Saturday, September 29, 2007

WS 200-Betty Friedan

The Woman in History that I chose is Betty Friedan. She was born February 4, 1921 in

Peorie, Illinois as Bettye Naomi Goldstein. She graduated high school in 1938 only to further her

career at Smith College. She graduated cum laude in 1942. She was a very intelligent woman

whose training was as a psychologist however she did not pursue that career. She married Carl

Friedman in 1947. They changed their last name by dropping the "m". Betty and Carl had three

children: Emily, Daniel, and Jonathan. Betty divorced Carl in 1969 due to spousal abuse. She

became quite an activist for women's rights. She also became a powerful writer. She wrote "The

Femine Mystique" in 1963 which actually made her quite famous. It was a very controversial

best seller that transformed women's lives forever which started the second wave of feminism. Over

three million books were sold by the year 2000. This book exposed sexism and opened

womens' eye's to the importance outside the home, not just inside. This was a major

accomplishment for Betty as she touched so many lives. In 1966, Betty was the co-founder of

NOW (National Organization for Women). She was the first president from 1966-1970. She was

not in favor of homosexuality issues at first but later changed her stance on the issue. Betty also

wrote the following books: It Changed My Life in 1976, The Second Stage in 1981, The

Fountain of Age in 1993, Beyond Gender in 1997, and her autobiography Life so Far in 2000.

In 1971, with the help of some others, Betty founded the National Women's Political Caucus.

She also assisted in the founding of NARAL (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion

Laws) which is now known as Naral Pro-Choice America. In 1993, Betty was inducted into the

National Women's Hall of Fame, a major accomplishment. She was instrumental in social

activism in the area of pursuing unisex help wanted ads and stressing the need for women to be

in the fields of politics, medicine, clergy, and the military. Betty's goal in life was to eliminate

discrimination for all women.

The first time that I heard about Betty Friedan was this summer in my Modern America history

class. I find this rather interesting as she accomplished so much for women and the sections in

my book about her were not large. She teaches me the importance of never giving up on my

dreams and standing up for what you believe in. Ironically, Betty died on her birthday in 2006.

The research I used for this blog came from internet sites: Wikipedia, NOW, New York Times,

and American Workers. For further study and information about Betty, I would recommend

reading her books, articles at as well as other organizations she assisted.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Abigail Adams by Kristina Beale

Abigail Smith Adams was born on November 11, 1744 and died on October 28, 1818. Abigail was the wife of our second president, John Adams. She was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts to William Smith and Elizabeth Quincy. She received no formal education, but her mother taught her and her sisters to read and write and she enjoyed reading from her father’s extensive English and French library of books. She married John Adams at age 20 and gave birth to five children over the course of ten years: Nabby, John Quincy (future president), Susanna, Charles and Thomas.

She is best remembered for the letters that she wrote to John while he was away at the Continental Congress. Most famous was her letter entitled, “Remember the Ladies,” in which she urges John, “...remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

Abigail and her family moved to Paris in 1784 where she fulfilled her role as First Wife to the United States Minister to the King of Great Britain. The Adams family returned to Massachusetts in 1788. Abigail was very good friends with Martha Washington and her experiences abroad helped her secure her place as a valued social entertainer for the political world.

While John was away from home, Abigail managed to take care of the house, collect taxes, and perform other duties that were completely out of her authority as a woman such as hiring and firing of staff of her household and engaging her children (including daughter Abigail/Nabby) to pursue their own paths and march to their own beat. Abigail took charge of whatever task lay in front of her. She spoke to John in ways most women wouldn’t dare address their husbands at that time and she questioned him. She urged John to think and John valued her opinion and often asked her thoughts. This was a most unconventional marriage and most unconventional woman. You have to think that some of this had to rub off on her children and those they surrounded. She advocated educational opportunities for girls to be the same as those for boys.

Abigail was appointed to the Massachusetts Colony General Court in 1775 along with two other women to question those women in their colony who were against the independent movement and remained loyal to the British crown. Abigail was the first First Lady to hold any sort of official political office.

I first heard of Abigail Adams in a history class that I took a few years ago. I was assigned to read a book about her—a book I still hold dear because it changed my thinking in general. I think the most important thing that studying her life has taught me is that you should always strive for what you believe in and not what is necessarily popular opinion. You should always stick to your convictions and spend your life with someone who respects what you have to say—much as she did with her husband. This is something tremendous because it was so unlikely to have a partner who so understood you and respected your opinion as a woman during this time period.

*****For further study, I highly recommend this book first: Abigail Adams, An American Woman by Charles Akers

Abigail Adams, A Biography by Phyllis Lee Levin

Also: The Letters of John and Abigail Adams by Frank Shuffelton

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Susan B. Anthony by Rebecca Tirabassi

Susan B. Anthony was described, by almost every source, as a powerful speaker and activist in the 19th century who was ahead of her time. Her Quaker father, who believed that girls should be afforded the same education as boys, was greatly responsible for developing her strong confidence as a young woman and leader. Wikipedia described her as a “well-educated, American civil rights leader, who played a pivotal role in securing women’s suffrage in America.”

She was born in Adams, Massachusetts in 1820 and traveled all over the United States and Europe during her lifetime, finally settling (and dying) in Rochester, New York in 1906.

