Feminist Theory and Resources

The feminist movement can really be divided quite distinctly into two phases. The first wave of feminism began somewhere in the 1860’s and lasted to the 1920’s when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified and women were given the right to vote. The second wave of the feminist movement began in the late 1960’s and continues to the present day. Feminist theory was developed more recently, within the second wave of feminism, as it involves a more educated approach, and many women were not given the opportunity to pursue higher education during the first wave of feminism.


Feminist theory takes the ideal or practice of “feminism” and places it in the theoretical, the philosophical. It embraces all things feminine, denounces many things masculine, but mostly seeks to understand the difference between the two and hopes to elevate the feminine in many areas of philosophical understanding in the arts, literature, economics, even mathematics.


Margaret Brent has been labeled by many as the “first feminist.” She asked for the right to vote and was denied. Thus began a fight and a struggle that led finally to a victory for women everywhere. On August 26, 1920, women were given the right to vote in the United State of America. Many more victories were won after that, and many fights continue yet today, such as equal pay for woman or the elimination of pornography due to the fact that it objectifies women. Many feminists wish only to be recognized for the individuality of the woman; some want to be recognized for the superiority.


Below you will find many sites that deal with many aspects of feminine theory. There is Socialist feminism, radical feminism, liberal feminism, eco-feminism, Black feminism, Lesbian-feminism, and Marxist-feminism. There is feminist theory around art, philosophy, aesthetics, literature, mathematics, geography, and history. There are magazines that lend themselves particularly to women, to feminist-minded women more particularly. And there are a few notable feminists worth reading more about.


Feminist Theory Website: Seeks to provide information on feminist theory and to expand the scope of understanding of those who are interested in feminism. The site is divided into three parts. The first includes various fields within feminist theory including aesthetics and art, anarcha, anthropology, body studies, communication and media, critical theory, economics, education, environment, epistemology, essentialism, ethics, history, geography, law, lesbian issues, liberal feminism, literary criticism, Marxism, multi-culturalism, philosophy, political theory, post-colonialism, post-modernism, psychology, radical feminism, religion, science, separatism, sexuality, and socialist feminism. The second part of the site deals with ethnic and feminism of different nations including Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, Oceania, and South America. And finally the website introduces many important figures in feminism alphabetically with their nationality portrayed by a flag beside their name. This is a very good introductory site for those interested in learning the fundamentals of feminist theory.


Berkley - Feminist Theory: Explains the first wave and second wave of the feminist movement and discusses feminist theory at length and how the view of the family as an “institution” has kept woman in a particular role. The author, Renate Holub, ascertains that man has more opportunities than woman because of his role in society, and she is at a disadvantage.


Topics in Feminism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy): Provides a definition of feminism, explains how some feminists differ from others, and points out the similarities of all. Topics in this site include feminist beliefs and movements, components of feminism, diversity in women, and feminism as anti-sexism. It also includes various topics in feminism.


Feminist Theory and the Contemporary Women's Movement: Strands of Feminist Theory: Gives very good definitions of the various movements in feminism beginning with the difference between socialist feminism and radical feminism. Also discussed are liberal feminism, black feminism, eco-feminism, lesbian-feminism, and Marxist-feminism.


Kinds of Feminism: Discusses liberal feminism and radical feminism and the necessity of the latter to achieve results. Also explains the role of Marxist and socialist feminism, cultural feminism, and eco-feminism in the movement.


Approaches to Feminism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy): Centers around the second wave of the feminist movement as it came to the United States in the 1960’s. The discussion focuses on the political discord in the United States and how this helped to facilitate the feminist movement.


Radical Philosophy - Articles - January/February 2001: Examines the differences between French and Anglo-Saxon feminism. Stella Sandford, the author questions whether Anglo-Saxon has a feminist philosophy of its own.


Roles of Men with Feminism and Feminist Theory: Brian Klocke questions whether or not men can examine and demonstrate feminism and can actually be called feminists. He discusses the role of the man in feminist theory and in the feminist movement.


Prof. Nina Baym: "The Agony of Feminism: Why Feminist Theory Is Necessary After All": Argues for the development of feminist theory. She explains that “feminist theory” is necessary because those who have considered themselves feminist and sought to intellectualize their surrounding and get themselves out in the world were accused of being jealous of mean and trying to become like men. Therefore, feminist theory was born in a number of fashions.



