Feminist Theory = Call to Action

As a subset of critical theory, a feminist lens can be used as a framework for research to critique institutions, culture, art, literature and more, in order to initiate change. It allows us to bring the discussions out of the think tanks and ivory towers and into policy and praxis.

Here are three ways that feminist theory can inspire action*:

  1. It values and centers women’s lived experience and perspectives
  2. It acknowledges that the personal is political
  3. It explores structures and existing conditions in order to reveal truth

Types of Feminisms

Feminism is best understood in the plural as feminist scholars have expanded their research into multiple philosophical vantage points points the 1970’s. These diverse feminisms focus on different things, yet they maintain a shared concern about the exclusion of women in society and a commitment to identify and eradicate oppressive systems of power.

Topic of interest include issues of gender stratification and equality, choice and sexual violence and freedom.

A few examples of feminisms include:

  • Traditional
  • Radical
  • Marxist
  • Black & Womanist
  • Liberal
  • Transfeminism
  • Ecofeminism
  • Postcolonial
  • Religious
note: There is no official authority that sets defining principles for how to use feminist or critical theory. The three elements I use here are common in the literature and were informed by Egbert & Sanden, “Feminist Theory,” Foundations of education research: Understanding theoretical components, (Routledge: 2019) and Virginia Goldner, “Generation and gender: Normative and covert hierarchies,” (Family process 27, no.1: 1988).

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