Gender inequality is a long-standing social problem in human society (Ioana, 2013). Feminism and post-feminism are two kinds of theories to guide people to solve this problem. Although these two theories are put forward to solve the inequality between men and women, there is also a debate between a feminist and a post-feminist (Gamble, 1999). It is a great significance to understand how to make use of these theories to solve the problem of female oppression. This essay will introduce the debate between the two theories from three aspects: the root causes of female oppression, women's pursuit of equality, and the cognition on differences between male and female.
2.0 Body 主體
2.1 The root of female oppression女性壓迫的根源
Feminism believes that patriarchy is the source of oppression of women (Mehrpouyan and Banehmir, 2014). Patriarchy's oppression towards women is not limited to the public sphere of economic and political activity, family and sex are instruments of patriarchal domination. For example, the ancient polygamy system in my hometown resulted in that many women could only live through relying on men, losing independence (Gamble, 1999). Postmodern feminism argues that women are oppressed, which is not only because of systems, it should also be understood from cultural or ideological perspectives (Pollard, 2009). Post-feminism argues that power is composed of discourse, women are oppressed, which is largely related to that men have discourse power (Gamble, 1999). For example, in my hometown, women in today's society have far greater access to education and promotion opportunities than in the past, and the system of public discrimination against women is almost non-existent in the present society. These phenomena show that the current social system of women's oppression has been greatly reduced. However, in the current society, women are inevitably treated unequally. For example, women are paid lowly than men in the same positions; and the number of males in high-tech fields or taking senior management positions is significantly higher than that of women. The cause of the inequality lies in men’s discourse power, as there is a long history of the presence of the thought of “"females as inferior as males", in the public ideology, the stereotypes that women in many ways are not as inferior as men exist widely, which has resulted in women’s being oppressed.
2.2 The pursuit of equality
Feminism leads women to hate men, and feminists believe that social systems are a system characterized by power, domination, hierarchy, and competition (Pollard, 2009). The system is the root cause of inequality between men and women. Equality between men and women requires not only the overthrow of the legal, political and economic structures of male domination, but also the overthrow of their social and cultural systems, especially the families, churches and colleges. In the feudal times in my hometown, the existence of polygamous marriage system, the ideology of male domination and female subordination, is the factor of oppressing women. Entering the modern society, these systems have been abolished, the ideological transformation brings opportunity to modern women in pursuing equality. Postmodernism argues that the relationship between men and women is not antagonistic but interrelated, interdependent and interdependent (Gamble, 1999). It suggests that gender equality should be established on the basis of recognizing the uniqueness of genders, advocating full cooperation with men and seeking the support of men, so that many men can become women's allies and partners, it argues that the relationship between men and women should be changed from male-dominated mode to partnership mode. In my hometown today, the status of women has been greatly improved, but it does not mean that the importance of men declines, many women-related issues such as the improvement of women's economic status, the resolution of violence requires male support and cooperation.
2.3 Differences between males and females
Traditional feminism thinks that equality is to strive for the same power as what men have. To achieve social and political rights and enter the field of men, women should use male standards to require themselves, trying to eliminate gender differences between men and women to achieve equality between men and women (Ioana, 2013). Therefore, feminism opposes that women are through cosmetics, beauty, clothing and other ways to please men, but this way of eliminating gender differences between men and women to achieve gender equality results in that in fighting for equality between men and women, it denies physiological differences between men and women, as well as the uniqueness of women, resulting in new inequalities. In the face of the problems brought by feminism, another feminism named radical feminism has turned to emphasize gender differences. It advocates emancipating the domination and oppression of men by emphasizing gender differences, affirming women's values and emotions, and promoting women's culture based on the nature of women. Postmodern feminism proposes a new concept of equality between men and women, recognizing the differences between men and women, going against the male-centered culture, it also opposes women-centered culture and advocates a pluralistic view to build social culture, so as to achieve women's emancipation and equality between men and women to promote the harmonious development of both genders (Gamble, 1999).Therefore, post-feminism advocates that women are through clothing, make-up, beauty and other ways to highlight their feminine charm, post-feminist do not take these acts as to please men, but a way to show women charm and differences.
Feminism and post-feminism are debated in three ways. Firstly, considering the root of women's oppression, feminism believes that it is patriarchy while post-feminism considers it as men's discourse power. Secondly, in the pursuit of equality, feminism holds that it should take drastic measures to overthrow male systems, and feminist advocates that it should carry out comprehensive cooperation with men to get male support. Finally, from the perspective of cognition on differences between male and female, feminism advocates the elimination of gender disparities against women, establishing a female-based culture, and opposes pleasing men. Then feminism believes that the difference between men and women should be recognized to promote the harmonious development of both genders, women should show their unique charm.
Gamble, S. (1999). The Routledge Company to feminism and post-feminism. London: Routledge.
Ioana, I. M. (2013). The Evolution of the Romanian Feminism in the 20th Century. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 81(28), 454-458.
Mehrpouyan, A. and Banehmir, S. S. A. (2014). Feminism and Feminine Culture in Modern Women Writers’ Works: with Special Reference to Anne Sexton and Audre Lorde. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 158(19), 199-205.
Pollard, J. (2009). Feminism and Work. International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 29-36.