History of feminism
The history of feminism comprises the narratives of the movements and ideologies which have aimed at equal rights for women. While feminists around the world have differed in causes and intentions depending on time and country, most Western feminist historians assert that all movements that work to obtain women's rights should be considered feminist movements when they did not apply the term to themselves; some other historians limit the term "feminist" to the modern feminist movement and its progeny, use the label "protofeminist" to describe earlier movements. Modern Western feminist history is conventionally split into three time periods, or "waves", each with different aims based on prior progress: First-wave feminism of the 19th and early 20th centuries focused on overturning legal inequalities addressing issues of women's suffrage Second-wave feminism broadened debate to include cultural inequalities, gender norms, the role of women in society Third-wave feminism refers to diverse strains of feminist activity, seen both as a continuation of the second wave and as a response to its perceived failuresAlthough the "waves" construct has been used to describe the history of feminism, the concept has been criticized for ignoring and erasing the history between the "waves", by choosing to focus on a few famous figures and on popular events.
People and activists who discuss or advance women's equality prior to the existence of the feminist movement are sometimes labeled as protofeminist. Some scholars criticize this term because they believe it diminishes the importance of earlier contributions or that feminism does not have a single, linear history as implied by terms such as protofeminist or postfeminist. Around 24 centuries ago, according to Elaine Hoffman Baruch, " for the total political and sexual equality of women, advocating that they be members of his highest class... those who rule and fight". Italian-French writer Christine de Pizan, the author of The Book of the City of Ladies and Epître au Dieu d'Amour is cited by Simone de Beauvoir as the first woman to denounce misogyny and write about the relation of the sexes. Other early feminist writers include Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa and Modesta di Pozzo di Forzi, who worked in the 16th century, the 17th-century writers Hannah Woolley in England, Juana Inés de la Cruz in Mexico, Marie Le Jars de Gournay, Anne Bradstreet, François Poullain de la Barre.
One of the most important 17th-century feminist writers in the English language was Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Her knowledge was recognized by some, such as proto-feminist Bathsua Makin, who wrote that "The present Dutchess of New-Castle, by her own Genius, rather than any timely Instruction, over-tops many grave Grown-Men," and considered her a prime example of what women could become through education; the Age of Enlightenment was characterized by secular intellectual reasoning and a flowering of philosophical writing. Many Enlightenment philosophers defended the rights of women, including Jeremy Bentham, Marquis de Condorcet, Mary Wollstonecraft. Other important writers of the time that expressed feminist views included Abigail Adams, Catharine Macaulay, Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht; the English utilitarian and classical liberal philosopher Jeremy Bentham said that it was the placing of women in a inferior position that made him choose the career of a reformist at the age of eleven.
Bentham spoke for complete equality between sexes including the rights to vote and to participate in government. He opposed the asymmetrical sexual moral standards between women. In his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Bentham condemned many countries' common practice to deny women's rights due to inferior minds. Bentham gave many examples of able female regents. Nicolas de Condorcet was a mathematician, classical liberal politician, leading French Revolutionary and Voltairean anti-clericalist, he was a fierce defender of human rights, including the equality of women and the abolition of slavery, unusual for the 1780s. He advocated for women's suffrage in the new government in 1790 with De l'admission des femmes au droit de cité and an article for Journal de la Société de 1789. Following de Condorcet's repeated, yet failed, appeals to the National Assembly in 1789 and 1790, Olympe de Gouges authored and published the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen in 1791.
