Week 4 Critical Analysis Education homework help

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1. RDSJ4: Catalano, Blumenfeld, & Hackman, Introduction (pp. 341-353) 150 words

2. RDSJ4: Johnson, Patriarchy, the System (pp. 362-367) 150 words

3. RDSJ4: Kimmel, Masculinity as Homophobia (pp. 381-386) 150 words

4. RDSJ4: Marcotte, Overcompensation Nation: (pp. 386-388) 150 words

5. RDSJ4: Kirk & Okazowa-Rey, He Works, She Works (pp.      373-374) 150 words

6. RDSJ4: National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health,      Statement on Healthcare for All (pp. 446-447) 150 words

7. RDSJ4: hooks, Feminism (pp. 359-362) 150 words

8. RDSJ4: Katz, Violence against Women is a Men’s issue, (pp.  425-429) 150 words

9.  Video: Tarana Burke on Why She Created the #MeToo Movement — Where It’s Headed 100 words


10.  Video: Panel of accomplished men discuss the #MeToo Movement 100 words

11.  Video: Yee Won Chong, Beyond the Gender Binary 100 words

12.  Video: The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies 100 words

13.  Video: Sexism, Strength and Dominance: Masculinity in Disney Films 100 words

14.  Video: Dove Evolution 100 words



bell hooks

A central problem within feminist discourse has been our
inability to either arrive at a consensus of opinion about what
feminism is or accept definition(s) that could serve as points of
unification. Without agreed upon definition(s), we lack a sound
foundation on which to construct theory or engage in overall
meaningful praxis. Expressing her frustrations with the

absence of clear definitions in a recent essay, “Towards A

Revolutionary Ethics,” Carmen Vasquez comments:

We can’t even agree on what a “Feminist” is, never mind
what she would believe in and how she defines the

principles that constitute honor among us. In key with the

American capitalist obsession for individualism and anything
goes so long as it gets you what you want. Feminism in
American has come to mean anything you like, honey.
There are as many definitions of Feminism as there are
feminists, some of my sisters say, with a chuckle. I don’t
think it’s funny.

It is not funny. It indicates a growing disinterest in feminism
as a radical political movement. It is a despairing gesture
expressive of the belief that solidarity between women is not
possible. It is a sign that the political naivete which has

traditionally characterized woman’s lot in male-dominated culture

Most people in the United States think of feminism or the
more commonly used term “women’s lib” as a movement that
aims to make women the social equals of men. This broad
definition, popularized by the media and mainstream

segments of the movement, raises problematic questions. Since
men are not equals in white supremacist, capitalist,

patriarchal class structure, which men do women want to be equal to?

Do women share a common vision of what equality means?
Implicit in this simplistic definition of women’s liberation is a
dismissal of race and class as factors that, in conjunction with
sexism, determine the extent to which an individual will be
discriminated against, exploited, or oppressed. Bourgeois white
women interested in women’s rights issues have been satisfied
with simple definitions for obvious reasons. Rhetorically

placing themselves in the same social category as oppressed
women, they were not anxious to call attention to race and
class privilege.

Women in lower class and poor groups, particularly those
who are non-white, would not have defined women’s liberation
as women gaining social equality with men since they are
continually reminded in their everyday lives that all women do

not share a common social status. Concurrently, they know
that many males in their social groups are exploited and
oppressed. Knowing that men in their groups do not have
social, political, and economic power, they would not deem it
liberatory to share their social status. While they are aware
that sexism enables men in their respective groups to have
privileges denied them, they are more likely to see exaggerated
expressions of male chauvinism among their peers as

stemming from the male’s sense of himself as powerless and

ineffectual in relation to ruling male groups, rather than an

expression of an overall privileged social status.* From the very onset
of the women’s liberation movement, these women were

suspicious of feminism precisely because they recognized the

limitations inherent in its definition. They recognized the possibility
that feminism defined as social equality with men might easily
become a movement that would primarily affect the social
standing of white women in middle and upper class groups
while affecting only in a very marginal way the social status of
working class and poor women.

