Introduction:
Feminism or
Feminisms?

The title of this book should, perhaps, more properly have been Feminisms, because, as soon as you attempt to analyse all that has been spoken and written in the name of feminism, it becomes clear that this is not one unitary concept, but instead a diverse and multifaceted grouping of ideas, and indeed actions. And although many attempts have been made to answer the question 'What is feminism?' with a set of core propositions and beliefs central to all feminist theories, the task is made extremely difficult because many of the different strands of feminism seem to be not only divergent but sometimes forcefully opposed. So, perhaps we should start from the assumption that we cannot define what 'feminism' is, but only try to pick out common characteristics of all the many different 'feminisms'. Any attempt to provide a baseline definition of a common basis of all feminisms may start with the assertion that feminisms concern themselves with women's inferior position in society and with discrimination encountered by women because of their sex. Furthermore, one could argue that all feminists call for changes in the social, economic, political or cultural order, to reduce and eventually overcome this discrimination against women. Beyond these general assertions, however, it is difficult to come up with any other 'common ground' between the different strands of feminism, and as Delmar (1986) argues, one cannot assume that agreement or feminist unity underlies the extreme fragmentation of contemporary feminism. Indeed, such an assumption of underlying unity or coherence of different feminisms may have the unlooked-for effect

-1-

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Feminism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Introduction: Feminism or Feminisms? 1
  • 1: Equal or Different? the Perennial Feminist Problematic 8
  • 2: Feminism and the Political 25
  • 3: Employment and the Global Economy 45
  • 4: Sexuality and Power 59
  • 5: Ethnicity and Identity 76
  • Bibliography 93
  • Index 101
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