This was another plea for the French Revolutionary government to recognize the natural and political rights of women. De Gouges wrote the Declaration in the prose of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen mimicking the failure of men to include more than a half of the French population in egalité. Though,the Declaration did not accomplish its goals, it did set a precedent for a manner in which feminists could satirize their governments for their failures in equality, seen in documents such as A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and A Declaration of Sentiments; the most cited feminist writer of the time was Mary Wollstonecraft characterized as the first feminist philosopher. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is one of the first works that can unambiguously be called feminist, although by modern standards her comparison of women to the nobility, the elite of society may at first seem dated as a feminist argument. Wollstonecraft identified th
Timeline of women's suffrage
Women's suffrage – the right of women to vote – has been achieved at various times in countries throughout the world. In many nations, women's suffrage was granted before universal suffrage, so women and men from certain classes or races were still unable to vote; some countries granted suffrage to both sexes at the same time. This timeline lists years; some countries are listed more than once, as the right was extended to more women according to age, land ownership, etc. In many cases, the first voting took place in a subsequent year; some women in the Isle of Man gained the right to vote in 1881. Though it did not achieve nationhood until 1907, the colony of New Zealand was the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in, but not to stand for, parliamentary elections in 1893, followed by the colony of South Australia in 1894. In Sweden, conditional women's suffrage was granted during the age of liberty between 1718 and 1772; the Australian Commonwealth Franchise Act of 1902 enabled women to vote at federal elections and permitted women to stand for election to the Australian Parliament, making the newly-federated country of Australia the first in the modern world to do so.
In 1906, the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, which became the republic of Finland, was the second country in the world to implement both the right to vote and the right to run for office. Finland was the first country in Europe to give women the right to vote; the world's first female members of parliament were elected in Finland the following year. In Europe, the last jurisdiction to grant women the right to vote was the Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, in 1991. Women in Switzerland obtained the right to vote at federal level in 1971, at local cantonal level between 1959 and 1972, except for Appenzell in 1989/1990, see Women's suffrage in Switzerland. In Saudi Arabia women were first allowed to vote in December 2015 in the municipal elections. For other women's rights, see timeline of women's legal rights; the seventh century was the century where muslims created their country "The Caliphate" After Muhammad died in 632, Abu Bakr Omar both were chosen as caliph, after Omar's Death, he decided that the caliph must be a part of the hadith of the ten with glad tidings of paradise, so the Muslim started to vote between them, the women themselves were asked to choose just like everyone else with men from all across the caliphate until Uthman was picked as the new caliph based on what the majority wanted regardless of the gender.
Friesland: Female landowners are allowed to vote in elections to the States of Friesland in rural districts. Sweden: Female taxpaying members of city guilds are allowed to vote in local city elections and national elections: Sweden: Female taxpaying property owners of legal majority are allowed to vote in local countryside elections. Corsica: Female suffrage in the independent republic's Diet US town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts: One woman, Lydia Taft, is allowed to vote in the town meeting New Jersey Pitcairn Islands Tuscany Velez Province in what was the New Granada Republic grants universal suffrage to men and women; the Supreme Court annulled the provision for women. Norfolk Island South Australia—Australian colony of South Australia: property-owning women were given the vote. Sweden: limited to local elections with votes graded after taxation. Argentina: limited to local elections, only for literate women in San Luís Province The Grand Duchy of Finland: limited to taxpaying women in the countryside for municipal elections.
Victoria—Australian colony of Victoria: women were unintentionally enfranchised by the Electoral Act, proceeded to vote in the following year's elections. The Act was amended in 1865 to correct the error. Kingdom of Bohemia - Austrian Empire: limited to taxpaying women and women in "learned professions" who were allowed to vote by proxy and made eligible for election to the legislative body in 1864. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: limited to single women ratepayers for local elections under the Municipal Franchise Act. United States-incorporated Territory of Wyoming: full suffrage for women. United States-incorporated Utah Territory: repealed by the Edmunds-Tucker Act in 1887. May 10, 1872, New York City: Equal Rights Party nominates Victoria C. Woodhull as their candidate for US President. Isle of Man. Universal suffrage / the franchise for all resident men and women was introduced in 1919. All men and women could stand for election from 1919. Ontario -- Canadian province: limited to spinsters to vote in municipal elections.
United States: Proposed Constitutional Amendment to extend suffrage and the right to hold office to women. The municipality of Franceville in the New Hebrides (universal suffrage within its short existence
Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom
Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom was a movement to fight for women's right to vote. It succeeded through two laws in 1918 and 1928, it became a national movement in the Victorian era. Women were not explicitly banned from voting in Great Britain until the 1832 Reform Act and the 1835 Municipal Corporations Act. In 1872 the fight for women's suffrage became a national movement with the formation of the National Society for Women's Suffrage and the more influential National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies; as well as in England, women's suffrage movements in Wales and other parts of the United Kingdom gained momentum. The movements shifted sentiments in favour of woman suffrage by 1906, it was at this point that the militant campaign began with the formation of the Women's Social and Political Union. The outbreak of the First World War on the 4th August 1914 led to a suspension of all politics, including the militant suffragette campaigns. Lobbying did take place quietly. In 1918, a coalition government passed the Representation of the People Act 1918, enfranchising all men, as well as all women over the age of 30 who met minimum property qualifications.
