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In what ways does feminism radically question our understanding of 'men' and 'women' and the social structures which maintain gender differences and inequalities?

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Introduction

In what ways does feminism radically question our understanding of 'men' and 'women' and the social structures which maintain gender differences and inequalities? The question assumes that there are only two types of thought on this issue one, which is the feminist, and another, which all others share. It alienates the feminist thought completely right from the outset. 'Our' understanding on the subject is one which is seen as a perceptive that is socially accepted. A thought that the majority have been following shared for centuries. This notion is conveyed through the actions and laws portrayed by humans who have prescribed both males and females with what is seen as an appropriate role for them in society. Defining men or women biologically would highlight the biological factors of the differences between the sexes. The physical makeup of men and women differs therefore dissimilarity between the two is inevitable. However the thought of femininity and masculinity is questioned as these propose the idea of men and women being different in a social context and therefore resulting in different rights for each. Carol Gilligan agrees with the idea that even though men and women are different, they each have their own separate place in society. (Gilligan C 1993) ...read more.

Middle

However statistics summarised by Susan Faludi suggest that women still do not have the same status men have in social and economical life. (Faludi, 1992) Statistics show that a constant pattern has developed where men take up jobs in 'bureaucratic, professional and managerial elites, while women staff the service industries on the ground'.(Edley N & Wetherell M 1995). The concern here is that the notion of qualifications seems unimportant even in society today. Although men and women may have the same credentials, it is men who are attaining better jobs, again an example of an issue of high concern. The extent to which masculinity has been portrayed contains the concept of such as patriarchy very much. Various views have been put forward as to what male domination exactly involves. One of the main concerns of feminists is the rules regarding domestic violence. The British Crime Survey suggests that many of the thousands of victims of domestic violence are women. Feminists highlight how, considering the level of violence liberal democracies put up with it should certainly 'excite public outrage'.(Cf Hammer& H Maynard, 1987; Kelly 1988, Stanko, 1985). However, because violence is not understood in such a manner, specifies exactly how government procedures have been well thought-out from a male point of view. ...read more.

Conclusion

Feminists are still working towards removing the stereotypes discussed in this essay. 'Faces Of Feminism' includes the different views of feminist theorists where the majority believe that men and women should be equal and in order for this to occur the society we live in has to "unlearn and condition" (Tobias, Shiela 1997) the gender roles and standards it has established throughout history. The difference in roles, rights and opportunities ad the attitudes of society with regards to issues examined in this essay, has lead the feminists thought. It is no wonder that feminists have concluded that the male sex is at advantage, receiving higher prestige and concurring public life. Some feminists feel that they have been stripped of there rights, roles and responsibilities. Men enjoy privileges that women are deprived of, not due to any lack of understanding and capability but for the reason that they are women. Gloria Stiement and Betty Friedman have argued that "both men and women are oppressed and damaged by sexism and so reform is in the interest of both groups". Therefore reform is inevitable, in order for feminists to feel that they are now as equal to men as they should be. Numerous strategies have been employed by feminists to radically question the moderate and most common understanding of 'men' and 'women' and the social structures, which maintain gender differences and inequalities. Many of these ways including examples and relevant referencing have been described in this essay. ...read more.

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