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Feminist analysis


Feminist analysis

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Feminist analysis is the extension of feminism into theoretical, or philosophical, ground. It encompasses work done in a broad variety of disciplines, prominently including the approaches to women's roles and lives and feminist politics in anthropology and sociology, economics, women's and gender studies, Literary criticism, and philosophy (especially Continental philosophy).

Feminist analysis aims to understand the nature of inequality and focuses on gender politics, power relations and sexuality. While generally providing a critique of social relations, many proponents of feminism also focus on analyzing gender inequality and the promotion of women's rights, interests, and issues. Themes explored in feminism include discrimination, stereotyping, objectification (especially sexual objectification), oppression and patriarchy.


Feminist Film Theory

Feminists have taken many different approaches to the analysis of cinema. These include discussions of the function of women characters in particular film narratives or in particular genres, such as film noir, where a woman character can often be seen to embody a subversive sexuality that is dangerous to men and is ultimately punished with death.

In considering the way that films are put together, many feminist film critics have pointed to the "male gaze" that predominates in classical Hollywood filmmaking. Through the use of various film techniques, such as shot reverse shot, the viewer is led to align herself with the point of view of the (male) protagonist. Notably, women function as objects of this gaze far more often than as proxies for the spectator.

See Laura Mulvey's essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, which can be found here.

Feminist Legal Theory

The study of feminist legal theory is a school thought based on the common view that law's treatment of women in relation to men has not been equal nor fair. It possesses many similarities to liberal feminism, however it is not seen as an alternative to other feminist schools of thought rather than a complimenting theory.

The goals of feminist legal theory as defined by leading theorist Claire Dalton, consist of understanding and exploring the female experience, figuring out how law and institutions oppose females, and figuring out what changes can be committed to. This is to be accomplished through studying the connections between the law and gender as well as applying feminist analysis to concrete areas of law.

There are three phases in the development of feminist legal theory. Initially there was the "equality stage" where women would fight for equal rights and representation. From this women achieved the right to vote, better access to male dominated jobs, and other goals. Secondly, there was the "difference stage" where the inate female experience was taken into account. This brought about issues such as the inequity in the work environment in dealing with pregnancies, among others. Lastly, there was the "diversity phase" where the focus changed to looking at the experience of female minorities.

Literary Criticism

Feminist literary criticism is literary criticism informed by feminist theory, or by the politics of feminism more broadly. Its history has been broad and varied, from classic works of nineteenth-century women authors such as George Eliot and Margaret Fuller to cutting-edge theoretical work in women's studies and gender studies by "third-wave" authors. In the most general and simple terms, feminist literary criticism before the 1970s -- in the first and second waves of feminism -- was concerned with the politics of women's authorship and the representation of women's condition within literature. Since the arrival of more complex conceptions of gender and subjectivity and third-wave feminism, feminist literary criticism has taken a variety of new routes. It has considered gender in the terms of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, as part of the deconstruction of existing relations of power, and as a concrete political investment. It has been closely associated with the birth and growth of queer studies. And the more traditionally central feminist concern with the representation and politics of women's lives has continued to play an active role in criticism.


Modern Feminist analysis has been extensively criticized as being predominantly, but not exclusively, associated with western middle class academia.


  • Judith Butler. Gender Trouble. ISBN 0415924995.
  • Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. ISBN 0300084587.
  • Toril Moi. Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory. ISBN 0415029740; ISBN 0415280125 (second edition).

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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