Feminist Theories

Topics: Gender, Feminism, Feminist theory Pages: 3 (775 words) Published: August 24, 2013
Contemporary Feminist Theories

Cultural feminism is a feminist theory that is based on the biological differences between women and men, such as: reproductive capacity, female communication style, women’s lower level of aggression than men, ethical judgment, etc. Although society rejects it, cultural feminism proclaims those attributes to be differences that are distinctive and superior virtues in women. This approach permits feminists to avoid rather than confront conflicting issues posed by the essentialist thesis. The essentialist thesis was first used against women by men in leadership positions, holding androcentric beliefs, to claim that women are inferior to men. Jane Addams and other female theorists countered that if this country wanted to keep society under control, we needed women and their nonviolent ways in order to pacify men during disputes.

Existential feminism is a feminist theory that explores and celebrates women’s social roles and value in society. This theory states that women are seen as insignificant in a male-created culture. Existential feminism sees women as being born into a world that undervalues their experiences in favor of portraying the male view. Men are given the good qualities, while women suffer with “otherness.” Such as: men are strong and women are weak, men are capable and women need “saving,” men are brave and women are meek. Women are viewed as objects lacking worth until a man desires them.

Feminist institutional theory focuses on the fact that gender differences are direct results of the different roles that women and men are assigned in various institutional settings. This conditioning begins in the home when individuals are babies. Even young children can’t help but notice the differences in the division of labor in the family home. Women are seen as the caretakers and men are viewed as the breadwinners. When one is continually faced with this particular assignment of social roles in the home, it naturally...

Cited: Ritzer, George. “Contemporary Feminist Theories.” Contemporary Social Theory & it’s Classical Roots. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print
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