Feminism and Classical Sociology 1999
Feminists, third world or post-colonial analysts, identity theorists, writers with new approaches to sexuality, and post-modernists argue that the classical approaches are incomplete, misleading, or inadequate.
Feminists and analysts of sexuality argue that classical sociologists were male writers with a male centred and conventional analysis of women, family, and sexuality.
One general line of criticism of feminists is that women are absent from the social analyses and social world of classical sociology. The language and analysis of classical sociologists is that of men, male activities and experiences, and the parts of society dominated by males. Marx, Weber, and Durkheim were typical of nineteenth century European writers who assumed that the social world was primarily that of male activities.
Women generally became restricted to the private sphere of household and family, and had limited involvement in political, economic, or even social public life
While some women were involved in more public activities, there were movements to restrict the participation of women in public life – for example, factory legislation and the family wage.
First, women in late nineteenth century England were not recognized as individuals in either the legal or the liberal theoretical sense. Men still held formal power over the rest of the family, and women were mostly excluded from the public sphere. Mill and Taylor, along with some early United States feminists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, argued that the equality of women required full citizenship for women. This would include giving women enfranchisement. After 1865, when Mill was in the English Parliament, he fought for women's suffrage. He also fought "to amend the laws that gave husband s control over their wives' money and property." He also supported the campaign for birth control information to be available, and was active in other campaigns that were aimed at assisting women and children. (Eisenstein, p. 128).
Patriarchy is a system of oppression and domination of women by men
Helen Roberts and Diana Woodward
Changing patterns of women’s employment in sociology: 1950-80 The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Dec., 1981), pp. 531-546 Blackwell Publishing
Moving on to more recent surveys of the profession, it becomes clear that there has not been a substantial improvement in the employment of prospects for women in sociology, although the subjective situation of women sociologists has probably been improved through the support of Women’s Caucus and increased attention to sexism in the subject matter of sociology. (531)
The cumulative evidence of the invisibility of women in knowledge which has been constructed primarily by men, from a male perspective and about men, makes salutary reading (531)
In all the social sciences and some of the physical and natural sciences there has been documentation of the way in which women have been omitted and excluded from the production of knowledge (531)
“As early as 1972 in her paper ‘My Four Revolutions’, Jessie Bernard was asking not what sociology can do for women, but rather what women (and sympathetic male colleagues) can do for sociology.”
The applied fields in which women are encouraged to specialize are the least prestigious areas and those least likely to be considered as appropriate preparation for an academic career. (535)
Spender, D. (1985). For The Record. London: The Women’s Press Limited
In the late 1950s men were the sources of public knowledge about women. It was men who formulated the theories about women, who made the pronouncements and proffered the advice on how women should live their lives. It was mainly men who wrote...