This act was the first to include all men in the political system and began the inclusion of women, extending the franchise by 5.6 million men and 8.4 million women. In 1928, the Conservative government passed the Representation of the People Act giving the vote to all women over the age of 21 on equal terms with men; until the 1832 Great Reform Act specified'male persons', a few women had been able to vote in parliamentary elections through property ownership, although this was rare. In local government elections, single women ratepayers received the right to vote in the Municipal Franchise Act 1869; this right was confirmed in the Local Government Act 1894 and extended to include some married women. By 1900, more than 1 million single women were registered to vote in local government elections in England. Both before and after the 1832 Reform Act there were some who advocated that women should have the right to vote in parliamentary elections. After the enactment of the Reform Act, the MP Henry Hunt argued that any woman, single, a taxpayer and had sufficient property should be allowed to vote.
One such wealthy woman, Mary Smith, was used in this speech as an example. The Chartist Movement, which began in the late 1830s, has been suggested to have included supporters of female suffrage. There is some evidence to suggest William Lovett, one of the authors of the People's Charter wished to include female suffrage as one of the campaign's demands but chose not to on the grounds that this would delay the implementation of the charter. Although there were female Chartists, they worked toward universal male suffrage. At this time most women did not have aspirations to gain the vote. There is a poll book from 1843 that shows thirty women's names among those who voted; these women were playing an active role in the election. On the roll, the wealthiest female elector was a butcher. Due to the high rates that she paid, Grace Brown was entitled to four votes. Lilly Maxwell cast a high-profile vote in Britain in 1867 after the Great Reform Act of 1832. Maxwell, a shop owner, met the property qualifications that otherwise would have made her eligible to vote had she been male.
In error, her name had been added to the election register and on that basis she succeeded in voting in a by-election – her vote however was declared illegal by the Court of Common Pleas. The case, gave women's suffrage campaigners great publicity. Outside pressure for women's suffrage was at this time diluted by feminist issues in general. Women's rights were becoming prominent in the 1850s as some women in higher social spheres refused to obey the gender roles dictated to them. Feminist goals at this time included the right to sue an ex-husband after divorce and the right for married women to own property; the issue of parliamentary reform declined along with the Chartists after 1848 and only reemerged with the election of John Stuart Mill in 1865. He stood for office showing direct support for female suffrage and was an MP in the run up to the second Reform Act. In the same year that John Stuart Mill was elected, the first Ladies Discussion Society was formed, debating whether women should be involved in public affairs.
Although a society for suffrage was proposed, this was turned down on the grounds that it might be taken over by extremists. However that year Leigh Smith Bodichon formed the first Women's Suffrage Committee and within a fortnight collected 1,500 signatures in favour of female suffrage in advance to the second Reform Bill; the Manchester Society for Women's Suffrage was founded in February 1867. Its secretary, Lydia Becker, wrote letters both to Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and to The Spectator, she was involved with the London group, organised the collection of more signatures. However, in June the London group split a result of party allegiance, the result of tactical issues. Conservative members wished to move to avoid alarming public opinion, while Liberals opposed this apparent dilution of political conviction; as a result, Helen Taylor founded the London National Society for Women's Suffrage, which set up strong links with Manchester and Edinburgh. In Scotland one of the earliest societies was the Edinburgh National Society for Women's Suffrage.