Susan B. Anthony accomplished more in her lifetime than most of us could dream of achieving! She opposed slavery and abortion, took firm moral and political stands (including becoming a leader in the Temperance Movement), gave up to 100 speeches a year for over 45 years, co-founded the National Women’s Suffrage Association in 1869 (NWSA), and co-published a weekly periodical, The Revolution, from 1868-1870. She is most known for writing the Susan B. Anthony Amendment in 1878 which later became the Nineteenth Amendment, passing in 1920—giving women the right to vote. She was highly honored in 1979 as the first real woman to appear on an American coin—the Susan B. Anthony dollar!

Her entire life was devoted to eliminating discrimination and oppression, and not just for women. She was decidedly outspoken—and not passive when she believed in a cause, including her positions on slavery and abortion. Interestingly, in 1997, The Susan B. Anthony List, (a 501.c.4—a not-for-profit membership organization with a connected political action committee) reorganized with the focus to raise money to “train pro-life activists to run successful grassroots and political campaigns. . .work to dispel myths about abortion. . . educate voters. . .and elect more pro-life women in Congress through the Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund PAC.”

Though I had certainly heard of Susan B. Anthony, I didn’t choose her name because I remembered any of the prominent details about her life. Having chosen her name (almost) randomly, my research primarily opened my eyes to how a woman of faith and strong conviction who is persistent and focused can—over decades—achieve improbable, if not impossible goals. Anthony’s courage and resilience undoubtedly has paved the way for all American women to be leaders and activists in any era.

Most significantly, because of Susan B. Anthony, American women can vote! Through her achievements, she paved the way for women to acquire unlimited higher education, become founders of activist organizations and/or publishers of printed resources, thus impacting and activating the masses.

I was personally inspired by the fact that what she fought so hard to acquire, what she so passionately believed in and what she gave her entire life to achieve—the suffrage of women—she would not personally see come to pass in her lifetime. Among her many motivational quotes, one seemed to dictate her pursuits: “Failure is impossible.” She died years before the Nineteenth Amendment would pass, proving that her plight was not for her benefit alone. She fought for the rights of all American women who would follow after her!

Her indomitable perseverance and selflessness gives me courage to fight for what I believe whether or not I live to see it become a reality or reap the harvest of the hard work!


Monday, September 10, 2007

Blog # 2 Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman
Pretty women wonder where my secrets lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit, A fashion models size
But when I start to tell them, they think I'm telling them lies. I say,
It's in the reach of my arms, the span of my hips,the stride of my step, the curl of my lips.
I'm a women...phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,that's me.
Now you understand just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing it ought to make you proud.
I say, it's in the click of my heels, the bend of my hair,the palm of my hand ,the need of my care,Cause I'm a woman...phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, that's me.
~ Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was born in 1928. She is a poet, memorist, actress and important American Civil Rights Movement figure.
She may be best known for her writing and autobiographical material.
She didn't speak from age 8 until age 13 after a man who abused her was beaten to death by her uncles and she felt her words had killed the man.

She was deeply involved with Civil Rights and Fell in love with and moved her son to be with him in South Africa. She was also great friends with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

Maya Angelou was appointed by three president to different positions. She read her poem"On the Pulse of the Morning" at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton. It was only the second time in history that a poet was asked to read. President Kennedy was the first.

Maya Angelou was honored by many academic organization however, she never attended college. She has received several doctorates from major universities.

Maya Angelou was married briefly and had one son who is also a poet. She uplifts women and civil rights in most of her writings, poems and films. Maya Angelou became more visible and her works acknowledged through her friendship with Oprah Winfrey.
She continues to strive to raise her voice for all women and equal rights for all mankind.

Oprah Winfrey's Legends Weekend 2007-05-28 -

Friday, September 7, 2007

Lesbian Feminism

Pamela Fletcher
September 7, 2007
Joelle Ryan
Blog Entry #1
Lesbian Feminism

Lesbian Feminism is a cultural movement that was most prevalent in the 1970's and early 1980's questioning women and homosexual's proper place in society. Lesbian feminism differ from other forms of feminist because they advocates lesbianism as a direct result of dissatifaction with patriarchy, capitalism and colonialism. They also believe in denaturalizing heterosexuality.

I do not believe that lesbianism is created based on choice, and becasue they were resisting patriarchy because I think their is so much more involved than "being stubborn" and choosing against heterosexuality.

One radical lesbian feminist, Sheila Jeffreys, defined lesbian feminist with having seven key components:
*Emphasis on women's love for one another
*Separatist organizations
*Community and ideas
*Idea that lesbianism is based on choice
*Idea that the personal is political
*A rejection of heirarchy
*Critique of male supremacy

Many people believe all feminists are lesbians, therefore all lesbians are on the same "page" with their beliefs. But interestingly enough, Sheila Jeffreys is very controversial in, and outside, of lesbian feminism beliefs stating she is too stringent with the preceding components.

