Philosophy of Feminism

Topics: Feminism, Feminist theory, Black feminism Pages: 4 (1342 words) Published: September 23, 2008
Philosophy of Feminism Final Exam

The philosophy of feminism involves attempting to use the methods of philosophy to further the cause of feminist movements. Bell hooks is a feminist who successfully does exactly that. I will discuss how Kimberlé Crenshaw’s literature Traffic at the Crossroads: Multiple Oppressions has a very similar underlying vision shared with bell hooks about what it takes to effectively liberate women in society. I will also discuss how Judith Butler’s postmodern theories in Contingent Foundations: Feminism and the Question of “Postmodernism” correlate positively with bell hooks’ ideologies in her ‘radical agenda’. I will discuss that Martha Nussbaum’s philosophical presentation of feminist movement differs from hooks’ but does contain some of the same underlying visions of how to aid in the liberation of women all over the world. Lastly I will discuss that I agree with hooks’ claim that there cannot be an effective feminist movement without liberatory feminist theory, and what liberation really entails.

The term “Intersectionality Theory” was first coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in the 1970’s but gained prominence in the 1990’s when it was reintroduced as an idea as part of bell hooks’ discussion on black feminism. This term replaced her previously coined expression “black feminist thought”, and increased the general applicability of her theory from African American women to all women. Much like her predecessor Crenshaw, hooks argues that cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society, such as race, gender, class, and ethnicity (39). According to Crenshaw, as a woman of color, experiences of class, gender, sexuality, etc., cannot be adequately understood unless the influences of racialization are carefully considered (47). Feminists Crenshaw and hooks both argue that an understanding of intersectionality is a vital element to gaining...
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