Not all the women who were at the forefront of organized
women’s movement shaping definitions were content with
making women’s liberation synonymous with women gaining
social equality with men. On the opening pages of
Power: The Movement for Women’s Liberation,
Cellestine Ware, a black woman active in the movement, wrote under the
heading “Goals”:

Radical feminism is working for the eradication of

domination and elitism in all human relationships. This would
make self-determination the ultimate good and require the
downfall of society as we know it today.

Individual radical feminists like Charlotte Bunch based
their analyses on an informed understanding of the politics of
domination and a recognition of the inter-connections between
various systems of domination even as they focused primarily
on sexism. Their perspectives were not valued by those

organizers and participants in women’s movement who were more
interested in social reforms. The anonymous authors of a

pamphlet on feminist issues published in 1976, Women and the

New World, make the point that many women active in women’s
liberation movement were far more comfortable with the
notion of feminism as a reform that would help women attain
social equality with men of their class than feminism defined
as a radical movement that would eradicate domination and
transform society:

Whatever the organization, the location or the ethnic com
position of the group, all the women’s liberation

organizations had one thing in common: they all came together
based on a biological and sociological fact rather than on a
body of ideas. Women came together in the women’s

liberation movement on the basis that we were women and all
women are subject to male domination. We saw all women
as being our allies and all men as being the oppressor. We

never questioned the extent to which American women
accept the same materialistic and individualistic values as
American men. We did not stop to think that American
women are just as reluctant as American men to struggle
for a new society based on new values of mutual respect,
cooperation and social responsibility.

It is now evident that many women active in feminist
movement were interested in reform as an end in itself, not as a
stage in the progression towards revolutionary

transformation. Even though Zillah Eisenstein can optimistically point to
the potential radicalism of liberal women who work for social
reform in The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism, the process
by which this radicalism will surface is unclear. Eisenstein
offers as an example of the radical implications of liberal

feminist programs the demands made at the government-sponsor-
ed Houston conference on women’s rights issues which took
place in 1978:

The Houston report demands as a human right a full voice
and role for women in determining the destiny of our world,
our nation, our families, and our individual lives. It

specifically calls for (1) the elimination of violence in the home and
the development of shelters for battered women, (2) support
for women’s business, (3) a solution to child abuse, (4)

federally funded nonsexist child care, (5) a policy of full
employment so that all women who wish and are able to work may
do so, (6) the protection of homemakers so that marriage is a
partnership, (7) an end to the sexist portrayal of women in
the media, (8) establishment of reproductive freedom and
the end to involuntary sterilization, (9) a remedy to the
double discrimination against minority women, (10) a revi
sion of criminal codes dealing with rape, (11) elimination of
discrimination on the basis of sexual preference, (12) the
establishment of nonsexist education, and (13) an

examination of all welfare reform proposals for their specific impact
on women.

The positive impact of liberal reforms on women’s lives
should not lead to the assumption that they eradicate systems
of domination. Nowhere in these demands is there an

emphasis on eradicating the politic of domination, yet it would need to
be abolished if any of these demands were to be met. The lack of
any emphasis on domination is consistent with the liberal
feminist belief that women can achieve equality with men of
their class without challenging and changing the cultural
basis of group oppression. It is this belief that negates the
likelihood that the potential radicalism of liberal feminism will
ever be realized. Writing as early as 1967, Brazilian scholar
Heleith Saffioti emphasized that bourgeois feminism has
always been “fundamentally and unconsciously a feminism of
the ruling class,” that:

