chapter  7
Feminist Theories and Methods
WithBonnie G. Smith
Pages 18

Feminist theorists acknowledge the importance of giving voice to inequities but they suggest that mere criticism of men or society or values hardly produces much needed transformation. Violence against women persists despite feminism, this line of thinking goes, as does women’s inequality. Theories involve transforming one’s way of thinking, providing new tools for critique, and seeing the activities and representations of women, men, and others from fresh perspectives. Marxist feminists generally see issues of equal rights for women and minorities as simply unattainable under capitalism—a pipe dream perpetuated by good-hearted but deluded liberals. Marxism has given way to the field of political economy, a study that seeks to find the political interests and operations behind the workings of the economy. Many feminist theorists criticize both Marxist but especially psychoanalytic theories as overwhelmingly misogynist for seeming to normalize male power and to get women to agree that their situation is hopeless.