women s studies 4

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  • Personal Reflection Paragraph

Post your personal reflection paragraph for this week’s reading as a response to this topic. If you edit the subject title for the discussion, that makes it easier for everyone to read and follow the threads

  • History of Feminism

Post your personal reflection paragraph for this week’s reading as a response to this topic.

If you edit the subject title for the discussion, that makes it easier for everyone to read and follow the threads.

Respond to one or more of the questions based on this week’s reading and the “History of Feminism” powerpoint found under Content→ Week Two here. You don’t have to answer them all!

You can change the subject line to make the conference more readable for everyone.

Remember to give specific reasons and/or examples as part of your answer. Be sure to include the page number (or Module number) for any direct quotes. If you quote the powerpoint, use an abbreviation of the title as your citation (ex: “Feminism”).


Based on this week’s reading and the powerpoint …

  • What do you believe are the primary reasons women decide to become feminist activists? What are some of the dangers inherent in that decision?
  • What is the difference between feminism and Women’s Studies? How would you describe the relationship between them?
  • Do you agree more with the agenda of liberal feminists or radical feminists? Do you think both are important to a successful women’s movement? Why?
  • Is a unified feminist movement a good goal, or would it be better to have many more smaller, more specific (focused) movements? What is the advantage of a larger group? Of smaller groups?
  • Do any of the conflicts within feminism or the myths about feminism explain why some people don’t like to call themselves feminists? Why? Does it matter what people call themselves?
  • Do you identify more with the goals of second-wave or third-wave feminism? Why? Which specific goals?
  • Who do you think are the antifeminists? What do they have to lose if feminism succeeds?
    • Wollstonecraft and Rousseau

Read/view the document titled “Wollstonecraft and Rousseau” under Content → Week Two.

Post a response to one or more of the questions posed at the end of the document. Be sure to give specific examples to support your answers. The questions are:

  • What did Rousseau believe was true about the nature of women? What did he think was their proper role in society?
  • What was Mary Wollstonecraft’s main objection to Rousseau’s ideas about the nature of women? Did Wollstonecraft agree with him that women were naturally meant to be subordinate?
  • How does Wollstonecraft suggest that women can change their current role in society? What do women need in order to demonstrate that they can reason as well as men can?
  • How do Wollstonecraft’s ideas, written in the 1700s, reflect the concerns of Women’s Studies and feminism in the 21st century?
  • Why do you think Rousseau was so committed to his ideas about the nature of women? Who benefits if he is right? What would those same people lose if Wollstonecraft turns out to be right?
  • For over a century (until her work was championed by the women’s movement of the twentieth century), Mary Wollstonecraft was called a promiscuous, unnatural, likely crazy, and potentially dangerous woman. What does she say in her writings that might inspire such harsh judgment from her critics?

(4)”Feminist Politics: Where We Stand”

Also, be sure you have read this week’s material about feminism.

See attached bell hooks, a scholar known for her work on feminism, gender, race, teaching, and media (particularly film).


Post a response to one or more of the questions below (you don’t have to answer them all!). Refer to specific passages in the text as support for your response.

  • Define “revolutionary feminism” as it is described by hooks. What does the powerpoint lecture call this same type of feminism?
  • Which of the myths about feminism is hooks responding to? How does she try to redefine feminism to accomplish this?
  • hooks points out that “the logic of male domination is intact” even in the minds of many feminists, and in feminist and civil rights organizations. What does she mean by this? How does this logic prevent women from achieving equality even if some of the stated goals of feminism are met (like a law mandating equal pay for equal work)?
  • According to hooks, how do women participate in sexism? Can you offer any examples?
  • Why does hooks claim that working-class, poor, and minority women were more likely to become revolutionary feminists than were the middle- and upper-class white women who formed the core of the women’s movement? Do you think this is still the case? Why or why not?
  • According to hooks, what happened to the revolutionary feminist message? What could be done to make it more available to more people?
  • Read the second-to-last paragraph. What is your reaction to hooks’ claim that feminism needs to become more political and more clearly defined? Why does she say “one cannot be anti-choice and be a feminist”? Why does she say this? Do you agree?
    • Famous First-Wave Feminists

Look up some information on one of the first-wave feminists who was instrumental in the beginnings of the women’s movement in the 19th century, and report briefly on what you’ve found here. Include the url(s) (web addresses or links) for your sources in your post.

One place to start is the National Women’s Hall of Fame. The Webliography (“Content” → “Webliography”) offers some additional links to possible sources.

It’s fine if more than one person reports on the same historical figure. Just try to find something new to report!

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