Feminist Theory - There is No One Definition of Woman Essay

Feminist Theory - There is No One Definition of Woman Essay

Length: 1399 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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! Feminist Theory, Cultural Imperialism and the Demand for “The Woman’s Voice,” is that the entire worldwide experience of women cannot be universally articulated. Blanket definition of woman is impossible due to the many characteristics of women that make the gender so diverse, specifically race and economic status in society. “The women’s voices most likely to come forth and the women’s voices mostly likely to be heard are, in the United States anyway, those of white, middle-class, heterosexual Christian women” (Lugones and Spelman 21). Since “feminist theory” has been established without encompassing the inherently different experiences of non-white/non-Anglo women “much of the theory has failed to be relevant to the lives of women who are not white or middle class” (Ibid. 21). This displacement of a large population of the world’s women from feminist theory is extremely threatening to the development of a woman’s voice, in so far as this voice is key to fighting the battles that feminism sets out to fight: the end of re...


... middle of paper ...


...a Cohen. The Signs Reader: Women, Gender and Scholarship. Edited by Elizabeth and Emily Abel. University of Chicago Press: Chicago. 1983. 279-297.

Finn, Geraldine. On the Oppression of Women in Philosophy – Or, Whatever Happened to Objectivity?. Feminism in Canada: From Pressure to Politics. Edited by Angela R. Miles and Geraldine Finn. Black Rose Books: Montreal. 1982. 145-173.

Lugones, Maria C. and Elizabeth V. Spelman. Have We Got a Theory for You! Feminist Theory, Cultural Imperialism and the Demand for “The Woman’s Voice.” Women and Values: Readings in Recent Feminist Philosophy. Edited by Marilyn Pearsall. Wadsworth Publishing Company: California. 1986. 19-31.

Whitbeck, Caroline. Theories of Sex Difference. Women and Values: Readings in Recent Feminist Philosophy. Edited by Marilyn Pearsall. Wadsworth Publishing Company: California. 1986. 34-51.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Feminist Theory : A Theoretical Perspective Essays

- A theoretical perspective or paradigm is a set of ideas that attempt to guide your thinking and explain viewpoints. Within the field of sociology, there are many paradigms. These include structural-functionalism, social conflict, feminism, symbolic interactionism, and postmodernism. As a female who appreciates a viewpoint outside of the standard male outlook, my favorite theoretical paradigm is feminist theory. Feminism is one of the most prominent areas in contemporary sociology. By linking sociological theory and political reform, feminists aim to end inequalities between men and women in both public and private environments....   [tags: Feminism, Feminist theory, Sociology]

Powerful Essays
1050 words (3 pages)

The 's Theory Of Love Essay

- According to Vultaggio (2015), Maya Angelou once said: “In the flush of love 's light, we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.” Dr. Rappleyea (2015) once stated that love is a very complex emotion perhaps the most complicated of all human emotions. Some might even add that love is not only an emotion but it is also an action shared between one or more individuals. Family greatly influences how we love and the way we show our love for one another....   [tags: Love, Triangular theory of love]

Powerful Essays
1069 words (3.1 pages)

What 's Behind A Woman 's Smile? Essay

- What’s behind a woman’s smile. Amy Cunningham analyzes the intentions behind a woman’s smile in her essay “Why Women Smile.” An individual’s facial expressions tell a lot about them and how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, or what their personality is like. Culture has played a huge role in shaping individuals into what they believe, what they should like or don’t like, how things should – basically what’s “normal”. In the Western culture, smiling is prevalent; it has become a necessary factor in “quickly winning friends and influencing people,” as Cunningham states....   [tags: Woman, Gender, Women's rights, Women's suffrage]

Powerful Essays
1027 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on The Definition Of Interpersonal Skills

- "Interpersonal skills” The definition of Interpersonal skills are the life skills, we use every day to communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in groups. People who have worked on developing strong interpersonal skills are usually more successful in both their professional and personal lives. In the business world you need to have the ability to adapt with the skills listed below. This would include listening skills, assertiveness, negotiable skills, ability to handle criticism or feedback both good and bad....   [tags: Persuasion, Regulatory Focus Theory, Person]

Powerful Essays
741 words (2.1 pages)

Gender, Gender And Sex Theory Essay examples

- “Sexual Politics, “For it is precisely because certain groups have no representation in a number of recognized political structures that they 're position tends to be so stable, their oppression so continuous” (191). For this reason, theory, among various other structures, should become more inclusive, recognizing nonbinary genders and facing issues that affect the people who identify with them. Nonbinary gender has largely been left out of feminist discourse, as well as queer theory and even trans studies....   [tags: Gender, Feminism, Feminist theory, Gender studies]

Powerful Essays
1491 words (4.3 pages)

My Personal Definition Of Ethics Essay

- My personal definition of ethics is a set of beliefs that govern the right or correct way one responds in a given situation. It is based on upbringing, religious reference, New Thought theory, personal integrity, a sense of right and wrong, and a feeling of “doing the right thing.” It is an ongoing process. Ethics, is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation. According to Johnson and Riley (2008), “the ethical life requires an integrated sense of self in relationship to others....   [tags: Ethics, Morality, Leon Festinger]

Powerful Essays
1801 words (5.1 pages)

Carol Bartz Is The Definition Of A True Success Essay

- Carol Bartz is the definition of a true success. She was born in 1948 to a low economic family. She grew up in a time period where men were superior to women, especially in the workforce. She broke barriers in many ways. She faced tragedy, poverty, discrimination; sexism yet did not let anything stop her. Bartz did not grow up in a traditional household, but was forced to live with her grandparents. Having her mother die at a young age, being taken away from her abusive father, Bartz was left with her grandparents....   [tags: Gender, Gender role, Cancer, Breast cancer]

Powerful Essays
1338 words (3.8 pages)

Feminism 's Theory Behind Trans Exclusive Feminism, Positioning It Within Contemporary Feminist History

- Modern social media has coined an acronymic term to capture a sect of feminism making a resurgence in the public sphere. TERFs, or trans-exclusive radical feminists, see the increased visibility of the transgender community thanks to activists like Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and Carmen Carrera, and have countered with transgender exclusivity. As a result, a divide has deepened in the feminist movement, a war of sorts between trans-exclusive and trans-inclusive activists—a TERF war. In this essay, I analyze the theory behind trans-exclusive feminism, positioning it within contemporary feminist history....   [tags: Feminism, Gender, Feminist theory]

Powerful Essays
1066 words (3 pages)

A Woman’s Madness in Dojoji Essay example

- The plays of a crazed person are renowned enough to be one of the five categories in Noh plays. Noh play does not mean that a crazed person has a mental disorder clinically, but it means that he or she becomes insane because of a mental shock from a certain situation. Several cultures as well as Japan have the theaters that portray mad women. Ancient Greece and Elizabethan England presented the plays about mad women such as mother and crones (Bainbridge). Of all crazed person plays, it is popular that crazed women lose her mind by the grief and resentment of losing her child or loved one in Japan....   [tags: mind, freud, noh plays, mad women]

Powerful Essays
1103 words (3.2 pages)

I Am A Woman,Too: Feminism To The Black Woman Essay

- In history, women have always struggled to gain equality, respect, and the same rights as men. Women had had to endure years of sexism and struggle to get to where we are today. The struggle was even more difficult for women of color because not only were they dealing with issues of sexism, but also racism. Many movements have helped black women during the past centuries to overcome sexism, racism, and adversities that were set against them. History tells us that movements such as the Feminist Movement helped empower all women, but this fact is not totally true....   [tags: Racism Discrimination Female Feminism]

Powerful Essays
954 words (2.7 pages)