Sheila Jeffreys

WS 200 Blog #1: Sex-Positive Feminism

Elena Funk
7 September 2007
Joelle Ryan
WS 200 H 001
Blog Entry #1: Sex-Positive Feminism
Sex has always seemed to be a sensitive issue in the public eye. It became a heated discussion in the early 1980s between the newly dubbed anti-sex feminists and sex-positive feminists when there was a view of “patriarchal control over sexuality” (Corbin). Over time and with help from several passionate feminists sex-positive feminism has grown into a branch of feminist movement with distinct core values and beliefs. Exploring the components of sex-positive feminism will give me better insight as to what kind of feminist I am becoming.
To understand sex-positive feminism one must find a definition. Wikipedia offers the following: “Sex-positive feminism centers on the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women’s freedom.” In general, the view that sex is something to be shameful of is rejected. Conflict arises through the interpretation of “sexual freedom.” While some may see this a women being able to have as many sexual partners as they please without retribution it could also be seen as men and patriarchal women having “free and easy access to sex without… protocol, courtship, and responsibility” (Nickel). Some key issues of this type of feminism include opposition to control of any kind over sexual activities and that sexual minorities are seen as valuable members who “[endorse] the value of coalition-building” (“Sex-positive feminism”). Sex-positive feminism differs from other types of feminism in that its prime concern is the acceptance of every human’s bodily needs. Sex is seen as a natural human function and however a person wishes to fulfill their sexual desires is acceptable in the eyes of sex-positive feminists.
My relation to sex-positive feminism is just being realized, but I do fully agree with one of its core values: sexual freedom. I believe it is wrong to restrict a person’s sexual activities due to gender, race, or sexual preference. Each human has basic needs and being sexually fulfilled is one of them. I would not personally practice some of methods that are used to satisfy one’s sexual desires, but to each his or her own. If a person finds they can reach orgasm by dressing up as a fox and having “fuzzy sex” with another human dressed as a rabbit that is their choice and I would not try to say it cannot be done. In reality I would be better settled if I started seeing more gay/lesbian couples at the pool I lifeguard at than the usual heterosexual couples. I see no shame in an individual’s sexual desires so I find it shameful that the general public would try to control someone’s individuality. Another important facet of sexual freedom, mainly for women, is safe and dependable birth control. In her book Feminism is for Everybody Bell Hooks describes this as a necessity for women to have “full control of the outcome of sexual activity” (Hooks 86). I certainly agree with this because I have and still use such precautions before coming into sexual contact with my partner. Not having spent copious amounts of time studying and practicing sex-positive feminism I cannot say I am a cut-and-dry sex-positive feminist, but having learned about a few key issues I believe I am well on my way to fully accepting this branch of feminism.
Researching different components of sex-positive feminism has helped me begin to realize the type of feminism my personal traits embody. I believe each person is entitled to sexual freedom and should not be persecuted or controlled in regards to their sexual activities. While I would not be sexually active in the manner some people are, I do not see their actions as shameful. For feminist movement to be fully realized by everybody each subtype of feminism must be understood and respected by society. Sex-positivity may be a sensitive issue now and for some time, but through widespread understanding a society can exist where women, men, lesbian, transsexual, and many more are viewed on an equal sexual plane.

Works Cited
Corbin, Kat. “Cutting off your Nose to Spite your Face.” Serendip 15 Dec. 2005. 6 September 2007
Hooks, Bell. Feminism is for Everybody. Cambridge: South End Press, 2000.
Nickel, Lucky. “On Sex Positiveness.” Feminista! Volume 6 No 1. 6 September 2007
“Sex-positive feminism.” Wikipedia. 6 September 2007 <

Additional Resources
Sex Positve Literature
Benjamin, Jessica (1983). Master and Slave: The Fantasy of Erotic Domination. In Ann Snitow,
Christine Stansell, and Sharon Thompson (Ed.), Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality, pp. 460–467. New York (Monthly Review Press).
Califia, Patrick (2003). Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism. Pittsburgh (Cleis Press).
Easton, Dossie and Catherine A. Liszt (1998). The Ethical Slut. CA: Greenery PressGerhard,
Jane. (2001). Desiring Revolution: Second-Wave Feminism and the Rewriting of American Sexual Thought, 1920 to 1982. New York: Columbia Univ Pr.
Greer, Germaine (1999). The Whole Woman. New York (Knopf.)
Hopkins, Susan. Girl Heroes: The New Force In Popular Culture. Annandale NSW: Pluto Press
Australia, 2002.
Leidholdt, Dorchen and Raymond, Janice (1990) The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism
(Pergammon Press)
Levy, Ariel (2005). Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. New York:
Free Press.
MacKinnon, Catharine (1987). Feminism Unmodified. Cambridge (Harvard University Press).
McElroy, Wendy (1995). XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography. New York (St. Martin's Press).
Paul, Pamela (2005). Pornified: How Pornography is Transforming Our Lives, Our
Relationships, and Our Families. New York: Times Books.
Queen, Carol (1996). Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture. Pittsburgh (Cleis
Raymond, Janice (1979). The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-male". Teachers College
Rubin, Gayle (1984). Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality. In
Carole S. Vance (Ed.), Pleasure and Danger: exploring female sexuality, pp. 267–319. Boston (Routledge & Kegan Paul).
Strossen, Nadine (2000). Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's
Rights. New York (New York University Press).
Willis, Ellen (1992a). Feminism, Moralism, and Pornography. In: Ellen Willis, Beginning to See
the Light: Sex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University PressWillis, Ellen (1992b). Lust Horizons: Is the Women's Movement Pro-Sex? In: Ellen Willis, No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays. Wesleyan University Pr.
Wolf, Naomi, Feminist Fatale:a reply to Camille Paglia, The New Republic, March 16,1992

