Chapter 8: Feminisms and Gender Studies

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Political Science
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Chapter 8: Feminisms and Gender Studies A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature

I. Feminisms and Feminist Literary Criticism: Definitions  Patriarchal culture  Feminism as a political approach like Marxism

 There is no longer a single set of assumptions or

a homogenous feminism

II. First-, Second-, and Third-Wave Feminisms  First-wave (19th century)—political rights (Wollestonecraft,

Stanton)  Second-wave (post-World War II)—gender equality (de

Beauvoir, Millet, Friedan, Gilbert and Gubar)  Third-wave (1990s to present)—broader group of women

included (Anzaldúa, hooks, Sandoval, Rebecca Walker, Rich)  Role of Third-Space women, maternalist studies (especially

black maternalist studies)—Morrison, Alice Walker, O’Reilly

III. The Literary Woman: Created or Constructed?  Showalter’s three phases of feminism: the “feminine”

(women writers imitate men), the “feminist” (women advocated minority rights and protested), and the “female” (focus is now on women’s texts)

 Showalter’s four models of sexual difference: biological,

linguistic, psychoanalytic, and cultural  Essentialist and constructivist feminisms

III. The Literary Woman: Created or Constructed? A. Feminism and Psychoanalysis  French feminism and l’ecriture feminine  Influence of Freud and Lacan  Irigaray, Cixous, Kristeva

B. Feminists of Color  Feminists of color, like lesbian feminists, have different

concerns than mainstream white heterosexual woman, often competing; new voices, such as modern slave narrative; postcolonialism and the subaltern woman (Spivak); Anzaldúa, “The New Mestiza”

III. The Literary Woman: Created or Constructed? C. Marxist and Materialist Feminisms  Lower-class women have a different view of feminist goals as

opposed to middle- and upper-middle-class women; debate between Marxist and materialist feminisms D. Feminist Film Studies  “Male gaze”; social construction of female identity (Marx);

Mulvey and de Lauretis  IV. Gender Studies  Gender Studies: false binaries; Queer Theory; Sedgwick and


IV. Gender Studies  False binaries  Queer Theory

 Sedgwick and Warner

V. In Practice A. The Marble Vault: The Mistress in “To His Coy Mistress”  Grotesque attack on female body disguised as a love lyric

B. Frailty, Thy Name Is Hamlet: Hamlet and Women  Hamlet cannot resolve his Oedipus Complex to become a

mature man  He loathes the female body  Heilbrun on Gertrude: how we read Gertrude determines how

we read Hamlet

V. In Practice C. “The Workshop of Filthy Creation”: Men and Women in Frankenstein  Femininity = Life, Masculinity = Death; Victor appropriates female role

but fails 1. Mary and Percy, Author and Editor  In Mary’s life, due to her miscarriages and the suicides of family

members, death and life were horribly mixed; novel is artistic resistance by a woman against a patriarchal family, husband, and society; Percy’s role is debatable 2. Masculinity and Femininity in the Frankenstein Family  Family, gender, and parental roles are skewed

3. “I Am Thy Creature. . .”  Victor fails at being a father to the Creature: “’I was thy Adam’”

V. In Practice D. Men, Women, and the Loss of Faith in “Young Goodman Brown”  Hawthorne’s women characters are superior to his male characters;

story’s sexuality

E. Women and “Sivilization” in Huckleberry Finn  Strong women characters like Mrs. Loftus; Jim’s maternalism

F. “In Real Life”: Recovering the Feminine Past in “Everyday Use”  Motherhood and sisterhood; quilt as symbol of black women’s

creativity and family history; narrator: a womanist

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