Assignment no 1.
Q.1 Compare and contrast liberal feminism and Marxist feminism. What do you think which perspective is more suitable in explaining the gender issues?
Marxist feminism refers to a set of theoretical frameworks that have emerged out of the intersection of Marxism and feminism. Marxism and feminism examine forms of systematic inequalities that lead to the experiences of oppression for marginalized individuals (Ehrenreich, 1976). Marxism deals with a form of inequality that arises from the class dynamics of capitalism. It understands the class inequality as the primary axis of oppression in capitalist societies. Feminism deals with another form of inequality which is the inequality between the sexes. Feminism understands gender inequality as the primary axis of oppression in patriarchic societies. The goal of the Marxist feminist framework is to liberate women by transforming the conditions of their oppression and exploitation. Most Feminists would balk at the idea of generalising Feminist theory into three basic types because part of Feminism is to resist the tendency towards categorising things. Nonetheless, in A Level sociology it’s usual to distinguish between three basic types of Feminism – Liberal, Radical and Marxist, each of which has its own general explanation for sex and gender inequality, and a matched-solution.
Q.2 Do you think gender roles changing in current times in our society? If yes highlight the factors behind this phenomenon.
Gender refers to a complex system of roles, expressions, identities, performances, and qualities that are given gendered meaning by a society. Usually, they are assigned to people based on the appearance of their sex characteristics at birth. Gender characteristics can change over time and vary between cultures. Household chores, for example, are much more likely to be performed by girls than boys. Girls account for two-thirds of all children who perform household chores for at least 21 hours per week, which is the amount of time that can negatively impact a child’s schooling. Similarly, women spend two to 10 times more time on unpaid caregiving and domestic work than men. By contrast, men and boys are more often targeted for active combat roles by armed groups because of the association of masculinity with defending homes and communities.
Q.3 Write a comprehensive note on feminist sociology of gender.
Feminist theory explores both inequality in gender relations and the constitution of gender. It is best understood as both an intellectual and a normative project. What is commonly understood as feminist theory accompanied the feminist movement in the mid-seventies, though there are key texts from the 19th and early- to mid-20th centuries that represent early feminist thought. Whereas feminist theories first began as an attempt to explain women’s oppression globally, following a grand theoretical approach akin to Marxism, the questions and emphases in the field have undergone some major shifts. Two primary shifts have been (1) from universalizing to particularizing and contextualizing women’s experiences and (2) from conceptualizing men and women as categories and focusing on the category “women” to questioning the content of that category, and moving to the exploration of gendered practices. Thus, while many theorists do focus on the question of how gender inequality manifests in institutions such as the workplace, home, armed forces, economy, or public sphere, others explore the range of practices that have come to be defined as masculine or feminine and how gender is constituted in relation to other social relations. Feminist theories can thus be used to explain how institutions operate with normative gendered assumptions and selectively reward or punish gendered practices.
Q.4 Define feminism. Write down a comprehensive note on historical background of feminism.
Some thinkers have sought to locate the roots of feminism in ancient Greece with Sappho (d. c. 570 BCE), or the medieval world with Hildegard of Bingen (d. 1179) or Christine de Pisan (d. 1434). Certainly Olympes de Gouge (d. 1791), Mary Wollstonecraft (d. 1797) and Jane Austen (d. 1817) are foremothers of the modern women’s movement. All of these people advocated for the dignity, intelligence, and basic human potential of the female sex. However, it was not until the late nineteenth century that the efforts for women’s equal rights coalesced into a clearly identifiable and self-conscious movement, or rather a series of movements. The first wave of feminism took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, emerging out of an environment of urban industrialism and liberal, socialist politics. The goal of this wave was to open up opportunities for women, with a focus on suffrage. The wave formally began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when three hundred men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (d.1902) drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration outlining the new movement’s ideology and political strategies
Q.5.Write down the process of gender learning as per different theories
Gender socialization is the process through which children learn about the social expectations, attitudes and behaviours typically associated with boys and girls. This topic looks at this socialization process and the factors that influence gender development in children.Gender socialization1 is the process through which children learn about the social expectations, attitudes and behaviours associated with one’s gender. As children attain a sense of their own gender identity (i. e., knowing whether they are a girl or a boy), they pay heightened attention to information related to gender, and especially to same-gender models. This gender awareness, in combination with an early exposure to gender from multiple sources of socialization such as parents, siblings and peers, has immediate consequences on children’s attitudes and behaviours toward members of their own and other-gender group. For example, children may favour their own gender in their attitudes (having more positive feelings towards own-group members) and show gender discriminatory behaviours (preferring to interact with members of their own gender only). This gender segregation, may be supported by adults but more often is the choice of children themselves and may become problematic because children need to be able to function in gender-integrated settings (e.g., day care or school).