Advocacy Articles
"The Prime of Miss Kitty MacKinnon" by Susie Bright, East Bay Express, October 1993. (archived at Susie Bright's Journal (website))
"A Feminist Overview of Pornography, Ending in a Defense Thereof" by Wendy McElroy,
"From a Sexually Incorrect Feminist" by Wendy McElroy, Penthouse, July 1995. (archived at
"Obscene feminists: Why women are leading the battle against censorship" by Annalee Newitz, San Francisco Bay Guardian, May 8, 2002.

Feminists for Free Expression
Feminists Against Censorship
Sex Worker Outreach Program

Liberal Feminism- Erin Hoyt

Liberal feminism “focuses on women’s ability to show and maintain their equality through their own actions and choices.” Active liberal feminists are ones who take part in legislation, fighting for rights that they believe both men and women should have, such as equal pay and equal jobs. Liberal feminists believe that they can take their own actions in order to change our society to represent feminist thinking istead of having to completely alter our society to take a feminist stance.
I do agree with this feminism to the point that individuals can make a change for feminism with the choices they make daily, but I do think it is neccesary to make feminism a bigger deal and have gatherings and such to support it. I’m not saying liberal feminists are against that but they are more about inidividuals taking a stance and fighting for political rights for women.
I’d have to say that I do not consider myself a liberal feminist, yet at the same time I do. I don’t because I don’t fight for political rights as I should, I honestly tend to stay away from politics all together. Howver I suppose I do consider myself to be one because from day to day, being a very independent woman, I find myself striving to even do the smallest things ensure my equality and respect.
Some liberal feminist writers include Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill. Some helpful websites include: and

Postmodern Feminism by Rebecca Tirabassi

Postmodern Feminism, to one who has been newly introduced to the study of feminism, is abstract. In my research, an article by Emmy Kurjenpuu from the University of Helsinki titled, "Women’s Magazines Meet Feminist Philosophy," I was encouraged that even experts in the field struggled to completely grasp Postmodern Feminism. Her admission that “The abstract of post-modern feminism…” made it …"difficult, even impossible, to make comparisons.”[1] This immediately gave me some relief in my quest to learn more on the subject!

Postmodern thought originated in France after WWII, and impacted culture, art, and society "en masse" with a general disillusionment and negative reaction to tradition which quickly spread to Western culture. The wave of postmodern thought that captured art, religion, philosophy, architecture, and law has been characterized as “lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, and interconnectedness or interreferentiality.”[2]

Blending Postmodern thought with Feminism as explained in Wikipedia is the largest departure from other types of Feminism because of “the argument sex is itself constructed through language.”[3] The most out-spoken feminine activist and post-structuralist philosopher, Judith Butler, author of Gender Trouble (1990) dissects and “criticizes the distinction drawn by previous feminisms between (biological) sex and (socially constructed) gender.”[4]

Concepts by Frug, Butler, and other leaders in Postmodern Feminist thinking caused me to realize that I had to define many of the common phrases familiar to Feminist thinkers before I could fully understand Postmodern Feminism. I had to start at the beginning of First, Second and Third-wave Feminist philosophy before I could actively engage in this discussion. By better understanding each of the three waves of Feminism, I uncovered that Postmodern Feminism, by virtue of definition, though it “resists characterization, it is possible to identify certain themes or orientations that postmodern feminists share.”[5]

Mary Joe Frug, who is often called the mother of Postmodern Feminism and author of A Postmodern Feminist Legal Manifesto detailed at least two principles of Postmodern Feminism: (1) human experience is located “inescapably within language,”[6] and (2) “sex is not something natural, nor is it something completely determinate and definable. Rather sex is part of a system of meaning, produced by language.”[7]

Another author, in her article (and website) dedicated to the discussion of Feminism, Heather-Noel Schwartz further identified themes within Postmodern Feminism by which I could envision its entrance into Feminist philosophy. She gives Postmodernism credit for unveiling the “oppressive structures that are built into feminist theories.” She states that Postmodernists answer the problems of Feminism that fail to “include the diffuse perspectives of various women. Postmodernism answers these problems by deconstructing everything and forcing feminists into a corner.”[8]

I particularly enjoyed how Schwartz was adamant that Feminist discussion should always lead to activism. I appreciated how she discussed purposeful movement and solutions, rather than permitting a reversal or impediment of Feminism by its members. Her suggestion allowed civil discussion to prevail: “Activism is therefore able to serve the interests of Feminists by allowing the gender category ‘woman’ to exist as a historically temporary position of protest.”[9]

In comparing Postmodern Feminism to the First, Second and Third waves of Feminism, I found Jan Hill’s (May 3, 2006) article on Postmodern Feminism at to articulate in very manageable and agreeable terms how this type of Feminism is compatible with Second Wave Feminism. She wrote, “In reality, these groups are compromised of individuals and subgroups with many differing experiences and perspectives. . .We know that women—all women—need to experience equality from a place that recognizes difference and is not threatened by it. . .Group members are called to use their collective voice to make visible those who have been hidden, to bring lived equality to others, and to know that all of us, regardless of body parts, are diminished when another’s voice is silenced.”[10] This sounds, feels, and impresses me as a noble and passionate approach to all of life!

