A Brief Introduction of Feminism


Feminism originated from liberal feminism of the 18th century, based on the theory of social gender theory and social gender difference theory. Traditional feminism has gone through three stages of transition, namely, physiological differences that led to social differences, social differences that created the value relation, and then the value of the relationship that led to the concept of inequality. In the 1980s, post-modern feminism began to abandon the concept of "gender equality" of traditional feminism, emphasizing and affirming the concept of "gender differences".

For modern feminism, feminism originated from America and has gone through two climaxes. The first one happened from the 1850s to the 1920s. The main target of this stage was to strive for women's property rights, their right to vote, and the right to education. In1970s, the second climax of feminist movements appeared and the main target of them moved to a deeper level. Since the 1970s, the focus of the feminist theory by liberal feminists has been shifted from gender equality and gender neutrality to gender difference and female uniqueness. Thus, it has broadened the horizon for feminism.

Since the 1970s, feminists increasingly recognized that inequality between men and women not only existed in some socio-political areas, such as rights for a vote, for employment, for education rights, and so on but also in the cultural area in which there is a deep imprint. In the system of patriarchal language created by the male, the female's experiences were ignored or distorted. Therefore, to change this situation for women, it is necessary to change the fate of the language of women and eliminate gender discrimination in language use, that is, to establish a women's language.

During this period, feminists insisted that women's liberation must first be the liberation of language which was one of the most famous slogans. The generation and distribution of the language were controlled by social authority, and the function of the social power sector was mostly controlled by men. That means men controlled the production and use of language. Such language described men's life, depicted men's world, and had been promoting a patriarchal consciousness, thus it formed the authoritative discourse of the patriarchal authority-"patriarchal language".

Under the control of the patriarchal language, women were modeled into their social role in men's demands and expectation. As a result, the inner world, the social experience, and personal experience of women could not be described, without their own language. Therefore, the feminists appealed to the feminist statement to emphasize the unique and different qualities of women and to have this kind of discourse built on the world of women having their own voice, enabling them to obtain equal status with men in ideology.

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