Feminist Theory - There is No One Definition of Woman When posed with the question “What is woman?” it seems a daunting task to lay an umbrella statement to describe an entire gender. Upon further reflection, however, it seems that this overwhelming inability to answer the question, may in fact, be the answer to the question itself. Within the past two decades Maria Lugones and Elizabeth Spelman, Caroline Whitbeck, Geraldine Finn, and Helene Cixous have addressed the meaning of woman. There is not a concrete answer to “What is woman?” either produced by women or produced through men’s perceptions of women. The message of Lugones and Spelman in Have We Got a Theory for You!
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New Perspectives on Margaret Laurence: Poetic Narrative, Multiculturalism, and Feminism. Ed. Greta M. K. McCormick Coger. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1996. 187-201.
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Societal Interpretations of Buddhism and Gender Inequality The doctrine and basic values of Buddhism are based centrally in equality and provide equal opportunity for both genders, and indeed all sentient beings, to attain enlightenment and the realization of the true Buddha within. However, an interesting discrepancy within the Buddhist traditions occurs in the societal interpretations of Buddhism and the resulting rules and regulations that can show less than equal treatment and valuation of female members. As a religion that gives strong support of logically and empirically constructed morals, it is worthwhile to note that many of the societal views of women show a portrayal of the female that has not caught up with modern, or Western, logic in some cases. This is a direct result of the societal pressures and bias of the cultures within which Buddhism exists. To reiterate, the problem lies not with the intrinsic beliefs of Buddhism, but in certain interpretations and implementations of these beliefs.