In conclusion, I am so new to the study of Feminism that I cannot yet determine where I “stand!” At this time and in general, though, I would not say that I am a “Postmodern” thinker. But as someone who has many times felt oppressed, discounted, and ignored because I am a woman, I find myself as a willing and eager sojourner who is listening and learning with great openness to the entire Feminist philosophy.

Sources and Resources:

[1] Emmy Kurjenpuu, University of Helsinki, Women’s Magazine Meet Feminist Philosophy, p. 121

[6] Mary Joe Frug, “A Postmodern Feminist Legal Manifesto,” Harvard Law Review, Vol. 105, No. 5 (Mar 1992), pp. 1045-1075.


French Feminism - Casey Page

French feminism is the work of a group of feminist in France from the 1970's to the early 1990's. They are however distingused from the anglo-saxon feminist because they take a different approach. Their approach which is once more philosophical and more literary. Its writings are effusive, metaphorical and conceptually rich, rather than pragmatic. They are not concerned about getting an immediate political doctrine out or a "materialism" which is not of the body. Some of their themes would include anti-essentialism, ecriture feminine and a critque of phallogocentrism. The ecriture feminine is basically gendered women writing. It places the experience befor language. It started in the 1970's by man french female writers and later european women writers.

Luce Irigaray was a famous french feminist. Her work exposed the masculine ideology underlying language and gestures toward the "new" feminine language that would allow women to express themselves. She also challenged the idea of the two gender categories being one which was male. She wanted there to be two separate sexes and them to be equal.

Helene Cixous was also a famous french feminist. She was a professor at the University of Paris VIII, which she helped found and also this university housed the women's studies program. The progam was the first in all of Europe.

Any of these ladies, their goal was just to get the women ideologies out there and not try get something done about it. I think I rather be a french feminist because I think knowledge is power and in America, the feminist are about getting things done. Just getting the word out can do a lot, the french had a good idea with that.

Chantal Chawaf
Catherine Clément
Hélène Cixous
Luce Irigaray

Postcolonial Feminism

Worldwide, feminism is alive and well. One school of thought is postcolonial feminism. This type of feminism developed when women that had been colonialized by white Western domination began to stand up to the rules that went along and were forced upon them such as gender equality and oppression. Postcolonial feminists strive to kep thir own cultural identities intact wthout being Westernized. Because postcolonial feminists attempt to maintain their foreign identitythey are looked down upon by other feminists.Western feminists tend to see their progression with feminism and alienate foreign thought as if it is inferior. This idea of domination is counter productive to women who certainly know what they want and how they can achieve equality in their culture.
Postcolonial feminists have every right to defend the methods they chose to achieve the equalities they desire, especially in their culture. It is not up to Westerners, who have very racist views from having to take over and dominate, to decide behaviors in other lands that they have little, if any at all, knowledge about. I see myself as supporting feminism in other countries to the point of allowing women to decide for their particular culture.

Trans-Feminism (Transgender Feminism)/ Marianne Moscato

Trans-Feminism is defined by Wikipedia as, the application of transgender discourses to feminist discourses, and of feminist beliefs to transgender discourse. It also concerns the establishment of transfeminism within mainstream feminism, having specific content that applies to transgender and transsexual people, but much of which is also applicable to all women. In other words trans-feminist believe that each person has the right to define their own identity and should be respected no matter how they identify themselves. On the other hand many traditional feminists believe that trans issues do not belong in feminism. They say this because they believe people who are only born women can identfy with women. I disagree with that statement because many women go through life with having identity issues, and people can always relate and see in other people if they really want to and try. I do not agree with traditional feminist because they are part of the feminist group to reach equal rights and equal chances, but at the same time they are being hyprocrytical judging and discrimating against a group of people.

Since I do not live that type of life style I could not consider myself to be a trans-feminist. However I am not saying I do not see their view points with wanting equal rights and a chance to be heard. I am not saying I disagree with their lifestyle however I cannot relate with them and their feelings because I have never been in their situation. But I do believe that each person has a right to be heard and no one should be discriminated against on the way they identify themselves. It is simply a lifestyle that they can indentify with, and many people go through life unable to find their own true identity. Therefore it shows how strong of an identity transgender individuals have with knowing themselves and should be given the right to express it.

resources: 1)

