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Part I. According to Bell Hooks, feminism is a tool to stop sexist exploitation, sexism, patriarchy and oppression. The author says that while women do not change their position and attitude towards patriarchy and sexism, it will prosper (Hooks, 2000). In other words, while women do not enhance feministic perspective to their lives, they are the participants of sexism and patriarchy. It is known that there are two types of feminism: reformist and revolutionary feminism. Of course, these types have some differences in their policy. The main difference between revolutionary and reformist feminism is that reformist thinkers fight for gender equality. Revolutionary thinkers wanted something completely different from the existing situation of that time. They tried to get rid off sexism and patriarchy. In other words, they wanted to change the system. Reformist feminism was not anti-men feminism; it just demanded the equality of women and men. Reformist thinkers were ready to live in an existing system, all they wanted was to have the same rights as men did. The author Bell Hooks advocates the revolutionary feminism. To support this statement, one can remember the definition of feminism, which was created by Hooks. Her definition meets the goals of revolutionary feminism. Moreover, when she says that revolutionary feminism’s aim was not only to change the existing system, she adds “We wanted to transform this system”; therefore, one can understand that Bell Hooks ascribes herself to this very type of feminism (Hooks, 2000).
Part II. According to Marilyn Frye, oppression is a restriction of women’s rights and freedom (Frye, 1983). The author compares oppressed woman to a bird in a cage. Such woman is not free to do what she wants; therefore she is neither personally nor economically free. The example of Double Bind is that women are penalized in both situations: whether they are feminine or decisive. On one hand, if women are feminine, they are blamed with conformity. On the other hand, women who are decisive are blamed with the lack of femininity. In contrast, men are not penalized if they are masculine. They can be penalized only in case of being not masculine, in other words, if they do not meet the norms of standard. The analogy between oppression and a birdcage lies in a restricted freedom. Like a bird in a cage, an oppressed woman does not have enough freedom to live her life in a way she wants to. She cannot be free economically and personal. She has no freedom of acts and thoughts.
Part III. Reading philosophy as a feminist means to percept the philosophical issues from the feminist perspective. In other words, a reader should see the things that are described in a philosophical book from the women’s point of view (Tuana, 1992). It means to be conscious of domination of men at workplaces, at home, in the streets. However, being conscious about it is not enough. Feminist readers should also be critical towards such a situation. The male domination may concern a lot of spheres of life, for instance, such as education, work, education, rights to justice and property, voting and so on. Feminism reading provides a lot of new perspectives to many traditional problems of philosophy. Taking into consideration the issue of using “humankind” instead of “mankind”, sexism will be removed from philosophical texts by changing all references to “men” into references to “human beings”. This will mean that philosophers appeal not only to men, but to women as well. Revolutionary approach of feminism relates to Tuana’s advice on how to read philosophy as a feminist because it is focused on getting rid off sexism, patriarchy and oppression.
Hooks, B. (2000). Feminism is For Everybody. London: Pluto Press.
Frye, M. (1983). Oppression. Abridged from The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory. Trumansburg, New York: The Crossing Press.
Tuana, N. (1992). Woman and the History of Philosophy. New York: Paragon House.