Whatever revolutionary content there is in petty-bourgeois
feminist praxis, it has been put there by the efforts of the
middle strata, especially the less well off, to move up
socially. To do this, however, they sought merely to expand

the existing social structures, and never went so far as to
challenge the status quo. Thus, while petty-bourgeois

feminism may always have aimed at establishing social

equality between the sexes, the consciousness it represented has
remained utopian in its desire for and struggle to bring
about a partial transformation of society; this it believed
could be done without disturbing the foundations on which
it rested…In this sense, petty-bourgeois feminism is not
feminism at all; indeed it has helped to consolidate class
society by giving camouflage to its internal


Radical dimensions of liberal women’s social protest will
continue to serve as an ideological support system providing
the necessary critical and analytical impetus for the

maintenance of a liberalism that aims to grant women greater

equality of opportunity within the present white supremacist

capitalist, patriarchal state. Such liberal women’s rights activism
in its essence diminishes feminist struggle. Philosopher Mihailo
Markovic discusses the limitations of liberalism in his essay,
“Women’s Liberation and Human Emancipation”:

Another basic characteristic of liberalism which

constitutes a formidable obstacle to an oppressed social group’s
emancipation is its conception of human nature. If selfish
ness, aggressiveness, the drive to conquer and dominate,
really are among defining human traits, as every liberal
philosopher since Locke tries to convince us, the oppression
in civil society-i.e. in the social sphere not regulated by the
state-is a fact of life and the basic civil relationship
between a man and a woman will always remain a battle
field. Woman, being less aggressive, is then either the less
human of the two and doomed to subjugation, or else she
must get more power-hungry herself and try to dominate
man. Liberation for both is not feasible.

Although liberal perspectives on feminism include reforms
that would have radical implications for society, these are the
reforms which will be resisted precisely because they would set
the stage for revolutionary transformation were they

implemented. It is evident that society is more responsive to those
“feminist” demands that are not threatening, that may even
help maintain the status quo. Jeanne Gross gives an example
of this co-optation of feminist strategy in her essay “Feminist
Ethics from a Marxist Perspective,” published in 1977:

If we as women want change in all aspects of our lives, we
must recognize that capitalism is uniquely capable of co
opting piecemeal change…Capitalism is capable of taking
our visionary changes and using them against us. For
example, many married women, recognizing their

oppression in the family, have divorced. They are thrown, with no
preparation of protection, into the labor market. For many
women this has meant taking their places at the row of
typewriters. Corporations are now recognizing the capacity
for exploitation in divorced women. The turnover in such

jobs is incredibly high. “If she complains, she can be

Particularly as regards work, many liberal feminist reforms
simply reinforced capitalist, materialist values (illustrating
the flexibility of capitalism) without truly liberating women

Liberal women have not been alone in drawing upon the
dynamism of feminism to further their interests. The great
majority of women who have benefited in any way from
feminist-generated social reforms do not want to be seen as
advocates of feminism. Conferences on issues of relevance to
women, that would never have been organized or funded had
there not been a feminist movement, take place all over the
United States and the participants do not want to be seen as
advocates of feminism. They are either reluctant to make a
public commitment to feminist movement or sneer at the term.

Individual African-American, Native American Indian, Asian
American, and Hispanic American women find themselves
isolated if they support feminist movement. Even women who
may achieve fame and notoriety (as well as increased economic
income) in response to attention given their work by large
numbers of women who support feminism may deflect

attention away from their engagement with feminist movement.
They may even go so far as to create other terms that express
their concern with women’s issues so as to avoid using the term
feminist. The creation of new terms that have no relationship
to organized political activity tend to provide women who may
already be reluctant to explore feminism with ready excuses to
explain their reluctance to participate. This illustrates an
uncritical acceptance of distorted definitions of feminism
rather than a demand for redefinition. They may support

specific issues while divorcing themselves from what they assume
is feminist movement.