Although these early splits left the movement divided and sometimes leaderless, it allowed Lydia Becker to have a stronger influence. The suffragists were known as the parliamentaries. In Ireland, the Dublin Women's S
History of women in the United States
This is a piece on history of women in the United States since 1776, of the Thirteen Colonies before that. The study of women's history has been a major scholarly and popular field, with many scholarly books and articles, museum exhibits, courses in schools and universities; the roles of women were long ignored in popular histories. By the 1960s, women were being presented as successful as male roles. An early feminist approach underscored their inferior status at the hands of men. In the 21st century writers have emphasized the distinctive strengths displayed inside the community of women, with special concern for minorities among women; the experiences of women during the colonial era varied from colony to colony, but there were some overall patterns. Most of the British settlers were from England and Wales, with smaller numbers from Scotland and Ireland. Groups of families settled together in New England, while families tended to settle independently in the Southern colonies; the American colonies absorbed several thousands of Swedish settlers.
After 1700, most immigrants to Colonial America arrived as indentured servants—young unmarried men and women seeking a new life in a much richer environment. After the 1660s, a steady flow of black slaves arrived, chiefly from the Caribbean. Food supplies were much more abundant than in Europe, there was an abundance of fertile land that needed farm families. However, the disease environment was hostile in the malaria-ridden South, where a large portion of the arrivals died within five years; the American-born children were immune from the fatal forms of malaria. The first English people to arrive in America were the members of the Roanoke Colony who came to North Carolina in July 1587, with 17 women, 91 men, 9 boys as the founding colonists. On August 18, 1587, Virginia Dare was born, her mother was the daughter of John White, governor of the Roanoke colony. It is not known. Jamestown, the first English settlement in America, was established in 1607 in; the first Africans since those in Lucas Vasquez de Allyon's unsuccessful colony in 1526–1527 were brought to Jamestown in 1619.
At first they came from Central Africa and there were twenty of them, including three women. At first they were treated as indentured servants until the 1654 case of Anthony Johnson v. John Casor Also in 1619, 90 young single women from England went to Jamestown to become wives of the men there, with the women being auctioned off for 150 pounds of tobacco each, as, the cost of each woman's travel to America; such voyagers were called "tobacco brides". There were many such voyages to America for this purpose, with the tobacco brides promised free passage and trousseaus for their trouble. In New England, the Puritan settlers from England brought their strong religious values and organized social structure with them, they believed a woman should dedicate herself to rearing God-fearing children to the best of her ability. There were ethnic differences in the treatment of women. Among Puritan settlers in New England, wives never worked in the fields with their husbands. In German communities in Pennsylvania, many women worked in fields and stables.
German and Dutch immigrants granted women more control over property, not permitted in the local English law. Unlike English colonial wives and Dutch wives owned their own clothes and other items and were given the ability to write wills disposing of the property brought into the marriage; the New England regional economy grew in the 17th century, thanks to heavy immigration, high birth rates, low death rates, an abundance of inexpensive farmland. The population grew from 3000 in 1630 to 14,000 in 1640, 33,000 in 1660, 68,000 in 1680, 91,000 in 1700. Between 1630 and 1643, about 20,000 Puritans arrived, settling near Boston; the average size of a completed family 1660–1700 was 7.1 children. About 27 percent of the population comprised men between 60 years old; the benefits of economic growth were distributed, with farm laborers better off at the end of the colonial period. The growing population led to shortages of good farm land on which young families could establish themselves. In the towns and cities, there was strong entrepreneurship, a steady increase in the specialization of labor.
Wages for men went up before 1775. The region bordered New France. Women were sometimes captured. In the numerous French and Indian Wars the British government poured money in to purchase supplies, build roads and pay colonial soldiers; the coastal ports began to specialize in fishing, international trade and shipbuilding—and after 1780 in whaling. Combined with a growing urban markets for farm products, these factors allowed the economy to flourish despite the lack of technological innovation. Tax-supported schooling for girls began as early as 1767 in New England, it was optional and some towns proved reluctant. Northampton, for example, was a late adopter because it had many rich families who domin
Atheist feminism is a branch of feminism that advocates atheism. Atheist feminists hold that religion is a prominent source of female oppression and inequality, believing that the majority of the religions are sexist and oppressive towards women; the first known feminist, an atheist was Ernestine Rose, born in Poland on January 13, 1810. Her open confession of disbelief in Judaism when she was a teenager brought her into conflict with her father and an unpleasant relationship developed. In order to force her into the obligations of the Jewish faith, her father, without her consent, betrothed her to a friend and fellow Jew when she was sixteen. Instead of arguing her case in a Jewish court, she went to a secular court, pleaded her own case, won. In 1829 she went to England, in 1835 she was one of the founders of the British atheist organization Association of All Classes of All Nations, which "called for human rights for all people, regardless of sex, color, or national origin", she lectured in England and America and was described by Samuel P.
