Famous Feminist Oakley
Feminist theorists show how feminine gender roles and dominant ideologies of femininity have been restricted for women and how society shows inequality for gender roles (Fulcher and Scott, 2007). This article shows feminists views on certain areas and how different aspects of life begin to show gender inequality:
Sue Sharp (1994) well known feminist looked at primary socialisation: the way children are raised within the home environment (Fulcher and Scott, 2007). Sharp found that young girls were encouraged to be mothers or wives achieving nothing but domestic labour where men were encouraged to be the ‘bread winner’ (Fulcher and Scott, 2007) Ann Oakley also stated “Women’s sense of identity is bound upon from childhood but not so for men or little boys” continued with “It isn’t in love that women are lost, it’s in families” (Oakley, 1984) Even when women are working outside the home a women’s job often seems to be an extension of caring roles and looking after others; receptionists, secretaries, nurses and teachers (Brown, 2005). This is secondary socialisation.
Feminists understand ‘woman’ differently: not as a sex term, but as a gender term that depends on social and cultural factors (Mikkola, 2012). Simone de Beauvoir feminist speaker claimed that one is not born, but becomes a woman (Browne and Browne, 2008) implying one is taught to behave like a woman or a man. Traits like aggression and strength are thought to be masculine traits however an individual is socialised into learning how to act feminine or masculine through predetermined gender roles of society (Browne and Browne, 2008). This is primary socialisation.
Feminists look at certain biological factors such as: women giving birth and rearing children (Haralambos and Holborn, 2008). Some feminists see women's subordination is fundamentally caused by their role in reproduction (Satz, 2013). They understand that a woman is the carrier of the child however the argument feminists put across is that a woman should not be treated unequally in the aftermath of birth (Satz, 2013). For example a woman is given up to a year maternity leave to nurture the child whereas the male figure is only given a short duration of time to take off work which implies that the female as the carrier should be the one to play the domestic role. Historically, men have exercised enormous power over women's bodies through controlling their sexuality and reproduction (Satz, 2013).
Feminists argue that language can contribute to making women invisible (Saul, 2012). Terms such as ‘he’ and ‘man’ which are classed as gender-neutral words hide women's importance, distracting attention from their existence (Saul, 2012). Fighting the invisibility of women is an important feminist project (Saul, 2012) and the contribution of language is just another aspect feminists intend to tackle. The terms ‘he’ and ‘man’ are thought to distract attention from women as there is psycholinguistic evidence that shows people who use the terms ‘he’ and ‘man’ think more readily of males rather than females (Saul, 2012). With this evidence feminists object to the ‘gender-neutral’ use of these terms as it constitutes a symbolic insult to women. Not all language is seen to hide women however such words as ‘actress’ and ‘manageress’ objectify women in the feminist view (Saul, 2012). The use of the ‘ess’ on the end of the word shows that it is a female. However the ‘ess’ also implies that the norm for the job role is in actual fact a male, it implies that the woman is deviant for fulfilling the role of a manager or being recognised as an ‘actor’ (Saul, 2012).
This article shows how feminists perceive the gender inequality for women, how women are treated differently in socialisation, according to home life and predetermined roles. Discussed also is gender inequality shown through masculine and feminine traits. Feminists believe that society teaches people how to behave, not that an individual should be able to express themselves without the judgement of predetermined roles. It asks we not only look at roles within the home and work yet also in language and biology; how the woman is still sanctioned in everyday language and how a woman is to bear and raise a child through the biological means yet then pushed forth into society as main carer. Feminists fight to make a woman become as equal as a man and this article only evidences few perceived gender equality issues.
Feminism Speech: Emma Watson
Feminism Speech: Emma Watson