Denise Haggerty, Third Wave Feminism

For this blog post I choose to write about third wave feminism. Third wave feminism was a movement in the 1990's that came about because of the failure of the second wave feminists to spread the message of feminism and to clear up the backlash that the second wave feminists had caused. One of the main tenets to Third wave feminism is it's views on gender and sexuality. That is to say that Third wave feminists are people who had the luck of growing up with equality and later learned about gender roles and feminism. This third wave feminism is different from other more traditional types of feminism because the third wave feminists grew up with a sense of equality and later gained a better understanding of feminism. These third wavers learned how to integrate a new feminist view and continued to mature and better understand these views in college. They brought a new approach to feminism.
The core value of gender in the third wave movement is the one that I most identify with. The idea of how our gender affects our values and beliefs and how this influences our choices in life and our thoughts toward feminism is something I agree with. I agree with this view of gender playing a role in peoples views of feminism and femininity. I have had experiences in my daily life of how gender roles influence how people act and treat me. I would even go as far as to say that I am a third wave feminist.
For this blog I used the website and also a book called Third Wave Agenda by Leslie Heyword. I also used a website called I think some of the people who best represent third wave feminism are people like Anita who was important in the beginning of the third wave movement. Other feminist leaders who were important to the third wave movement were Gloria Anzaldua, Bell Hooks, and Chela Sandoval just to name a few of the amazing women who helped bring third wave feminism to life.

Cultural Feminism/ Brittany Westerbeck

Cultural Feminism focuses on biological differences between genders and works to add status to usually undervalued female attributes. They promote the theory that not only are women's differences physically, psychologically, and emotionally unique, but superior to men's. Examples of what they focus on are childbirth, menstruation, the idea that women are more about "love" and less about "war." Cultural feminism works to make men and women equal by cherishing these ways of thinking and qualities that only women possess. Instead of focusing on differences between men and women in a negative light, they see these differences as positive and try to make men and women feel better about them.
I think cultural feminists have a great point. Instead of fighting for women's equality with war, why not fight it with love and understanding? They live up to their ideals in that way, men won't feel so "defensive" about feminism and are more likely to understand and listen, and everyone ends up more educated in the end. I think it's great that they focus on menstruation and childbirth as positive things. It will help all the young girls who think it's "weird" not to because it's not weird, but perfectly normal, and makes you better than men in that aspect. Men don't get to feel that special bond between mother and child. I think that's something important to focus on when discussing why women should have equal rights. I could be willing to call myself a cultural feminist but without thinking that these attributes make women "better." Unique is a great word, but not better.


Jane Addams
Linda Alcoff
Maggie Humm

Islamic Feminism/ Jacqui Duthie

Islamic feminism became more visible to the public eye in the 1990s. Islamic feminism deals with the women’s role in Islam. Their beliefs or values are gender equality, women’s rights and social justice. Islamic feminism want men and women in the Islamic world to be equal in both the public eye and private side, behind closed doors.

Islamic feminism is not different from other types of feminism, all feminism want equality but Islamic feminism focus on the role of the women in Islamic world. They want the women’s role to be on the same level as men and to be treated the same. However, in the Muslim culture there is no interaction with men and women, so Islamic feminist want that to change. This is different from other feminism.

I would have to agree with the Islamic feminism. I believe that men and women should be equal in a society. Men and women should not be separated from each other in the public or private lives. The Islamic women have something to offer other than being a wife and a mother. However, I would not call myself an Islamic feminist. I believe that being a Islamic feminist is for the Islamic woman. I would just call myself a supporter.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Third World Feminism

My type of feminism is third world feminism. Obviously, it deals with women in the third world countries. However, it is important to define, in feminisms terms, what a third world country actually is. Third world countries are: “A group of 145 developing countries of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, that are characterized by low levels of living, low-income per capita, low education provisions, poverty, and starvation.” (1). It is also important to note that third world feminism deals with extreme and taboo topics. Some of these topics include: footbinding in China, sati (Self-immolation by Hindu widow on the funeral pyre of her husband) in India, veiling in Middle East, and female genital cutting in Africa. These, among many other things, makes third world feminism a truly unique form of feminism. Also, this form of feminism is deeply rooted in the specific local and historical regions throughout third world countries that tend to me overlooked.
Moreover, the core tenets of third world feminisms are the very similar to the common form of feminism found in the west. Women in third world countries desire equality, in society, work, religious settings, and personal relationships. However, for women in the third world they face horrible and inhuman conditions that are much worse than most other women in the US face. To see an example of this check out this site on female genital mutilation (no graphic pictures):
I can say with certainty that I believe in the main tenet of third world feminism that women should be treated equally in all aspects of society. I think it is especially important in these countries where women are mutilated and have no rights at all. However, I do not agree with the terminology of “third world feminisms”. I think “third world feminism” is a catch all phase for any women movement in a poor country. Moreover, it does not separate different groups of women that live in totally different cultures. It ignores the fact that the world is a heterogeneous mix of people, cultures, ideas, and traditions. I defiantly think there should be multiple sub-groups under third world feminism.
Lastly, I would call myself a third world feminismist because I think that it is crucial that these women be recognized and treated how they are supposed to be treated. It is very sad in this day and age that women are treated so terribly throughout the world.

Third World Traveler. (date unknown). Third World: Definitions and Descriptions.
Retrieved January 17, 2001 from the World Wide Web:
Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. (1991). Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses. In Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Ann Russo, & Lourdes Torres (Eds.). Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
I would defiantly check out this website:, it provides excellent information about a wide variety of topics in third world feminism.

