• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How have feminists investigated areas of inequality not covered by the classical theorists?

Extracts from this document...


How have feminists investigated areas of inequality not covered by the classical theorists? Feminists tend to see society as divided into different social groups. Feminism consists of diverse social movements and a range of theorists about inequality, and they are committed to "giving women their true value" (Wilson 1986). They see the major division as being between men and women, and that this division is due to the fact that women are oppressed and treated unequally. All feminists share the common view that that society is characterised by exploitation. They see that the most important source of this exploitation in contemporary society is the exploitation of women by men. Feminists see contemporary society as dominated by men, both in the home and the work place. However not all feminists believe there is one single source to this mistreatment. The feminist movement and feminist scholarship are frequently seen as divided between the advocates of equality on the one side and the advocates of sexual difference on the other. In her book, 'Gender and the Politics of history', 1988, p172, Joan Scott commented "When equality and difference are paired dichotomously, they structure an impossible choice. If one opts for equality, one is forced to accept the notion that difference is antithetical to it. If one opts for difference, one admits the equality is unattainable." Some feminists are presented as demanding equality in the sense of the identical treatment of women as to men; and others as demanding that the distinctive ...read more.


When 'Madonna' hit the air waves and the screen 1n 1984, she started to teach young women that it was ok to be fully female and sexual, while still being individuals and not under male oppression. Feminists have even investigated the inequality contained within sociology itself. They argue that prior to the 1970's the majority of theories and written research was by men, about men and for men. This was brought about by the enlightening studies of Dr R. Stoller (1968). Stoller brought forward the distinctions between gender and sex, and that both played equally big roles towards the treatment of men and women. Due to this factor a large number of female theorists started to explore the "malestream sociology" to show that these treatments were unfair and sexist. Until recently these inequalities have been concerned with the treatment of women and femininity; however over recent years studies have recognised that men and masculinity also need investigating. Another feminist view is that of sexual difference as the political difference between freedom (men) and subordination (women). In the book 'The sexual Contract', Stanford university press 1988, C. Pateman held that "men and women are free by nature". Women were held by nature to lack characteristics required for participation in political life. Women, our bodies and distinctive capacities, represented all that citizenship and equality are not. Women were incorporated as men's subordinates into their own private sphere, and so were excluded from civil society. ...read more.


These theorists have concentrated on the harmful effects of the family environment on women. In doing this they have brought about new perspectives; on areas such as house work and how it helps men to control women, and they have brought about new issues; such as domestic violence. In this essay I have tried to explore how feminists have investigated areas of inequality in society that classical theorists haven't. There is no easy answer to this question, as there never is in sociology, neither is there a right or a wrong answer. As I have hopefully shown you above; feminists have not necessarily investigated areas of inequality that other theorists simply did not, they have however taken a different approach to the same areas. Whereas Marxists have investigated the work place and the family to show how capitalists are the beneficiaries at the exploitation of their workers; feminists have investigated the work place and the family to show how men are the beneficiaries at the exploitation of women. It is the same with post-modernist or functionalist views, whatever they may be investigating. Feminists simply change the argument to show that women are being oppressed; they have also brought forward new issues. For example when feminists investigated family life they exposed domestic violence. Feminist theorists believe that out our society works to the advantage of men while working to the detriment of women. Feminists do not investigate different areas of inequality to that of the classical theorists; they simply show the world a different view of society, be it right or wrong. Power and Inequalities Charmiane Louise Heritage 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. The purpose of this essay is to describe four studies relating to gender each ...

    A pilot study was conducted to ascertain if their original impressions of the basis of domestic violence was accurate. (Marsh, 1998, page 210) An extensive study was then devised, which incorporated 109 interviews of women, aged 16 - 60, 67 of which were residents of a refuge for battered women.

  2. Assess The Feminist View That Conventional Malestream Theories Are Inadequate For An Understanding Of ...

    Supporters propose that a specific women's methodology is needed to understand women in society. They suggest a sympathetic approach that includes working in partnership with female participants to produce data that is qualitative rather than quantitive. Comte (1896) is recognised as the father of sociology.

  1. 'There are liberal feminists, socialist feminists and radical feminists, but no conservative feminists.' Discuss.

    Socialist feminists do not believe that omen face political disadvantages that can be remedied by equal rights. Rather, they believe that the inequalities in society are rooted in the social and economic structure itself and that nothing short of a revolution can offer women genuine emancipation.

  2. The classical and positivist approaches to criminological theory

    Primarily, the causes of crime were assessed, and thus the proposals were based on removing the societal characteristics to prevent crime rather than punish it effectively. Regularities in data and crime rates were studied, and human affairs were seen as the key to discovering regularities, to find the causes of crime.

  1. Gender Inequality.

    In contrast Ann Oakley, criticises Young and Wilmotts views of the Symmetrical Family. Their data, according to Oakley, lacked validity and in her own research into housework and childcare she reveals a rather different picture. Because Oakley believes that gender inequalities are socially constructed, today the consequences within the family

  2. Sociology - Social Inequality

    The higher a child's social class background, the more chance he or she has of achieving high educational qualifications. For example, in 2001, 81% of university students came from middle class backgrounds. In 1995, men from unskilled manual backgrounds were three times more likely to smoke than those from professional backgrounds.

  1. Pitted against Patriarchy

    So it is with Judith Hearne. Middle aged, unattractive, snobbish and a desperately lonely spinster, Judith Hearne is made to live out her life as the victim of those powerful patriarchal institutions of the family and the Church. The novel opens and ends with Judith Hearne arranging in her current

  2. "Compare the presentation of the exploitation of women in "Memoirs of a Geisha" by ...

    Aunty Baba in many ways tries to stand up for Adeline, which only causes her to be punished by her stepmother further as proof of her power connoting that whoever defies Niang will be punished in intolerable ways. Through the exploitation of a woman's body in "Memoirs...", Chiyo-chan is not

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work