This Feminist Criticism is brought out either through some reports or some journal writings by the authors. Women had since long been subjugated and subject to dominance in the patriarchal society. They had long fought for their basic rights to be given to them and for their treatment as equals with men.
Therefore, this Feminist Criticism was not inaugurated until the 1960s after witnessing two centuries of struggle for their social and political rights as well as the recognition of woman’s cultural roles and achievements.
There were various pieces of work in the earlier times as well which contributed to exposing the condition of women as well as demanding for their rights. The feminist criticism gained impetus because the feminist movements started in different countries then wherein women fought for social, political, cultural, and legal freedom and equality.
The topic becomes important, both from the point of view of society and its development as well as from the point of literature. It requires immense knowledge of both the fields in order to come up with something actually informative on the same. There are some case study helps to learn more about this feminist movement took place.
Therefore, there are chances that students studying it may require assignment help or even help with their case studies in the case of sociology. Virginia Woof was a prominent advocate and precursor of feminist criticisms. In addition to her fictional works, she came up with the novel A Room of One’s Own and various other essays on women authors as well as on the cultural, economic, and educational disabilities of the women in the patriarchal society dominated by men, which has hindered or prevented women from realizing their creative potentials.
In France, Simon de Beauvoir came up with a much more radical view on feminism or what we call, the second wave of feminism, with her The Second Sex written in 1949.
The book critiqued the widely accepted view of women being viewed as an object and viewed as ‘Other’ while the men are the subjects who represent humanity in general and who have all right to dominate the women. In her book, Beauvoir came up with the views of certain great writers of all times, who considered women merely as their subjects and nothing else.
She tried to bring to the readers the origins of this dominance that women have been seeing for centuries and even continue to see.
Thinking about Women by Mary Ellmann inaugurated modern feminist criticism in America. She, in a witty manner, talked about the derogatory stereotypes of women in literature written by men, and also about the alternative and subversive representations seen in some writings by women.
Even more striking was the book Sexual Politics by Kate Millett, wherein she talked about how power was used, throughout the world, as a tool for dominating and subjugating women.
In the book, Millett attacks the male-biased nature of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory and also the works of various writers who, in their books, aggrandize their phallic selves and treat women just as submissive sexual objects.
After the year 1969, the world of literature saw an explosion in the field of feminist writings. However, all these feminist writings and movements shared certain assumptions and concepts that underlie the exploration of this world by various critics.
These assumptions are important to be noted in order to understand the movement clearly and get effective assignment help on the topic:
- The first assumption is that the Western world is patriarchal, that is male-centered, and is organized and conducted in such a manner so as to dominate and subjugate women in all cultural domains like religious, familial, economic, political, legal well as artistic. From the Hebrew Bible to the Greek texts and till today, women tend to be defined as something negative in the human norm and thus referred to as ‘other’.
- Simon de Beauvoir puts in a very famous and relevant statement saying that “one is not born, but rather, becomes a woman….” She says that this civilization produces this creature defined as feminine. Therefore, the movement assumes this very aspect one’s sex is determined by the prevailing concepts of gender and of the traits that are already considered to be either masculine or feminine and nothing else.
- The third assumption is that this patriarchal setting and mindset already dominates some of the existing great literature of all times, which mostly have been written by men until the advent of the feminist movements. In fact, even the protagonists of these works were male ones- Oedipus, Hamlet, Macbeth, Ulysses, Huck, etc. But it is a point that cannot be ignored that in the works of Shakespeare, his ladies played a prominent role in reversing the fortunes and destiny of the protagonist and thus his ladies were too given equal importance, if not more- be it Lady Macbeth, who provoked Macbeth to murder the king or be it Portia who released Antonio from clutches of the Jew Shylock.
Feminist critics everywhere, as stated by various research paper writings on feminist literature, had majorly made it a point to reconstitute the ways in which literature was dealt with before their advent so that justice could be done to the feminist point of view, concerns and values.
Another prominent procedure was to identify the recurrent and distorting ‘images of women, especially in novels and poems written by men. In line with this development, gynocriticism, as Elaine Showalter calls it, refers to work written, read, and criticized by women only. And thereafter the movement and the writing kept on progressing.