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The Women's Center

The University of Montana

"As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media. "

~ bell hooks

Feminism is a diverse collection of social theories, political movements, and moral philosophies. Some versions are critical of past and present social relations. Many focus on analyzing what they believe to be social constructions of gender and sexuality. Many focus on studying gender inequality and promoting women's rights, interests, and issues.

Feminist theory aims to understand the nature of gender inequality and focuses on gender politics, power relations and sexuality. Feminism is also based on experiences of gender roles and relations. Feminist political activism commonly campaign on issues such as reproductive rights, violence within a domestic partnership, maternity leave, equal pay, sexual harassment, discrimination, and sexual violence. Themes explored in feminism include patriarchy, stereotyping, sexual objectification, and oppression.

Modern feminist theory has been criticized as being predominantly, but not exclusively, associated with Western middle-class academia. Feminist activism, however, is a grass-roots movement that seeks to cross boundaries based on social class, race, culture, and religion. It is culturally specific and addresses issues relevant to the women of that society: for example female circumcision in Sudan, or the glass ceiling in developed economies. Some issues, such as rape, incest, and mothering, are universal.

Taken from the Eastern Kentucky University Women and Gender Studies Program

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Women's Resource Center
University Center 210
Missoula, MT 59812
umt.wrc@gmail.com
406.243.4153