Analytic Feminism

For something to be called a "social construct," it must be accepted by members of society (Garry, Para 6). Everyone in society should come up with their own ideas. The word is mostly concerned with social class disparities. It outlines the concepts that humans attach to objects in their surroundings and how they perceive their interactions with these objects. A social construct can also be used to define a people's perception of an object or event that is influenced by their collective views within a society.

Gender is considered a social construct. The society mainly distinguishes between members of different genders using biological sex. Gender is a representation of the way people talk, describe and perceive men and women (Garry, Para 8).The society tries to divide roles by determining those that should be carried out by the male and female children based on their genitalia and their physical appearances. Feminine roles like cooking and cleaning are left for the female children while masculine roles that require more energy are left for the male children. In the socialization process, gender gives members of the society either masculine or feminine identities.

To understand the social construct of gender, a person should note that it is different from the sex of an individual. Sex is physical and biological, but gender is what people identify themselves as. Sociologists argue that it is acceptable for a person who is biologically male to fail to identify themselves as members of the male gender (Garry, Para 10). However, when a child is growing up, they are taught on how to live as boys or girls. There are set ways that they should follow. The ways bring out their gender roles. Male children may be stopped from doing certain duties that are originally meant for girls and vice versa. Boys are trained to be tough so that they can handle difficult situations and provide security while girls are expected to be shy and quiet according to the perception of the society.

In the society, the virtue of being born a man or a woman has social implications. Social groups based on gender are noted in the society. The behavior seen in women was greatly determined by the perception held by men concerning them. Their conception led to a creation of ideas and norms which were followed years later. Women could not challenge the conception men had against them because they lacked the power to do so.

Evidence that gender is indeed a social construct is seen through the variation of gender identity across different societies (Garry, Para 12). Members from diverse societies evaluate the roles of males and females differently. It is possible to find that a role that is designed for males in one society is not acceptable for males in another society. Religion, ethnicity and cultural background can also affect how gender identity is influenced.

People’s decisions can be affected by gender roles. Traditionally, most societies believed that major decisions were supposed to be made by males. Many cultures were led by men who made the decisions for the communities. The step mainly taken by the male gender when making decisions is that they rush towards reaching a final resolution. The female gender first explores and looks at various approaches and communicates about underlying concerns. Decisions made by males are arrived at quickly, but most of the time, they are not well thought off. Decisions made by females are calculated and carefully thought of, but they often take longer.

Currently, activists keep on pushing for gender equality. As a result of this, women are given positions that require them to make high-level decisions. This gives them an equal opportunity to that of men in making major decisions unlike traditionally when they could not get the chance to be involved in decision making. In the current world, women hold managerial positions in companies and organizations. They hold political and religious positions where they can make decisions. Their numbers are very low as compared to those held by men, but the rate keeps on increasing.

Question 2

There are three “waves” of feminism. One of them is the third wave known as the “micropolitics” of gender equality. The wave started in the 1990’s and continues to the present. The wave was started through attraction to the activism and writings of Amy Richards and Rebecca Walker. The two were third wave feminists who used writing as a tool to communicate their thoughts. The key players of the movement are activists and Generation X scholars who were mostly born and raised by players of the second wave feminist movement.

The third wave of feminism movement aims at conquering disparities in the pay that male and female workers get (Grasswick, Para 7). It is common to find male workers being paid more than female workers for a similar task, with the belief that the males work harder and achieve more than the females. The movement also seeks to fight for the reproductive rights of women in the society. It works to ensure that violence against women is ended. In most of the domestic violence cases, women are the victims. This is as compared to domestic violence cases where men are victimized by women.

One of the strengths of the third wave of feminism is the benefit the movement gets from the legal protections and rights that had been attained previously by the first wave and second wave feminists. This implies that they do not have to go through excessive hustle to get rights and protection for the movement because they are already in existence. The movement does not have to start its goals and strategies from scratch. It works on the work that was left unfinished by the second wave of feminism which makes it easier for them. If they had to start from the beginning, it would be more complex and time-consuming. The third wave feminist movement is more inclusive of females of color as compared to the previous waves (Grasswick, Para 12). It considers their plight in society and tries to fight for their rights.