In a recent article in a San Francisco newspaper, “Sisters
Under the Skin,” columnist Bob Greene commented on the
aversion many women apparently have to the term feminism.
Greene finds it curious that many women “who obviously
believe in everything that proud feminists believe in dismiss
the term “feminist” as something unpleasant; something with
which they do not wish to be associated.” Even though such
women often acknowledge that they have benefited from
feminist-generated reform measures which have improved the
social status of specific groups of women, they do not wish to be
seen as participants in feminist movement:

There is no getting around it. After all this time, the term
“feminist” makes many bright, ambitious, intelligent women
embarrassed and uncomfortable. They simply don’t want
to be associated with it.

It’s as if it has an unpleasant connotation that they
want no connection with. Chances are if you were to present
them with every mainstream feminist belief, they would go
along with the beliefs to the letter-and even if they con
sider themselves feminists, they hasten to say no.

Many women are reluctant to advocate feminism because they
are uncertain about the meaning of the term. Other women
from exploited and oppressed ethnic groups dismiss the term
because they do not wish to be perceived as supporting a racist
movement; feminism is often equated with white women’s
rights effort. Large numbers of women see feminism as syn
onymous with lesbianism; their homophobia leads them to
reject association with any group identified as pro-lesbian.
Some women fear the word “feminism” because they shun
identification with any political movement, especially one

perceived as radical. Of course there are women who do not wish to
be associated with women’s rights movement in any form so
they reject and oppose feminist movement. Most women are
more familiar with negative perspectives on “women’s lib”
than the positive significations of feminism. It is this term’s
positive political significance and power that we must now
struggle to recover and maintain.

Currently feminism seems to be a term without any clear
significance. The “anything goes” approach to the definition
of the word has rendered it practically meaningless. What is
meant by “anything goes” is usually that any woman who
wants social equality with men regardless of her political

perspective (she can be a conservative right-winger or a nationalist
communist) can label herself feminist. Most attempts at

defining feminism reflect the class nature of the movement.

Definitions are usually liberal in origin and focus on the individual
woman’s right to freedom and self-determination. In Barbara
Berg’s The Remembered Gate: Origins of American

Feminism, she defines feminism as a “broad movement embracing
numerous phases of woman’s emancipation.” However, her
emphasis is on women gaining greater individual freedom.
Expanding on the above definition, Berg adds:

It is the freedom to decide her own destiny; freedom from
sex-determined role; freedom from society’s oppressive re
strictions; freedom to express her thoughts fully and to
convert them freely into action. Feminism demands the
acceptance of woman’s right to individual conscience and
judgment. It postulates that woman’s essential worth stems
from her common humanity and does not depend on the
other relationships of her life.

This definition of feminism is almost apolitical in tone; yet it is
the type of definition many liberal women find appealing. It
evokes a very romantic notion of personal freedom which is
more acceptable than a definition that emphasizes radical

political action.

Many feminist radicals now know that neither a feminism
that focuses on woman as an autonomous human being
worthy of personal freedom nor one that focuses on the

attainment of equality of opportunity with men can rid society of
sexism and male domination. Feminism is a struggle to end
sexist oppression. Therefore, it is necessarily a struggle to

eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates Western

culture on various levels as well as a commitment to reorganizing
society so that the self-development of people can take

precedence over imperialism, economic expansion, and material
desires. Defined in this way, it is unlikely that women would
join feminist movement simply because we are biologically the
same. A commitment to feminism so defined would demand
that each individual participant acquire a critical political
consciousness based on ideas and beliefs.

All too often the slogan “the personal is political” (which
was first used to stress that woman’s everyday reality is
informed and shaped by politics and is necessarily political)
became a means of encouraging women to think that the

experience of discrimination, exploitation, or oppression

automatically corresponded with an understanding of the ideological
and institutional apparatus shaping one’s social status. As a
consequence, many women who had not fully examined their
situation never developed a sophisticated understanding of
their political reality and its relationship to that of women as a
collective group. They were encouraged to focus on giving voice
to personal experience. Like revolutionaries working to change
the lot of colonized people globally, it is necessary for feminist
activists to stress that the ability to see and describe one’s own
reality is a significant step in the long process of self-recovery.

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