Putnam 3 as "one of the best lecturers of her time". He wrote that "no orthodox man could meet her in debate". In the winter of 1836, Judge Thomas Hertell, a radical and freethinker, submitted a married women's property act in the legislature of the state of New York to investigate ways of improving the civil and property rights of married women, to permit them to hold real estate in their own name, which they were not permitted to do in New York. Upon hearing of the resolution, Ernestine Rose drew up a petition and began the soliciting of names to support the resolution in the state legislature, sending the petition to the legislature in 1838; this was the first petition drive done by a woman in New York. Ernestine continued to increase both the number of the petitions and the names until such rights were won in 1848, with the passing of the Married Women's Property Act. Others who participated in the work for the bill included Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Frances Wright, who were all anti-religious.
When Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton analyzed the influences which led to the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights in 1848, they identified three causes, the first two being the radical ideas of Frances Wright and Ernestine Rose on religion and democracy, the initial reforms in women's property law in the 1830s and 1840s. Ernestine joined a group of freethinkers who had organized a Society for Moral Philanthropists, at which she lectured. In 1837, she took part in a debate that continued for thirteen weeks, where her topics included the advocacy of abolition of slavery, women's rights, equal opportunities for education, civil rights. In 1845 she was in attendance at the first national convention of infidels. Ernestine Rose introduced "the agitation on the subject of women's suffrage" in Michigan in 1846. In a lecture in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1851, she opposed calling upon the Bible to underwrite the rights of women, claiming that human rights and freedom of women were predicated upon "the laws of humanity" and that women, did not require the written authority of either Paul or Moses, because "those laws and our claim are prior" to both.
She attended the Women's Rights Convention in the Tabernacle, New York City, on September 10, 1853, spoke at the Hartford Bible Convention in 1854. It was in March of that year that she took off with Susan B. Anthony on a speaking tour to Washington, D. C. Susan B. Anthony arranged Ernestine Rose did all of the speaking. Anthony embarked on her own first lecture tour. In October 1854, Ernestine Rose was elected president of the National Women's Rights Convention at Philadelphia, overcoming the objection that she was unsuitable because of her atheism. Susan B. Anthony supported her in this fight, declaring that every religion—and none—should have an equal right on the platform. In 1856 she spoke at the Seventh National Woman's Convention saying in part, "And when your minister asks you for money for missionary purposes, tell him there are higher, holier, nobler missions to be performed at home; when he asks for colleges to educate ministers, tell him you must educate woman, that she may do away with the necessity of ministers, so that they may be able to go to some useful employment."She appeared again in Albany, New York, for the State Women's Rights Convention in early February 1861, the last one to be held until the end of the Civil War.
On May 14, 1863, she shared the podium with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Antoinette Blackwell when the first Women's National Loyal League met to call for equal rights for women, to support the government in the Civil War "in so far as it makes a war for freedom", she was in attendance at the American Equal Rights Association meeting in which there was a schism and on May 15, 1869 joined with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone to form a new organization, the National Woman Suffrage Association, which fought for both male and female suffrage, taking a position on the executive committee, she died at England, on August 4, 1892, at age eighty-two. The most prominent other people to publicly advocate for feminism and to challenge Christianity in the 1800s were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage. In 1885 Stanton wrote an essay entitled "Has Christianity Benefited Woman?" Arguing that it had in fact hurt women's rights, stating, "All religions thus far have taught the headship and superiority of man, the inferiority and subordina
Suffrage in Australia
Suffrage in Australia refers to the right to vote for people living in Australia, including all its six component states and territories, as well as local councils. The colonies of Australia began to grant universal male suffrage during the 1850s and women's suffrage followed between the 1890s and 1900s. Today, the right to vote at federal and local levels of government is enjoyed by all citizens of Australia over the age of 18 years. Upon first white settlement in New South Wales in 1788, the appointed Governors had autocratic powers within the colony, but agitation for representative government began soon after the settlement. A legislative body, the New South Wales Legislative Council, was created in 1825, an appointed body whose function was to advise the Governor. On 24 August 1824, 5 members were appointed to the Council, which increased to 7 members in 1825, between 10 and 15 in 1829. In 1829, British sovereignty was extended to cover the whole of Australia, everyone born in Australia, including Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, became British subjects by birth.
