Conclusion: What is feminist theory?
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Conclusion: What is feminist theory? book
In the sixties, feminists began to question various images, repre sentations, ideas and presumptions traditional theories developed about women and the feminine. To begin with, feminists directed their theoretical attention to patriarchal discourses, those which were either openly hostile to and aggressive about women and the feminine, or those which had nothing at all to say about women. Feminists seemed largely preoccupied with the inclusion of women in those spheres from which they had been excluded, that is, with creating representations which would enable women to be regarded as men’s equals. Instead of being ignored by and excluded from theory, women were to be included as possible objects of investigation. Issues of direct relevance to women’s lives-the family, sexuality, the ‘private’ or domestic sphere, interpersonal relations-were to be included, in some in stances for the first time, as a relevant and worthy object of intel lectual concern. Generally, feminists continued to rely on the methods, techniques, concepts and frameworks of traditional patriarchal theories, especially in leftist or radical form, using them to develop accounts of women’s oppression. Some of the relevant names circulat ing in feminist discourses at the time included M arx, Reich, M arcuse, M cluhan, Laing, Cooper, Sartre, Fanon, M asters and Johnson. Women used these texts in their attempts to include women as the equals of men in the sphere of theoretical analysis, developing out of
various theories of (class or race) oppression by modifying and adjusting their details in order to account for women’s specific oppression.