Monday, December 28, 2020

5 Important Feminist Thinkers to Know

Feminist and gendered thought is an amazing example and perhaps the only one of its kind in the power of a stream of thought that manages to bring about far-reaching changes in reality. It is difficult today to compare the relationship between men and women today with that of men and women a century ago so a combination of feminist thought and action began to emerge that would become a movement that would change the face of our society. The list of feminist thinkers (as well as some men) is long and respectable, we have gathered for you here some of the prominent figures worth getting to know.


Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf is rightly recognized primarily as a marvelous writer in her sensitivity but alongside her literary work also retains a place of honor at the beginning of feminist thought. In Wolfe's book "A Room of One’s Own" she wonders why women have diminished throughout history writing books. Her answer is that they never had a "room of their own" in which to write books, when in "room" Wolf means not only a physical space but what such a private physical space represents.


Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's feminism is found not only in the content of her library but also in her career, her role in the feminist revolution and the way she broke out and claimed a place of honor within the masculine European philosophy of her time. In her important book "The Other Sex" Beauvoir argues that woman has always been the "other" of man and has been defined in relation to him, without an identity of her own. De Beauvoir's inquiry into the sources of inequality between men and women was fundamentally an intellectual inquiry, but it paved the way for many ideas that sought to change the situation. Renowned philosopher Jean Paul Sartre is also remembered, among other things, as the stormy partner of Simone de Beauvoir.


Betty Frieden

In 1963, Betty Frieden published a book called "The Feminine Mystique" with a chapter on "The Problem That Has No Name." High-middle-class white women who lived the "American Dream" in the suburbs suffered, despite all the happiness of their lives, from unexplained symptoms of depression and anxiety. Frieden was the one who pointed out that what causes these women to suffer is a feeling that they are no longer content with the life of a housewife, of a mother and wife, and that they seek self-realization outside the walls of the home. Frieden's book is identified as one of the causes of the wave of women's work in the 1960s and 1970s. Fan Fact: Frieden's theory was used by the creators of the "Mad Man" series who even named one of the main characters after her.


Judith Butler

Judith Butler belongs to the so-called "third wave" of feminism that seeks to abolish the gender distinctions and power relations contained within them. At the forefront of this struggle can be found Butler with books like "Gender Trouble" and formative ideas like "Performances" of "Gender". Butler examined the phenomenon of drag queens and argued that what they show is the way gender roles are something we "perform", unwritten codes of dress, movement, speech, etc. that drag queens mimic in an extreme way. This argument leads to the conclusion that gender differences are a matter of social construction, not nature.


Raewyn Connell

Australian Raewyn Connell is perhaps not the most influential thinker in the field of gender in the twentieth century but it is worth getting to know her for two reasons. First Connell is interesting as a gender thinker who experienced firsthand the complexity of the issue today, when she was born a man and eventually became a woman. Connell‘s biography of course influenced her thinking and she became one of the pioneers of the gendered preoccupation with masculinity, after decades in which men enjoyed the status of observers on the debate. Connell has published a highly influential book called "Masculinities" which claimed that there is more than one way to be a man and also, as Connell proves, one does not have to be a man at all.

Know your Feminism:

see our List of Great Feminist Theory Books