Second-Wave Feminism

Second-wave feminism is the period of time of feminist activity between the 1960’s and the 1980’s. “The movement encouraged women to understand aspects of their own personal lives as deeply politicized, and reflective of a sexist structure of power. If first-wave feminism focused upon absolute rights such as suffrage, second-wave feminism was largely concerned with other issues of equality, such as the end to discrimination and oppression.”
I feel that this type of feminism doesn’t really differ from most. The core of most or all feminist movements is the liberation and validation of women. Because of this the second wave feminism does not vary from other types of feminism. I wouldn’t say that I was a second-wave feminist because I did not experience any of these movements in the time period in which this was a popular phenomenon. Had I been old enough to experience these things I feel as though I would have done so. I feel that the equality of women does not come in phases with time. Ever since the beginning of feminism the goal has been to make women an equal. Because of such movements as the first, second, and third waves of feminism women are one step closer to truely becoming equals in the home, work, and educational world.
In researching this topic along with searching, I also received a bulk of information from speaking with my mother and aunt on the topic, because this was a time period that they would be very familiar with. I feel that internet is a great way to find information but hearing first hand from someone who lived through the times is the best source of information.

Marxist Feminism / Tyler Van Drei

Marxist feminism, as with all Marxist theories, bases all the blames of feminism on the system of capitalism. According to Wikipedia and Marxist idealists, capitalism is the root of women's oppression because of the fact that it "gives rise to economic inequality, dependence, political confusion and ultimately unhealthy social relations between men and women." Marxist feminists believe that by eliminating the capitalist style of American society women's oppression would be removed. According to Marxist theories any type of oppression is wrong.

Personally, I do not agree with any of Karl Marx's theories. Marxism should be called what it really is, and that is communism. Many people consider Marx one of the leaders who brought about communism with his ideas and writings. Communism is the government of such countries as North Korea and China, where the government basically runs your life and everything that you can do. That is why Marxist feminism seems to work, because with communism everyone except for the leaders are equal to the rest. Except to have Marxist feminism you must have a communist type of government that will enforce those beliefs and that is where my disagreement comes.

Karl Marx is obviously the most influential person in the creation of Marxist feminism. The biggest group of people that practice Marxist feminism are called "Radical Women," they consist of the largest group of supporters. Some websites that I found explaining Marxist feminism are the Wikipedia page found here:, also this page has some good information on it:

Radical Feminism by Heather Holley

Radical feminism is defined by Wikipedia as “current within feminism that focuses on patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships producing a male supremacy that oppresses women.” So, in simple English that would mean that the political system is set up so that men are the rulers and women are forced to be subordinate to the men. They want to overthrow the patriarchy because they believe the main oppressor of women is the patriarchal gender roles; and those roles need to be opposed in order to lose the oppression that has been plaguing women for so long. The main part of radical feminism is that they believe the political structure and the societal structure is focused on male-based dominance, and that women must change that to free them of their bonds. Unlike other feminism, which are rooted in race, class and so forth, radical feminism is focused on the patriarchy and patriarchal gender roles.
In the 1960’s when the wave first began Radicals called for sexual freedom and that women do not need to be tied to one partner. In 1968, during the Miss America pageant Radical Feminist threw high-heeled shoes into a “freedom can” and in the 70’s they organized a sit in at the Ladies Home Journal. As you can conclude from the actions presented by Radical Feminist, they tend to be more militant than other portions of feminism.
There were three types of Radical Feminist and I will describe in a nut shell; Red Stockings: held an anti-psychological view, and that oppression was continual and deliberate and that family was a male tactic used to oppress women. They also blamed women that were considered to be in collaboration with oppression. Feminists were idealist and agreed that marriage, family and prostitution should be destroyed. They acknowledged that genitalia focused sexuality on the male more so than the female. The New York Radical Feminist believed that the oppression was psychological and men only dominated because of ego. And that conditioning of women throughout the years had led to the reason why women were oppressed.
I have to say I don’t agree with radical feminist in any way. The idea that you should be able to have sex with whomever you choose, I agree; however, I do not agree on the idea that you should just sleep with whomever whenever. I also don’t believe that society has made men oppress women, I believe that women differ in their ideas of oppression. Many see the homemaker as an oppressed position whereas others would rather be the homemaker; it is a matter of choice not oppression. I also do not see the correlation of gender roles and women succumbing to males. To me, women and men are equal, either one can stay at home or work, make the big bucks or like to fish. I do not agree with the idea that society creates the environment for domination, in a society where women have shelters and options and women can be boxers and fighters I do not see how we are portraying women as weak people that cannot take care of themselves. I would never be able to say that I am a radical feminist, I do not agree on most of the issues.

Echols, Alice. American Culture #3: Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967-1975. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Prolife Feminism

What is pro-life feminism? Pro-life feminism is defined as the opposition to abortion based on feminism. This viewpoint asserts that abortion is not a necessary right but instead hurts women more than it benefits, that abortion does not empower women. Early feminists and feminist pro-life groups see abortion as:"a tool used by patriarchal culture to keep women in submission," that abortion is an evil, forced upon women by men. Some feminists feel that abortion can never be a right; "when society considers abortion as a solution, then society has let that woman down by giving her the only violent choice of abortion, this act of violence kills an innocent person and harms the woman physically and psychologically." A true feminist wants and demands true reform, that women have the tools needed to have children and have a career, since financial difficulty is one of the main reasons women give for having an abortion. Women who were given true respect and equality would not need abortion as a choice.

