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Related: post-feminism - feminist film theory - women - civil rights

Movements: new woman - flapper girls

People: Mary Wollstonecraft - Simone de Beauvoir - Camille Paglia - Germaine Greer

Ideals and debates associated with second-wave feminism were reflected in blaxploitation films of the 1970s and 1980s. Shown here is American actress Tamara Dobson (1947 - 2006) starring as a special agent in Cleopatra Jones (1973) - Jack Starrett

"Forcible feeding" of British suffragists (ca. 1909)
image sourced here.


Feminism is a set of social theories and political practices that are critical of past and current social relations and primarily motivated and informed by the experience of women. Most generally, it involves a critique of gender inequality; more specifically, it involves the promotion of women's rights and interests. Feminist theorists question such issues as the relationship between sex, sexuality, and power in social, political, and economic relationships. Feminist political activists advocate such issues as women's suffrage, salary equivalency, and control over reproduction. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism [2004]

Feminism is a social theory and political movement primarily informed and motivated by the experience of women. While generally providing a critique of social relations, many proponents of feminism also focus on analyzing gender inequality and the promotion of women's rights, interests, and issues.

Feminist theorists aim to understand the nature of inequality and focus on gender politics, power relations and sexuality. Feminist political activists advocate for social, political, and economic equality between the sexes. They campaign on issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, sexual harassment, discrimination and sexual violence. Themes explored in feminism include discrimination, stereotyping, objectification (especially sexual objectification), oppression and patriarchy

The basis of feminist ideology is that society is organised into a patriarchal system in which men are privileged over women.

Modern feminist theory is predominantly, but not exclusively, associated with western middle class academia. Feminist activism, however, is a grass roots movement which crosses class and race boundaries. It is culturally specific and addresses the issues relevant to the women of that society, for example, genital mutilation in Sudan (see also: female circumcision), or the glass ceiling in North America. Some issues, such as rape, incest, mothering, are universal. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism [Oct 2004]

Supporting view

"Because they will try to convince us that we have arrived, that we are already there, that it has happened. Because we need to live in the place where we are truly alive, present, safe, and accounted for. Because we refuse to allow our writing, songs, art, activism, and political histories to be suppressed or stolen. Because we refuse to be embarrassed about the mistakes and faults and choose to move forward with a political agenda bent on the freedom of all." --Tammy Rae Carland in Tres Bien by Le Tigre.

Opposing view

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." Pat Robertson, 1992


Feminist thought occurred during The Enlightenment with such thinkers as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the Marquis de Condorcet championing women's education. The first scientific society for women was founded in Middleberg, a city in the south of the Dutch republic, in 1785. Journals for women which focused on issues like science became popular during this period as well. Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) is one of the first works that can unambiguously be called feminist, although by modern standards her comparison of women to the nobility, the elite of society, coddled, fragile, and in danger of intellectual and moral sloth, does not sound like a feminist argument. Wollstonecraft believed that both sexes contributed to this situation and took it for granted that women had considerable power over men. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_feminism [Nov 2004]

1914: Suffragette damages Velasquez painting Rokeby Venus

The Toilet of Venus ('The Rokeby Venus') (1647-51) - Diego Velázquez

March 10, 1914 - Suffragette Mary Richardson damages Velasquez painting Rokeby Venus in London’s national gallery with a meat chopper --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1914 [Dec 2004]

"The destruction wrought in the seven months of 1914 before the War excelled that of the previous year. Three Scotch castles were destroyed by fire on a single night. The Carnegie Library in Birmingham was burnt. The Rokeby Venus, falsly, as I consider, attributed to Velázquez, and purchased for the National Gallery at a cost of £45,000, was mutilated by Mary Richardson. Romney's Master Thornhill, in the Birmingham Art Gallery, was slashed by Bertha Ryland, daughter of an early Suffagist. Carlyle's portrait of Millais [sic] in the National Portrait Gallery, and numbers of other pictures were attacked, a Bartolozzi drawing in the Doré Gallery being completely ruined. Many large empty houses in all parts of the country were set on fire, including Redlynch House, Sommerset, where the damage was estimated at £ 40,000. Railway stations, piers, sports pavilions, haystacks were set on fire. Attempts were made to blow up reservoirs. A bomb exploded in Westminster Abbey, and in the fashionable church of St George's, Hanover Square, where a famous stained-glass window from the Malines was damaged ... One hundred and forty-one acts of destruction were chronicled in the Press during the first seven months of 1914." --Emmeline Pankhurst's daughter Sylvia Pankhurst's account of the history of the suffragette movement

The male gaze

The concept of the male gaze derives from a seminal article called ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ by Laura Mulvey, a feminist film theorist. It was published in 1975 and is one of the most widely cited and anthologized (though certainly not one of the most accessible) articles in the whole of contemporary film theory.

