Feminist Sociological Theory
Various sociological theories have contributed greatly to the understanding and learning more about societies in addition to social behavior. Sociology’s past, present as well as future is incorporated in these theories and a deeper and richer knowledge about them can be achieved through studying. Feminist theory is one of the sociological theories that evaluates the status of both men and women in society. Feminist theory has advanced in three waves. The first wave concentrated on suffrage and partisan rights. The second concentrated on social disparity between the genders. The present, third wave stresses the concepts of globalization, post imperialism, and postmodernism. Feminism may clash with multiculturalism since multiculturalism demands the tolerance of foreign social practices, but some of those practices might uphold subjugation of women that campaigners find essentially unbearable and insupportable.
The theory also aims at narrowing down the differences that exist between women while such aspects like ethnicity, race, nationality, sexuality and age interconnect with gender. Patricia Hill Collins is a contemporary sociologist known for her endeavors in creating, deploying and promoting intersectionality concept in her philosophy. The paramount concern of feminist theory is to disclose the diverse ways in which women have made remarkable contributions to the society. Four types exist in the feminist theory that give a voice women by noting down the differences that exist between men and women.
The experience of women in social situations and women’s place in the society differ with that of men. These aspects are examined in detail by the perspective of gender differences. For instance, feminist who are involved with cultural issues assert that men and women experience the world of socialization differently due to different values connected to femininity and womanhood. In addition to that, other feminist philosophers associate gender difference with the institutional roles that are assigned to both men and women. The division of labor notable at homes based on sex also contribute to these argument. The element of division of labor subjects women to work more in homesteads than men.
Women have been marginalized in the society and regarded as a different entity by men in these patriarchal communities. They are thus denied the prospect for self-realization by being regarded as objects in the society. In real life experiences, breastfeeding in public is mostly considered a cultural taboo despite the fact that it is a natural necessity for growth. Women breasts are biologically purposed to breastfeed young ones in order to offer nourishment a fact many people are not ready to accept in the society. Breasts are commonly viewed in a sexual perspective and this results to women struggle to ensure they cover them adequately for fear of judgment.
Not only are experience and location of women in the social situations different but are as well unequal to those of men. This is according to gender inequality theories that liberal feminists assert that men and women share the same capacity by moral reasoning. Nevertheless, the division of labor and other patriarchy elements have failed to grant women the chance to exercise this reasoning. Isolation of women is evident in private sphere at home hence have no voice in the public. Feminist s go ahead to argue that men benefit the more in marriage more than women do. Therefore, there is need to alter this situation so that women can also have a say in public sphere.
Gender inequality is demonstrated in the society by the gender pay gap. The bill that would ensure that both men and women are paid equally in firms is voted down in the Senate in April 2014.In 2013, The Pew Research Center indicates that the pay gap earnings per hour which is 16 cents is smaller compared to the weekly earnings gap. Disparity in hours worked is manifested and women are mostly expected to work part-time than men. It is the hard certainty that women in United States receive a portion of what men receive in terms of payment by doing the same kind of job. American association of University Women (AAUW) reveal that there exist a 23 cent per differences per week between men and women for full-time employees. This implies that when a man is making a dollar, a woman makes 77 cents (Stanley, 76).
In regard to gender oppression theory, women are not only unequal to men but are also constantly oppressed, abused and also outranked by men. Superiority complex exists whereby men are regarded as powerful compared to women. Psychoanalytical feminists argue that creation and reproduction of patriarchy can’t be explained by conscious calculation. They aim to reveal power relations that exist between men and women through reformulation of theories by Freud that discuss issues of human emotions, subconscious and conscious as well as childhood development. Radical feminists on the other hand assert that the value of a woman is disregarded in patriarchal societies.
Oppression of women is evident in our society by the fact that during Emma Watson’s UN speech, the most fundamental words were basically about masculinity on September 20, 2014. Being the Goodwill Ambassador for UN, she talked of nice issues about gender equality but her words were mainly focusing on men and boys. According to her, men are stereotyped by gender and the only way to free women is by first freeing men from the stereotype and allow them access control. From her statement, we can deduce that even though women seek equality in the society, oppression from men has surfaced so much that women can only consider themselves objects whose destiny can only be shaped by male dominion (Delamont, 142).
The theories about structural oppression argue that capitalism, racism and patriarchy are the reasons why women face inequality and oppression. Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels are backed by socialist feminists with the ideology that working class is not only exploited singly by capitalism form of production but gender is as well exploited. According to intersectionality philosophers, oppression is based on race, ethnicity, class and age since a white woman is discriminated differently compared to a black American in a workplace. In entry of graduate programs in colleges, discrimination is noted. In U.S colleges in 2011, students admitted to higher learning levels for instance from Associate all the way doctorate level manifest racial bias. The percentage of individuals from the racial minority is low as we move up the scale. Whites and Asians take the majority of doctorate holders while Hispanic, Black Americans and Native Americans are partially represented.
In conclusion, gender bias is evident in the society also through the sociology of male shooters. Over the last three decades, there were mass shootings by white males in Norway. They actions are closely associated with patriarchal and supremacist beliefs. These actions portrayed the shooters had lost status and power in the society. Their actions revealed social sickness whereby they were unhappy with women who didn’t obey their desires as well as a society that didn’t afford their uncivilized ways (Kolmar, 102).
Kolmar, Wendy K, and Frances Bartkowski. Feminist Theory: A Reader. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010. Print.
Delamont, Sara. Feminist Sociology. London: Sage, 2014. Print.
Stanley, Liz. Feminist Praxis: Research, Theory, and Epistemology in Feminist Sociology. London: Routledge, 2012. Print.