Strengths of Socialist Feminist Tradition: Believes that socialist feminism somewhat dissipated in the 1980’s, but it is becoming more prevalent again with the economic difficulties facing women and the country today. Women are looking again to materialism as a possible source of unrest, and thus they turn once again to socialism and its ideologies.


The Socialist Feminist Project - Monthly Review: Seeks to explain socialist feminism and its many facets and its similarities to Marxist feminism. It examines how women are oppressed through materialism even more than man, and it touts that socialist feminism needs to be alive and active today.


Socialist Feminism Part One: What is Socialist Feminism? | Workers' Liberty: Gives the definition of socialist feminism and explains that the socialist feminist believes that the evil is in capitalism. The woman is subjugated in the world and the factory as well as in the home.


What is Socialist Feminism?: Compares the reader to the socialist feminist in regard to the concerns that she has with working and paying the bills and with her job in general. The author, Barbara Ehrenreich, takes the Marxist socialist and the feminist and looks at each separately to further explain exactly what a socialist feminist is.




Marxism and Feminism: A site created by the Workers International League, these Marxist followers take up the cause of feminism and fight for equality of woman. They unite with feminists against the bourgeoisie, made of men in a man’s world, and they seek to create a more equal world for all. The site does outline the differences between a Marxist and a feminist, but the cause is worth uniting.


Marxist Internet Archive Library of Feminist Writers: A library of women writers who ascribe to the Marxist and/or socialist philosophy and way of life. There is a full biography available for each writer.


Bolchevik.org: Lengthy article on Marxism and feminism that details all the problems and barricades that Marxists and feminists face in liberating the woman. It explains the origins of the second wave of feminism, and the role of capitalism in the subjugation of the woman, leading to socialist feminism. It further discusses anti-pornography causes and calls for women’s liberation through a socialist revolution.


Mohanty: The writings of Chandra Mohantry regarding the technology of gender and the role of Marxism in feminism. She discusses woman as “not man” rather than woman herself and how that vision came about.




To Hell and Back: On The Road With Black Feminism: Is one woman’s, Michele Wallace, story of how she became a feminist at age 18. She graduated in 1969 and had many adventures after which helped mold her into the person she was, 26 years later, when she wrote this article.


Black Theology vs. Feminist Theology: Pits black theology against feminist theology, arguing that they are fighting for the same equalities, thereby gaining little ground each. It examines ways that each, in one way or another, goes against the other in theory.


Vol. 9.1 - A History of Black Feminism in the U.S.: Points out that Black feminism arose out of both the Black Liberation Movement and the Women’s Movement. It asserts that the Black Liberation Movement in itself was very masculine in nature and excluded women by its very nature of needing “freedom” to be a man. Therefore, sexual discrimination actually took place within the race, and women had to come to the forefront and take part of the feminist movement to get from under that.




ECOFEMINISM, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Eco-feminism joins together the struggle of women and the decay of the earth. Man’s disrespect of the earth is, in fact, comparable to his disrespect of woman, and thus women take up the cause of saving the earth on those grounds. The article argues that, though there is a philosophically a basis for eco-feminism, there has been little done to further this movement. The spiritual vision of the movement is also examined.




Review of Jacqueline Rhodes's _Radical Feminism, Writing, and Critical Agency: From Manifesto to Modem_: Studies the feminist movement beginning at the second wave. She sees a transfer from the feminist wanting to be seen as a victim. The woman may have been attacked, but that does not make a victim. This may be one difference of a radical feminist.


Radical feminism in 1897: Focuses on Jane Addams and the Danville women’s social reform club. It is one of the beginnings of feminism itself, and Ms. Addams was to be considered radical in her time.




Lesbian Feminism and Queer Theory: Another "Battle of the Sexes"?: Argues the differences between feminism theories and queer theories and explains that some of those differences are the same that divided lesbians from feminists in the beginning of the movement itself.


Lesbianism and Feminism by Anne Koedt: Explains that lesbianism and feminism are not the same. And by dating other women, women are, in fact, de-feminizing themselves, which is not in the feminist agenda at all.




Amelia Bloomer

Beauvoir, Simone de [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

FERRARO, Geraldine Anne - Biographical Information

Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759-1797

Emma Goldman

Modern History Sourcebook: Olympe de Gouge: Rights of Women

Gloria Steinem Biography - Biography.com



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