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Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives

Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives - Pamela Abbott, Claire Wallace Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.

It’s time for all the women in America–-and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for–-to fight for us now.


The different Feminist perspectives discussed in this book are: Liberal/reformist feminist , Radical feminism , Marxist feminism , Socialist feminism and some Black feminist perspectives .

Case study is Great Britain , around 1988 . Many researches and surveys on different subjects have been done and the results and some statistics presented on this book and the main point is that they must be done by women not by men for traditional sociology or sociology dominated by men proved that it has always ignored women and their demands and whatever which is not from the male perspectives has been considered as unusual or not related to sociology at all . The opening sentence of the first chapter is:

Sociology remains a male-dominated discipline, and this has fundamental implications for its theories, methods, research and teaching.

Sociology dominated by men , accepts that the main role that women have in life as a wife or mother is natural and women are naturally designed to do some special things .

But feminists raise the question and ask why??

…malestream sociology has in the main seen women’s roles as natural and therefore not investigated or problematised them; sociology’s tools, concepts and theories have been developed to investigate the public world of men and are inadequate for investigating the world that women inhabit and the relationships between men and women. Questions such as ‘Why don’t men care for children?’, ‘Why do men and not women have leisure?’, become key issues to be researched and explained. Concepts such as social class are seen to be inadequate as theorised in malestream research (see Chapter 3), and the methods used in malestream research are seen to be inadequate for investigating women’s lives.

Sociology believes that based on statistics women are not as active as men in some special professions , and that is because women naturally and biologically are tending to do so and therefore have some low paid jobs . They are not good in science and mathematics . Well , look at the history ! How many women mathematicians do we have ?! Are they comparable with the huge number of men mathematicians?!

Feminists raised the question and ask why??

The sociology of education has been concerned primarily with examining class inequalities in educational achievement, and especially the relative failure of workingclass children in obtaining educational qualifications. Until recently, sociologists have overlooked other important dimensions of educational differentiation – for example, gender and racial differences in achievement. Feminists have argued that girls are not only disadvantaged in the educational system, but that it is there that they learn to be subordinate and to accept dominant ideologies of femininity and masculinity. Girls, for example, come to see themselves as less important than boys and specifically as ‘no good’ at mathematics and sciences. Girls are apparently channelled into particular subjects that are seen as suitable for them and thus have their opportunities in the labour market severely reduced as a consequence. What needs to be explained is how girls come to accept this.

Sociology dominated by men never paid attention to inferior house works done by women all their life and did not consider it in their studies.

But feminists showed that actually women works at home is expensive:

Housework, the ‘unpaid’ labour of a wife, is worth quite a lot if it had to be paid for at market rates. In 1987 the Legal and General Life Assurance Company estimated that a ‘dependent’ wife was worth £19,253 a year in earnings (quoted in Sunday Times, 29 March 1987). The Company located on a computer the ‘average’ wife, a 37-year-old mother of two named Rosalind Harris. Her work was found to start at 7 a.m. on Monday when she began to prepare the breakfast and to end at 9 p.m. that day (a 14-hour working day). During the week she worked as a shopper, a window-cleaner, a nurse, a driver, a cleaner, a cook and a child-minder. Her total working week was of 92 hours’ duration. (This excludes periods ‘on call’, with the children in bed.)

Sociology believes that women are naturally designed for caring ; whenever a family member gets sick it is them who are responsible . And that directly affects governments considerations , while women's health is not the main issue . Just think about if men were the main users of contraception devices , how many of them would use the intrapenile device described by Dr Sophie Merkin:

The newest development in male contraception was unveiled recently at the American Women’s Centre. Dr Sophie Merkin of the Merkin Clinic announced the preliminary findings of a study conducted on 763 unsuspecting male undergraduates at a large mid-Western university. In her report, Dr Merkin stated that the new contraceptive – the IPD – was a breakthrough in male contraception. It will be marketed under the trade name Umbrelly. The IPD (intrapenile device) resembles a tightly rolled umbrella which is inserted through the head of the penis and pushed into the scrotum with a plunger-like device. Occasionally there is a perforation of the scrotum, but this is disregarded as the male has few nerve-endings in this area of his body. The underside of the umbrella contains a spermicidal jelly, hence the name Umbrelly. Experiments on 1000 white whales from the continental shelf (whose sexual apparatus is said to be closest to man’s) proved the IPD to be 100% effective in preventing the production of sperm and eminently satisfactory to the female whale since it does not interfere with her rutting pleasure. Dr Merkin declared the Umbrelly to be statistically safe for the human male. She reported that of the 763 undergraduates tested with the device only two died of scrotal infection, only twenty developed swelling of the testicles and only thirteen were too depressed to have an erection. She stated that common complaints ranged from cramping and bleeding to acute abdominal pains. She emphasised that these symptoms were merely indications that the man’s body had not yet adjusted to the device. Hopefully the symptoms would disappear within a year. One complication caused by the IPD and briefly mentioned by Dr Merkin was the incidence of massive scrotal infection necessitating the surgical removal of the testicles. ‘But this is a rare case,’ said Dr Merkin, ‘too rare to be statistically important.’ She and other distinguished members of the Women’s College of Surgeons agreed that the benefits far outweighed the risk to any individual man.

From Outcome magazine, the East Bay Men’s Centre newsletter, and The Periodical Lunch published by Andrew Rock, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA).

That was obviously ridiculous . It was also a joke - no such device has been invented . But actually ‘side effects’ of female contraception are not much different from that .

Sociology believes that the crime statistics suggest that women are considerably less criminal than men and that's really very good . But considering that crimes are mainly done in working class parts of society , people who probably are under pressure , fewer crimes between women lead feminists to "control theory".

In sociology the reason that women are notably absent from what is conventionally seen as ‘politics’ is that women are not naturally interested in these things .

But feminists raise the question and ask why?!

They (men) ask why so few women have participated in political activities rather than asking how men have managed so successfully to exclude women.

And finally the last chapter is about The Production of Feminist Knowledges .

And this question will be raised in mind why feminism ? Why ??