Posted by: mavra | October 13, 2007

Week 4-readings

Rosemarie Tong’s chapter on Liberal Feminism lays down not only the foundations and core points for Liberal feminism but also the ambiguities and short comings that surround the ideology. Across a varied spectrum of issues that surround women, Liberal feminism selects a few and incorporates them into its stance. The crux of the discourse lies in “equality of opportunity” however, the idea is propagated keeping in mind just the white, middle-class, heterogeneous woman which limits the overall approach greatly. The emphasis is on gaining autonomy which can be achieved through political and economic reorganization. As soon as the issue enters the public sphere by bringing up economics and political freedom as the key to gaining equality, it immediately somehow conflicts with the private, such as the institution of marriage and motherhood.

I believe that Liberal feminism lacks functionality due to the fact that it lacks multi-dimensionality. It sheds light on the importance of incorporating the private sphere with the public or more so how women should become part of both and not have to choose between one or the other. It talks about women entering the work force and men taking a part in housework. But it does not acknowledge that these are structural social changes which cannot fall into an advantageous evolution unless the entire structure, which is masculine in itself, is replaced with a more gender neutral one. Liberal Feminism talks about women having a choice but its discourse is limiting as it defines oneself as either same as a man or different. This idea becomes problematic as the answer should not lie in a woman’s ability to be like a man, or her ability to entertain the idea of being like a man as a way into and out of the public sphere. Instead, the attempt should be to gain individual identity and not be defined in terms of having achieved the masculine which is somehow thought to be synonymous to equality.




  1. 4.0

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