Feminism to me is a woman's right to choose whatever she wants to do or be within the limits of not hurting someone else. I do not feel abortion should be used as a form of birth control! If a couple is going to have sexand they do not want children then they should be diligent about using birth control. I don't believe that it is only the woman's responsibility for birth control, but if she does not want to get pregnant then be sure to use birth control period! and the need for abortion! I guess I would have to say I am a Pro-choice feminist. I feel a woman should have the right to choose period!
My resources for this were the internet, Wikipedia, some of the names mentioned in the article that I used were early feminist, such as, Susan B. Anthony, and one who is famous, actress Patricia Heaton.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Jewish Feminism by Andrea Ensley

The type of feminism I chose was Jewish Feminism. It is similiar to other feminism types as they are interested in advocating equal rights for women. However, due to the religious aspects of Judaism, women are not valued or seen as equal to men. The Jewish culture is very male dominated and rigid in their beliefs. Therefore, Jewish feminists not only seek equality for women but also social status and religious rights. It differs from other types of feminism because of the religious base. Jewish feminists do not bash religion. At least, what I have read. They desire better conditions and rights for women. Judaism is very important in the lives of jewish women and men. That is their culture and their lifestyle. Jewish feminists are also pushing for legal rights for women.

One of the core values of Jewish feminism is the importance of Jewish women being able to commence divorce proceedings. Judiasm does not allow women that right. I am in complete agreement with this need for change. I am not an advocate for divorce however I know there are times when no other options are available. In male dominated cultures like Judaism, the women suffer physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse with little or no recourse. They are expected to deal with it. I do not believe anyone should be subjected to live under such circumstances. Women staying in the name of religion, give the sincere, loving, godly people a bad name. When religion is involved, everyone can have a different interpretation of what a passage means. Nonetheless, I can tell you that God never gave any man the right to mistreat his wife, nor his children. His word instructs men to "Love your wife as Christ loved the church". There is no greater love than this. Love according to scripture does not abuse or hurt! I could not call myself a Jewish feminist for two reasons. For one, I am not Jewish nor from any sort of Jewish background. Secondly, I could not identify with this or any other feminist group because of my own personal convictions on some of the issues and rights feminists fight for. It is to say that some issues I agree with but as a whole, I cannot.
I used the internet to obtain information on what Jewish feminism is as well as to obtain other resources. One of the founding members of Jewish feminism is Blu Greenberg who has several articles and books about the subject. I was able to find information on some organizations such as JOFA-Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, the National Council of Jewish Women, and Shira Hadasha. Their websites respectively are,, and JOFA was founded ten years ago. Ms. Greenberg feels not enough progress has been made though. However, the task of cutting through a very male dominated culture is no easy task. I also found a website that was set up using a timeline effect for not only Jewish feminism but from the beginning. The web address is There also is a website that has a lot of additional resources for Jewish feminism at A professor by the name of Judith Plaskow has been very instrumental in Jewish feminism. She teaches Religious Studies and stressed the reality that women have experiences with God and not just men. Some feminist writers I found on wikipedia were: Rachel Adler, Blu Greenberg, Tova Hartman, Paula Hyman, Susannah Heschel, Judith Hauptman, Judith Plaskow, Tamar Ross, Mendel Shapiro, Daniel Sperber, Trude Weiss-Rosmarin, and Joel B. Wolowelsky.

Andrea Ensley

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Chicana Feminism / Bev Ball

The definition I found for Chicana feminism is as follows: Chicana Feminism acknowledges both the similarities and differences with other critical frameworks of social inequality including issues of race,gender,class and sexuality.

Chicana Feminists are woman of color of Mexican decent that have been born and raised in the United States. This description has since evolved to include all women in Latin America and of Latino decent regardless of where they live.

One of the core tenets involves gender and the history of discrimination and oppression forced upon them by fathers, husbands and brothers or any male person. They now are raising consciousness with their collective voices against the stereotype of their only value being attached to child-bearing, homemaking and providing care.

The new modern name for Chicana Feminism concept is Xicanisma.

I do agree with their core values because they are the same values for all women regardless of race, class or sexuality. I think Chicana feminism can be inter-changeable with women's rights to equality.

I would be willing to call myself a Chicana Feminist because they fight the battles facing all women. I also have personal experience although white my niece's are half Spanish and I have battled along side of my sister to oppose any form of discrimination toward my niece's which was an issue especially when they were in grade school.

In closing I would like to say that I feel feminism is probably more critical for women of different races and in third worlds. I hope to see major changes in these areas in future years.

In closing I would like to share some names of famous Chicana poets, writers and activists and some interesting sites and books that may interest you if you would like more information on Chicana Feminism.

Ana Castillo, Massacre of the Dreamers, New York: Plume/Penguin Books, 1994

Gloria Anzaldua, Hacienda Caras/Making Face,Making Soul:Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color San Francisco:Aunt Lute Press,1990

Other noted writers, Myrta Vidal, Cherrie Moraga

Interesting web sites: This first site is my favorite and was put together by students.

I hope you will visit these web sites and even consider reading a book from one of the listed authors. If anyone has a question I will do my best to give you an answer.

Bev Ball