Essay: Vital Work Feminism and Women's Studies Calls

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¶ … vital work feminism and Women's Studies calls for and performs?

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that feminism and Women's Studies performs real and vital 'work' in the world, and is not merely an abstract exercise in philosophy or literary analysis. Fighting for greater understanding of the role -- positive and negative -- that gender plays in our society and culture is the goal of feminism. It demands intense intellectual scrutiny and self-scrutiny. Without a formal political movement like feminism, or a formal academic discipline like Women's Studies, people will often be unwilling to perform such intense cognitive work. They are apt take gender assumptions and stereotypes for granted. We must not forget that part of the purpose of the feminist movement and the academic study of the construction of gender is to make people uncomfortable. Feminism must question cliches about gender, race, religion and the assumptions that people assume are natural, even though they may be socially constructed.

Given the strides women have made in recent decades, it has become tempting to assume that there is no real need for feminism in today's day and age. But feminism is still required intellectually, in a rigorous and systematic fashion, to examine how sexism exists, often in covert ways. Also, even if women are studied within the context of other academic disciplines like history and literature, gender is often treated as an incidental aspect of how the human character is conceived. Women's Studies brings gender as a category to the forefront of people's attention, although it has been helpful to many other academic disciplines not specifically devoted to the study of women.

Feminism also has a great deal of work to do, politically speaking. Less than a hundred years ago, many people were seriously questioning if women… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Vital Work Feminism and Women's Studies Calls."  Essaytown.com.  June 25, 2010.  Accessed October 16, 2019.
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