Activism from the third wave feminists is made mire possible by the fact that women have achieved more power in terms of their economic and professional status. This was mainly achieved by the second wave feminists. With more women holding powerful positions in the society, the activities of the feminists are supported, and the goals of the movement are achieved more easily. During the third wave feminist movement era, there is an expansion in terms of opportunities and ideas making its achievements to be more significant.

The third wave of feminism movement has some weaknesses too. It faces challenges because of the wide range of feminist issues faced between the 1990’s and now. The issues make it more difficult for the movement to put a label on how a feminist should be perceived. In their move to include all races and classes in their approach, third wave feminists sometimes deviate from the traditional feminist ideologies. This happens as they try to accommodate varied ideologies which may conflict at some point. The movement overly sexualizes women according to research, and it appears as if they are objectifying them. The result of this is that most young women shy off from being part of the movement in the fear that they will be viewed in a negative image.

The third wave feminist movement has achieved a number of outcomes. It can reach a larger audience because of the use of internet and technology to give information. They reach out to people even through social media platforms. The third wave feminist movement saw four women enter the senate in the United States in the year 1992 (Grasswick, Para 17).Before that, only two women were in the senate. The movement, however, faces opposition from post-feminists who argue that the feminist period ended after the first and the second waves of feminism. This makes it lose its popularity to some extent.

Question 4

Metaphor plays a role in discussions of femininity and masculinity. The metaphor used in these discussions is commonly referred to as the gender metaphor. Gendered metaphors can either empower or disempower women leaders (Saul, Para 6). An illustration of this effect is seen in Hillary Clinton who was the first First Lady in the United States who moved into the White House with her professional career. Her role in public life was conceptualized using gendered metaphors. She was referred to as an “unruly woman,” a “Madonna” and variants of a “witch” and a “bitch.” She was not deterred by the metaphors aimed at her because of her political achievements despite her gender. Instead, she pressed on and became the first woman to be nominated by a major party for the presidency of the United States.

Traditionally, women were not allowed into the public sphere. They were limited to their families where they were supposed to raise their children and take care of their families. The public sphere is mainly dominated by the male gender. Powerful political positions are held by men. For a woman to venture into the political field, she is expected to drop her feminine traits and become “unruly” so that they can make any achievements. “Unruly” is a gendered metaphor used to represent tough women who are courageous enough to undertake political duties and fight to attain or retain political positions.

Gender metaphors in discussions of femininity and masculinity undermine gender equality. Metaphors aimed at attacking either the male or female gender disrespect the victims and make them feel belittled. Women face more victimization from gender metaphors in various institutions like politics, religion and the workplace. Gender metaphors determine the view that the society has of the different genders. According to Saul (1.8), feminine terms and metaphors are used to describe nature. This can be linked to the way the society is used to describing the mind and reason as male. This is in contrast to females who are described as emotional.

Colloquial language is a form of language which is used informally especially in writing. It makes written work appear casual. It is affected by the use of gender metaphors in discussion of femininity and masculinity. This is because sexist language is used to make generalizations that are gender-specific. The colloquial language used by the male gender tends to reflect dominance. It reflects certain positions as compared to the colloquial language used by the female gender. The male gender is inclined to using swearing words and slang more often than the female gender.

Gender metaphors influence self-expression. The female gender expresses themselves in high-pitch voices, according to the gender metaphors that portray females as emotionally unstable. Instability in emotions can explain the responses of women in high intonations as compared to men. The female gender expresses themselves in vocabularies that are different from the ones used by the male gender. Some words used by the female gender cannot be used by males in the belief that they will be seen as cowardly for example if a man says “I am frightened to death,” he appears womanish although a woman is allowed to use the phrase.


Garry, Ann, "Analytic Feminism," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

Grasswick, Heidi, "Feminist Social Epistemology," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

Saul, Jennifer, "Feminist Philosophy of Language," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

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