CHAPTER III A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FEMINISM When we talk about feminism, we talk about women who want to free themselves from men domination in family and society. They refuse to be treated as the “second” society and regarded as inferior. The distinction between biological sex and society constructed in gender is a key concept to understand feminist theory, which underpins the woman’s movement of the subordinate status assigned to woman in patriarchal culture. Patriarchy is the popular sense of male domination either in home or outside home and the power relation by which man dominates woman. This cultural construction of gender forms the basis for feminist demands for sex equality and woman liberation. Feminism is not only about woman’s struggle for political rights but also a system of ideas and a social movement directed toward opposing men’s privilege of position and woman subordination. This term includes redistribution of power and recognition of sex equality. Feminism is also called woman freedom in which want to get the equal right with men. As Charlotte Perkins Gilman, in Women and Economics (1898), insisted that women not be liberated until they were freed from the ‘domestic mythology” of home and family that kept them dependent on men. Cordelia Fine, in Delusions of Gender, argues that there is currently no scientific evidence for innate biological differences between men and women’s minds, and that cultural and societal beliefs contribute to commonly perceived sex differences. In the late 14th- and early 15th-century France, the first feminist philosopher, Christine de Pisan, challenged prevailing attitudes toward women with a bold call for female education and feminists proclaimed that women would be the intellectual equals of men if they were
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given equal access to education. In the late 16th century Mary Astell issued a more reasoned rejoinder in A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (1697). Astell suggested that women inclined neither toward motherhood nor religious vocation should set up secular convents where they might live, study, and teach. Feminism is an idea and movement that appose the traditional view on woman. It is about women who want to struggle to raise their status and their right in family and society. They will discuss women who want to get free from the domination of men in family and society. They refuse to be treated as the ‘second’ society and regarded as inferior. They do not want to live under the shadow of men’s power. Selden states that in pre-Mendelian days men regarded their sperm as the active seeds which give form to the waiting ovum which lacks identity till it receives the male’s impress. This idea leads to a belief that the mother is no parent to her child. Mary Ellman, in her book Thinking about Women (1968), apropos the sperm/ovum nexus above, ‘deconstructs’ male-dominated ways of seeing by suggesting that we might prefer to regard the ovum as daring, independent and individualistic (rather than ‘apathetic’) and the sperm as conforming and sheeplike (rather than ‘enthusiastic’). (Selden et.al. 1997:121) At the beginning, feminism was only a social movement, then it transformed into social theory with various theoretical forms. These terms oppose woman’s subordination after frontal challenge to patriarchal culture and social organization. It is a political label indicating support for the aim of the new woman’s movement. The movement’s history has gone through three waves, beginning in the late 18th century. The first wave was oriented around the station of middle or upper-class white women, and involved suffrage and political equality. Writers such as Virginia Woolf are associated with the ideas of the first wave of feminism. In her book A Room of One’s Own, Woolf
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“describes how men socially and physically dominate women”. The argument of the book is that “women are simultaneously victims of themselves as well as...
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