The first parliamentary elections in Australia took place in 1843 for the New South Wales Legislative Council under the New South Wales Constitution Act 1842. The Council had 36 members, of which 12 were appointed by the Governor and the remainder were elected; the right to vote was limited to men with a freehold valued at £200 or a householder paying rent of £20 per year, both large sums at the time. In the 1850s, limited self-government was granted to South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania: all adult male British subjects became entitled to vote; this included indigenous people but they were not encouraged to enroll. Queensland gained self-government in 1859 and Western Australia in 1890, but these colonies denied indigenous people the vote. An innovative secret ballot was introduced in Victoria and South Australia. In 1856, under a new Constitution, the New South Wales Parliament became bicameral with a elected Legislative Assembly and a appointed Legislative Council with a Government taking over most of the legislative powers of the Governor.
On 22 May 1856, the newly constituted New South Wales Parliament sat for the first time. The right to vote for Legislative Assembly was extended to all adult males in 1858. In 1901, the six Australian colonies united to form the federal Commonwealth of Australia; the first election for the Commonwealth Parliament in 1901 was based on the electoral laws at that time of the six colonies, so that those who had the right to vote and to stand for Parliament at state level had the same rights for the 1901 Australian federal election. Only in South Australia and Western Australia did women have a vote. Tasmania retained a small property qualification for voting, but in the other states all male British subjects over 21 could vote. Only in South Australia and Tasmania were indigenous Australians theoretically entitled to vote. A few may have done so in South Australia. Western Australia and Queensland barred indigenous people from voting. In 1902, the Commonwealth Parliament passed the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902, which established a uniform franchise law for the federal Parliament.
The Act declared that all British subjects over the age of 21 years, living in Australia for at least 6 months were entitled to a vote, whether male or female, whether married or single. Besides granting Australian women the right to vote at a national level, it allowed them to stand for election to federal Parliament; this meant that Australia was the second country, after New Zealand, to grant women's suffrage at a national level, the first country to allow women to stand for Parliament. However, the Act disqualified Indigenous people from Australia, Asia and the Pacific Islands, with the exception of Māori, from voting though they were British subjects and otherwise entitled to a vote. By this provision, Indian people, for example, were disqualified to vote; the only exception was in relation to those who were entitled under Section 41 of the Australian Constitution to a vote. Section 41 states that any individual who has gained a right to vote at a state level, must have the right to vote in federal elections.
The Solicitor-General, Robert Garran, interpreted the provision to mean that Commonwealth voting rights were granted by section 41 only to people who were State voters in 1902. The effect was not to enable those who subsequently acquired the right to vote at a State level, but who were expressly excluded from the franchise by the 1902 Act, such as Indigenous Australians, to vote at the federal level; those otherwise entitled voters who are subject to a crime which carries a penalty of over one year in prison are disqualified to vote. There was no representation for any of the territories of Australia. In the meantime, State franchise laws continued in force. In 1897, in South Australia, Catherine Helen Spence was the first woman to stand as a political candidate; the restrictions on voting by indigenous Australians were relaxed after World War II, removed by the Commonwealth Electoral Act in 1962. Senator Neville Bonner became the first Aboriginal Australian to sit in the federal Parliament in 1971.
