An alternative, however, would be to grant that in practice unityamong feminists cannot be taken for granted, but to begin with atheoretical common-ground among feminist views that does not assumethat sexism appears in the same form or for the same reasons in allcontexts. We saw above that one promising strategy for distinguishingsexism from racism, classism, and other forms of injustice is to focuson the idea that if an individual is suffering sexist oppression, thenan important part of the explanation why she is subject to theinjustice is that she is or appears to be a woman. This includes casesin which women as a group are explicitly targeted by a policy or apractice, but also includes cases where the policy or practice affectswomen due to a history of sexism, even if they are not explicitlytargeted. For example, if women are deprived an education and so are,on the whole, illiterate. And if under these circumstances only thosewho are literate are entitled to vote. Then we can say that women as agroup are being disenfranchised and that this is a form of sexistoppression because part of the explanation of why women cannot vote isthat they are women, and women are deprived an education. Thecommonality among the cases is to be found in the role of gender inthe explanation of the injustice rather than the specific form theinjustice takes. Building on this we could unify a broad range offeminist views by seeing them as committed to the (very abstract)claims that:
In , Dr. Brown discusses feminist criticism of Eliot's novels. In the podcast , she discusses Eliot's use of women as scapegoats to illustrate the injustice of the distribution of happiness in Victorian England.
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Where does this leave us? ‘Feminism’ is an umbrella termfor a range of views about injustices against women. There aredisagreements among feminists about the nature of justice in generaland the nature of sexism, in particular, the specific kinds ofinjustice or wrong women suffer; and the group who should be theprimary focus of feminist efforts. Nonetheless, feminists arecommitted to bringing about social change to end injustice againstwomen, in particular, injustice against women as women.
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Sooner or later in an Introduction to Literature class, we need to discuss "the F word": Feminism.
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