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Postmodern feminism is concerned with the diversity of female experiences of gender inequality; it also introduces language into the scope of discussion.

Key Ideas

Postmodern Feminism, as a subdivision in postmodernism, focuses on diversity. It questions the unitary idea of identity and experiences shared by all women. It celebrates the fundamental differences between men and women (as opposed to radical feminism) as well as the differences between women themselves. It also focuses on the diversity of family forms of heterosexuals, lesbians, black women and classes to understand general inequality.

Postmodern feminism also introduces language as a factor shaping social reality. Postmodern feminism illustrates how language is masculine (Manmade, mankind, etc), and promote reconstruction of the language to develop a new, gender neutral language (synthetic,humanity, etc). It suggests that such a masculine language shapes individuals' understanding in a gender biased way. Some even move to suggest that the masculine language can sometimes prevent females from illustrating their own experiences (for example, many females in the last century can not express their experience of sexual harassment because such a word had not been invented yet; this language problem ultimately made females feel that such an experience is their own personal, unique experience. From this point of view, postmodernism has a valid argument in language, since such language problems can prevent females from realizing that their suffering of gender inequality is in fact shared) .

Related sociologists

  • Helen Haste
  • Helene Cixous
  • FeJacques Derrida

Criticism

  • Postmodern feminism emphasis on language leads to a neglect of other sources of inequality.
    • ‘Elitist & Jargon-ridden’
    • Common interests are ignored
  • Ann Oakley: ‘The only cause of post-modernism is its post-modernism’
  • Many suggest Postmodern feminism is not a type of feminism, but can effectively evaluate other types of feminism

Related theories

Feminism

Liberal feminism

Marxism feminism

Radical feminism

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