminism (19th century): (some) women began to agitate for the right to vote and participate in government and law making. The abolitionist movement of slavery was started by the suffragist. They challenged laws that denied them the right to their property once they were married. The purpose: equal treatment of women and men under the Law and voting rights for women.
Second wave feminism(1960 – 1980’s): Their goal: improving women’s Access to education, employment and benefits, as well as reproductive rights. It started during the Second World War, replacing men. In the US: women’s liberation movement, civil rights movement, gay liberation movement.
Theoretical perspectives Before 1970 women weren’t allowed to go to university. As a consequence, there’s no academic female work.
1970 feminist scholars: - Biological sex / socio-cultural gender.
- Women / women’s experiences.
- Sociological and historical emphasis.
1980’s: - Postmodern theories: critiques of racism, heterosexism.
- Women marginalized from feminist theories.
- Influence of scholars in philosophy and literature.
Liberal Feminism It is shared with liberalism with the following ideas: - Human equality - Individual rights - Human rationality Gender role socialization I the primary source of women’s oppression. They emphasize political, social, legal and economic equality between women and men. Inequality stems from the denial of equal rights.
Radical Feminism Reason for women’s subordination: patriarchy or male dominance. The status quo operates with the male model as the norm. Male power and privilege is the basis of social relations.
Women’s oppression is the most widespread, deepest and causes the most suffering. Provides a conceptual model for understanding all other forms of oppression.
Marxist feminism Consider that the problem is capitalism. Division of labor is related to gender roles and women’s subordinated class status. View women’s oppression as stemming from their work in the family and economy.
Socialist feminism Combine radical and Marxist feminisms. Patriarchy & capitalism are linked; both being exploitative.
Postmodern feminism Reject fixed categories (all women are…) and universal concepts in favor of multiple truths: - The needs and perspectives of non-Anglo, non-Western, and no-affluent women must be considered.
- Women’s issues change across cultures and across time; no single feminist voice or perspective.
Examine the effects of discourse and symbolic representation on claims about knowledge.
Multiracial feminism Gender is not separated from race. Race creates also gender. It was pioneered by non-white women who recognized the need to construct approaches to studying gender that attended to issues of power and difference. It emphasizes “race as a power system that interacts with other structured inequalities to shape genders”. Intersectionality: multiple identities (?) Controversies among feminist Anti-pornography feminists argue that pornography fosters violence against women.
Liberal feminists, in contrast, emphasize free speech rights Prostitution / sexual work: abolitionists and pro-rights for sexual workers Supportive of no-drop policies / women’s autonomy before the CJS What is a feminist perspective? There are different feminist theories, but all of them have in common: - To be a “woman” is not natural/biological - Subordination - Discrimination - Law is patriarchal / sexist / discriminatory Why are feminist perspectives useful for analyzing/working in the CJS? It increases knowledge of CJS: wider knowledge of reality and make visible hidden realities.
Policy options: how the CJS deals with women and LGTB people. More effective and adequate interventions.
Legitimacy of CJS: a just system treats people equally. Rule of law – humans rights – no discrimination.