See also: gaze

There is no aesthetics in feminism

[...] There is no aesthetics in feminism. All there is, is a social agenda. Art is made a servant to a prefab social agenda. So what I'm doing is allowing feminism to take aesthetics into it, and also psychology.(Vamps & Tramps p. 246-247) --Camille Paglia

Mizora: A World of Women (1880-1881) - Mary E. Bradley Lane

Mizora: A World of Women (1880-1881) - Mary E. Bradley Lane [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

What would happen to our culture if men ceased to exist? Mary E. Bradley Lane explores this question in "Mizora", the first known feminist Utopian novel written by a woman. Vera Zarovitch is a Russian noblewoman - heroic, outspoken, and determined. A political exile in Siberia, she escapes and flees north, eventually finding herself, adrift and exhausted, on a strange sea at the North Pole. Crossing a barrier of mist and brilliant light, Zarovitch is swept into the enchanted, inner world of Mizora. A haven of music, peace, universal education, and beneficial, advanced technology, Mizora is a world of women. Mizora appeared anonymously in the Cincinnati Commercial in 1880 and 1881. Mary E. Bradley Lane concealed from her husband her role in writing the controversial story. Of great historical significance and a remarkable story, "Mizora" is now widely available in a modern, paperback edition. Introducing this Bison Frontiers of Imagination edition is Joan Saberhagen, coeditor of "Pawn to Infinity" and a member of the Very Small Array workshop, a group of science fiction writers in New Mexico. --via Amazon.co.uk

Mizora: A Prophecy
Originally published Nov. 1880 - Feb. 1881 in the Cincinnati Commercial), under the pseudonym Princess Vera Zaravitch; republished in 1890: Dillingham, New York; republished 1975: Gregg Press, Boston (with an introduction by Kristine Anderson and Professor Fulwer R. Blurth); republished G. K. Hall, 1999; republished as Mizora: A World of Women, University of Nebraska Press, 1999.

An early feminist utopian novel, Mizora tells the story of a Russian noblewoman, Vera Zarovitch, who escapes from Sibera into Mizora, a hidden world of peace and happiness, run by (super)women. No men are in the world; women reproduce by parthenogenesis.

There is a curious book by a woman from the nineteenth century called "Mizora." In it an all-female "utopia" exists in the center of the Earth. They reproduce through parthenogenesis, practice eugenics, and all of them are blonde "Aryan" types. This is the closest thing to a real "feminazism" I know of. (Even though it was written decades before the Nazis) Although there might be a very small element of white-supremacist women who advocate some form of feminism.

Oddly I have heard a small number of liberals, usually men who nevertheless hate Limbaugh and "right-wingers", use the word "feminazi" to describe a small group of extremely radical Radical feminists. People like Valerie Solanas, Luce Irigaray, Mary Daly, Separatist feminism, W.I.T.C.H. (organisation), and maybe a couple other extreme people. Although in most cases I think "misandry" would cover that. I'm not sure why this is an article in its own right rather then a mention in misandry.--T. Anthony 13:35, 3 October 2005 (UTC) --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Feminazi#Ludicrous_term.3F [Dec 2005]

Feminazi is an invective neologism used predominantly in United States political rhetoric to characterize women whose ideas are believed to be vehemently misandrous; i.e.- having an irrational and extreme hatred of men. The word is a portmanteau derived from feminist and Nazi. The term does not relate to the National Socialist Women's Organization or any other organization of women who served Nazi Germany.

The term was popularized by conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, who credited his friend Tom Hazlett, a professor of economics at the University of California, Davis, with coining the term.

The term feminazi has various connotations. To some pro-life conservatives, its use implies feminist advocacy for abortion rights encourages a holocaust. Others use the word rhetorically to suggest feminist views are being expressed in a unilateral manner.

In the extreme formulation, feminazis are seen by some as women who persecute men or who desire their elimination from the public discourse and any involvement into public affairs. The term is often used as a derogatory term for feminist.Feminism teaches eqality between men and women, while Feminazis preach the destruction of men. Many feminists, although moderate, are accused of being feminazis. Among these are Gloria Allred and Hillary Clinton.

The term has garnered a good deal of criticism over the years. Many feminists felt it was simply a way to dismiss all feminism as extreme or man-hating. In fact, some users of the term do not make any distinction between mainstream feminism and extreme feminism, and some of them would say the difference between mainstream and extreme feminism is far from where a typical self-identified feminist would say that is. Other women have attempted to reclaim "feminazi" by redefining it in their own terms to subvert the patriarchal connotations of the label; however, most feminists disclaim the nazi epithet as being offensive to anyone with a memory of World War II. Some feminist-friendly speakers have made some effort to use the term in a satirical way, but the irony does not necessarily silence debate over whether this is acceptable. Finally, some feminists have pointed out that it would seem contradictory to attempt to associate feminists with Nazis, who were generally opposed to gender equality.

Most commonly the term is used by critics to describe leaders in the feminist movement who publicly write or speak about their ideas -- or more specifically those who espouse ideas regarding inherent female superiority. The reason the term equates them with Nazis, the critics say, is because the Nazis, like radical feminists, were not interested in equality, but rather in superiority. Since some feminist leaders argue that women are inherently superior to men, the connection is obvious to these critics; those feminist leaders who express such ideas are not interested in equality, but rather in superiority. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminazi [Dec 2005]

See also: feminism - utopia - fiction - 1880 - 1881

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