StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

Feminism and Postmodernism - Essay Example

Not dowloaded yet

Extract of sample
Feminism and Postmodernism

In particular, the so-called postmodernist feminism has challenged the claims that observed differences between men and women are necessary and that women have an essence that justifies their subordinating position in society.

Central to the postmodernist understanding of society is the belief that the grand or totalizing principles of modernity and the Enlightenment - including appeals to rationality, progress, humanity, and justice - have been completely undermined. This line of reasoning emerges from poststructuralist critiques of language, subjectivity, and representation. In other words, where poststructuralists criticized the foundations of modernism, postmodernists read these critiques as mandates for rejecting foundations altogether (Stabile 1995). European postmodernists, like Jean-Francois Lyotard, have expressed the belief that Marxism, like the Enlightenment in general, culminated in Stalinism because of its totalizing impulses.

Some postmodernists have gone much further than this identification of Marxism with Soviet-style systems, holding Marxism responsible for all kinds of oppression. Twentieth-century Marxism has used the generalizing categories of production and class to delegitimize demands of women, black people, gays, lesbians, and others whose oppression cannot be reduced to economics. This kind of judgment dramatically displays yet another feature of postmodernism: its historical amnesia. Marxism and socialist organizations in general have been repeatedly marginalized and delegitimized by capitalism.
Postmodernism is full of confusions and contradictions, nevertheless, it is based on some unifying principles such as non-critical and idealistic focus on the construction of real as well as examination of the concept of difference. For example, if the society is not able to identify any interests which might unite it, then the only mean to unify people is based on identity differences. This Marx's so-called unity in differences or the identity of interests shared by people and represented by the political institutions was rejected by postmodernists who did not accept any form of presentation in favour of the particular difference (Stabile 1995).
From the first glance, feminism seems to be more accessible than postmodernism and refers to the females as the political unity with the identifiable electorate. Feminism shares with postmodernism the idea of rejection of historical materialism. Notably, the contemporary theories of feminism do not reject the idea of system and totality, but rather elaborates its own analysis in which male domination is seen as the alternative or confederate of capitalism. Thus, women, being oppressed by male dominating system, share the common interest to oppose it. At its beginning, feminism was both intellectual and political movement: to help women in understanding their oppressed position and to promote the changes in society in terms of gender issue. Early feminists organized as the distinct class with radical intentions (Tong 1989).
Essentialism argument (the foundation of category "women" from biological perspective) and anti-essentialism argument ("women" seen as the historically and socially constructed group) are essential to understanding feministic assumptions. Essentialists believed that women have similar characteristics upon which political action can be founded. While, anti-essentialists claimed that labels "male" and "female" were not fixed ...Show more


Postmodernism is the North American movement based on the intellectual inspirations from French poststructuralists including Foucault, Derrida, Irigaray and others. …
Author : ciaraschinner
Feminism and Postmodernism essay example
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"Feminism and Postmodernism"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Related Essays

Marxism, Feminism and Postmodernism
Marxism can be regarded as the antithesis of capitalism, which entails an economic system based on private ownership of distribution of goods and the means of production. Marxism entails the system of socialism, whereby the dominant features include the public ownership of exchange, distribution, and means of production.
19 pages (4750 words) Essay
Functionalisam, Marxism, Feminism, Postmodernism
This essay analyzes functionalism, marxism, feminism and postmodernism. The origins of functionalism can be seen in the works of French scholar Emile Durkheim who uses knowledge gained from the sciences to analyse the social world. Durkheim viewed institutions as units in a system all working towards the stability and integration of that system.
18 pages (4500 words) Essay
Critically assess Lyotard's 'incredulity towards metanarratives',
When considering the viewpoint of Lyotard, it can be seen that his opposition toward the main ideology was legitimate in trying to question why metanarratives were used. However, the concepts which he provided as the form being unacceptable are limited to theoretical ideologies and don’t create an understanding of how the elements and techniques in this type of narrative can be used effectively.
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Do Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson Belong to Postmodernism
The postmodernist ideologies combined concepts such as a fragmented voice, the grotesque, magical realism and fantasy. In the story “The Bloody Chamber” by Angela Carter and “Sexing the Cherry” by Jeanette Winterson, there is a reflection of the postmodernist ideologies within the stories.
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
They sought equality in matters like the right to vote and the right to property. In the 1960s began what is called the Second wave of feminism. Wikipedia free encyclopedia defines this period of feminist thought "as mainly concerned with independence and greater political action to improve women's rights "This second wave has also been called the modernist perspective.
10 pages (2500 words) Essay
Feminism and Film
Films' powerful mis-figuring of the female is what feminism seeks to disempower. The visual is therefore a crucial visible part of any feminist theory. This is for two reasons: first because the visual is epistemologically privileged in Western knowledge and second because cultural images often subtly, or not so subtly, codify and articulate 'backlash' misogyny ( DuPlessis, 1985).It is hard not to sense that the ostentatious display in Fatal Attraction of a hysterical career woman and the audience delight in her murder reflects an ineffable feeling of a more deep-rooted hatred.
8 pages (2000 words) Essay
Postmodernism and Christianity
They have a distinct way of seeing the world as a whole, and use a set of philosophical ideas that not only support an aesthetic but also analyze a 'late capitalist' cultural condition of 'postmodernity'. Postmodernist theory has brought into existence a plethora of works of art whose makers and critics are deeply self-conscious about their relationship to language in general and to the previously accepted languages of art in particular.
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
Feminism, Environmentalism, and Postmodernism
The researcher of this essay will compare feminism, environmentalism, and postmodernism. Feminism has its roots in the blatant unequal treatment of males and females and the desire for women to be treated equally as men. Environmentalism originated from man’s desire to focus on his natural environment.
2 pages (500 words) Essay
Postmodernism, Feminism and Social Science
This essay explores social theories of interpretivism, feminism and their role for research in nursing. In 2002, social epistemology found gender was not only an important social category but it could not be studied in isolation from the other social categories such as sexuality, class and race. Holistic and individual care to patients is required.
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Modernism and Postmodernism
The researcher of this paper aims to analyze postmodernism period in the context of modernism. Modernism as a world based on the principles of urbanism, technologism, primitivism , and others. Postmodernism simultaneously grows and is repelled by the picture of the world, established in modernism.
9 pages (2250 words) Essay
Get a custom paper written
by a pro under your requirements!
Win a special DISCOUNT!
Put in your e-mail and click the button with your lucky finger
Your email
Comments (0)
Rate this paper:
Thank you! Your comment has been sent and will be posted after moderation