Julia Gillard became the first female Prime Minister of Australia in 2010. Traditional Aboriginal society had been governed by councils of elders and a corporate decision making process, but the first European-style governments established after 1788 were autocratic and run by appointed governors - although E
Femininity is a set of attributes and roles associated with girls and women. Femininity is constructed, but made up of both socially-defined and biologically-created factors; this makes it distinct from the definition of the biological female sex, as both males and females can exhibit feminine traits. Traits traditionally cited as feminine include gentleness and sensitivity, though traits associated with femininity vary depending on location and context, are influenced by a variety of social and cultural factors. Tara Williams has suggested that modern notions of femininity in English speaking society began during the English medieval period at the time of the bubonic plague in the 1300s. Women in the Early Middle Ages were referred to within their traditional roles of maiden, wife, or widow. After the Black Death in England wiped out half the population, traditional gender roles of wife and mother changed, opportunities opened up for women in society. Prudence Allen has traced; the words femininity and womanhood are first recorded in Chaucer around 1380.
In 1949, French intellectual Simone de Beauvoir wrote that "no biological, psychological or economic fate determines the figure that the human female presents in society" and "one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman," an idea, picked up in 1959 by Canadian-American sociologist Erving Goffman and in 1990 by American philosopher Judith Butler, who theorized that gender is not fixed or inherent but is rather a defined set of practices and traits that have, over time, grown to become labelled as feminine or masculine. Goffman argued that women are socialized to present themselves as "precious and fragile, uninstructed in and ill-suited for anything requiring muscular exertion" and to project "shyness, reserve and a display of frailty and incompetence."Second-wave feminists, influenced by de Beauvoir, believed that although biological differences between females and males were innate, the concepts of femininity and masculinity had been culturally constructed, with traits such as passivity and tenderness assigned to women and aggression and intelligence assigned to men.
Girls, second-wave feminists said, were socialized with toys, games and school into conforming to feminine values and behaviours. In her significant 1963 book The Feminine Mystique, American feminist Betty Friedan wrote that the key to women's subjugation lay in the social construction of femininity as childlike and dependent, called for a "drastic reshaping of the cultural image of femininity." While the defining characteristics of femininity are not universally identical, some patterns exist: gentleness, sensitivity, sweetness, tolerance, nurturance and succorance are traits that have traditionally been cited as feminine. Femininity is sometimes linked with sexual appeal. Sexual passiveness, or sexual receptivity, is sometimes considered feminine while sexual assertiveness and sexual desire is sometimes considered masculine. People who exhibit a combination of both masculine and feminine characteristics are considered androgynous, feminist philosophers have argued that gender ambiguity may blur gender classification.
Modern conceptualizations of femininity rely not just upon social constructions, but upon the individualized choices made by women. Ann Oakley's sex/gender dichotomy has had a considerable influence on sociologists defining masculine and feminine behavior as regulated and reproduced in our society, as well as the power structures relating to the concepts. An ongoing debate with regards to sex and psychology concerns the extent to which gender identity and gender-specific behavior is due to socialization versus inborn factors. According to Diane F. Halpern, both factors play a role, but the relative importance of each must still be investigated; the nature versus nurture question, for example, is extensively debated and is continually revitalized by new research findings. Some hold that feminine identity is a'given' and a goal to be sought. In 1959, researchers such as John Money and Anke Erhardt proposed the prenatal hormone theory, their research argues that sexual organs bathe the embryo with hormones in the womb, resulting in the birth of an individual with a distinctively male or female brain.
This theory, has been criticized on theoretical and empirical grounds and remains controversial. In 2005, scientific research investigating sex and psychology showed that gender expectations and stereotype threat affect behavior, a person's gender identity can develop as early as three years of age. Money argued that gender identity is formed during a child's first three years. Mary Vetterling-Braggin argues that all characteristics associated with femininity arose from early human sexual encounters which were male-forced and female-unwilling, because of male and female anatomical differences. Others, such as Carole Pateman, Ria Kloppenborg, Wouter J. Hanegraaff, argue that the definition of femininity is the result of how females must behave in order to maintain a patriarchal social system. In his 1998 book Masculinity and Femininity: the Taboo Dimension of National Cultures, Dutch psychologist and researcher Geert Hofstede wrote that only behaviors directly connected with procreation can speaking, be described as feminine or masculine, yet every society worldwide recognizes many additional behaviors as more suitable to females than males, vice versa.
He describes these as relativ