Purpose, Features and Phases of Feminist Criticism

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    Purpose, Features and Phases of Feminist Criticism

    Post By Admin On 1, Sep

    Women 's societal, institutional, financial, and psychological oppression is the foundation of feminist criticism. Feminist criticism tries to reinterpret literary writings and establish the significance of women's work to prevent it from being forgotten or disregarded in the male-dominated world by attempting to examine women from a unique outlook and revealing women's efforts in literary history. Additionally, it aims to show that female opinions are just as significant as male viewpoints. Feminist criticism, in particular, is a branch of literary analysis founded on feminist views. It is generally acknowledged to be interested in feminism's political dimensions, and it makes criticisms of male-dominated literature based on feminist ideas.

    This informative post about feminist criticism has been penned down by a senior academic writing expert in our team. Read on to know more about the features and phases of feminist criticism.

    What Is The Purpose Of Feminist Criticism?

    The feminist school of philosophy aims to uncover misogyny in writing about women, which can take both formal and informal forms, by examining how components of our culture are essentially patriarchal (man dominated). This misogyny can permeate many aspects of our culture. The most horrifying example is perhaps at work, where men predominate over women in leadership positions. Also, discrimination against women can be seen in everyday life, where women are subjected to sexism and sexual harassment.

    In some parts of the world, women do not even have basic human rights and are victims of honour killings. Feminist criticism also addresses less evident kinds of marginalisation, such as the omission of female authors from the canon of literature, which tends to minimise the contribution of female authors. The ultimate purpose of all feminist activity, including feminist theory and literary criticism, is to promote gender equality to transform the world.

    Also Read Th This: What Is Discriminant Analysis? An Overview With Guidelines?

    Feminist criticism highlights the inequalities inherent in the prevalent political and economic system. It seeks to inform the world about the status of women in every aspect of life and inform the policy-making process. The central focus is to inform the policymakers and governments about the plight of women and compel them to take appropriate measures to redress the grievances. Moreover, feminist criticism in the literary canon seeks to deconstruct the patriarchal categorisation of knowledge and educate the general public about the importance of female writers and their contributions.

    What Are The Primary Features Of Feminist Criticism?

    Highlight Patriarchal Domination

    In patriarchal cultures, women have historically experienced social, economic, political, and psychological oppression. The ancient structure of male dominance in the home is still practised in society. In this system, a man is regarded as the family's leader and greatly influences the lives of the other members. The classic literature of practically all societies makes this clear.

    The Categorisation Of Women As "Other"

    Patriarchal societies and male-dominated literature signify women as "Other" and discriminate against them based on sex by signifying the concept that women are inferior to men. In the past, the oppression of women has been justified as the result of presumptive distinctions between the bodily and intellectual talents of men and women. Women in patriarchal cultures frequently have limited decision-making authority and are viewed as secondary; this viewpoint may be found in a wide variety of books and literary works from different countries and societies.

    How Feminist Criticism Seeks To Tackle The Issue Of Discrimination Against Women?

    Feminist literary criticism may incorporate methods from numerous significant fields, including archival research, psychiatry, linguistics, sociopolitical analysis, and economic analysis. In addition to examining overlap, feminist criticism may also focus on the interplay of racial, sexual, physiological, and socioeconomic aspects. Feminist criticism uses the following methods to deconstruct the patriarchal notions of misogyny:

    • Deconstruction of the underrepresentation of women in the literary can such as historical and literary texts
    • Examining how a reader's gender affects how they read and understand a text, as well as which characters they connect with and how they read the text based on their gender
    • Identifying connections between the literary work and concepts of power, sexuality, and gender
    • Criticism of misogynistic language employed in everyday usage and literature
    • Identifying and exploring the distinctions between the writing styles of men and women, such as the way that women tend to use more introspective language and men tend to use more explicit language

    Also Read This: All About Sibling Rivalry That You Should Know

    Different Phases Of Feminist Criticism

    First Phase of Feminism

    The early 1900s saw the end of the first wave of feminist criticism, which began in the late 1700s. It was mostly concerned with how male novelists and authors portray and interpret women in their writings. The revolt against men's discriminatory treatment of women at the time was another name for it. Criticism looked at how novelists downplay and discriminate against female characters. The texts produced during the first wave of feminism are the following:

    • Wife of Bath by Geoffrey Chaucer
    • A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) by Mary Wollstonecraft

    On the other side, many feminist campaigners existed, like Susan B. Anthony and Victoria Woodhull. They made significant contributions to the campaign opposing the conditions and positions that society had forced upon women. They were also crucial in bringing attention to the discrimination depicted toward women in that era's literature.

    Second Wave of Feminism

    Beginning in the early 1960s and lasting into the late 1970s, feminism had its second wave. The struggle for equal treatment and equal conditions of employment for men and women was at its height during this time. The National Organisation for Women (NOW) was founded in 1966 to establish equitable working conditions for women in the United States of America. It was the time period when feminist criticism was influenced by the writings of notable author Simone de Beauvoir.

    Third Wave of Feminism

    This wave began in the early 1990s and continued until the fourth wave began in 2012. Equal civil liberties and other activities during the second wave are taken into consideration by feminists, although they approach feminism from a different angle. They place a strong focus on both accepting diversity and the individual rights of each person. This wave has been discussed extensively by writers during this time, which has helped it become more prevalent.


    Feminist criticism uses feminism and feminist theory as a foundation to critique classic and contemporary literature. Its main goal is to address the problems surrounding women's status in every walk of life.

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