Feminism vocabulary (for International Women's Day)

To celebrate International Women's Day, an excerpt on feminism from the Dictionary of Critical Theory, edited by Ian Buchanan.

http://oxforddictionaries.com/page/womensday
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definitions & notes only words
  1. feminism
    a doctrine that advocates equal rights for women
    It is customary to divide the history of feminism into a First, Second, and Third Wave, with each period signalling a different era in the struggle to attain equality between the sexes.
  2. social movement
    a group of people with a common ideology who try together to achieve certain general goals
    One of the most important social movements of the past two centuries and certainly the social movement which has brought about the most enduring and progressive transformation of human society on a global scale.
  3. feminist
    a supporter of equal rights for women
    This was certainly the case in one of the earliest self-consciously feminist works, namely Mary Wollstonecraft ’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), which was written at the height of the French Revolution .
  4. reignite
    ignite anew, as of something burning
    Once suffrage was granted, the women’s rights movement fell into decline, and remained quiescent until the late 1950s and early 1960s when it was reignited by a new generation of activists who called themselves the Second Wave of feminism.
  5. marital status
    the condition of being married or unmarried
    Achieving full voting rights for all women regardless of age, race, or marital status took more than a century of struggle, easily justifying Juliet Mitchell’s claim that feminism is ‘the longest revolution’.
  6. false belief
    a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning
    Echoing Wollstonecraft, she argued that women were victims of a false belief in the promise of femininity and urged them to look beyond their domestic situation for fulfilment.
  7. Simone de Beauvoir
    French feminist and existentialist and novelist (1908-1986)
    Authors like Germaine Greer and Kate Millett called for a sexual liberation as well, arguing that women could alter their status as the second sex (to borrow the title of Simone de Beauvoir ’s important book) by overturning the double standards app
  8. Betty Friedan
    United States feminist who founded a national organization for women (born in 1921)
    Betty Friedan ’s The Feminine Mystique (1963) is generally credited as the tipping point for this second round of political struggle.
  9. Mary Wollstonecraft
    English writer and early feminist who denied male supremacy and advocated equal education for women; mother of Mary Shelley (1759-1797)
    This was certainly the case in one of the earliest self-consciously feminist works, namely Mary Wollstonecraft ’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), which was written at the height of the French Revolution .
  10. voting right
    the right to vote
    Achieving full voting rights for all women regardless of age, race, or marital status took more than a century of struggle, easily justifying Juliet Mitchell’s claim that feminism is ‘the longest revolution’.
  11. political correctness
    avoidance of expressions or actions that can be perceived to exclude or marginalize or insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against
    This is the period of the so-called ‘culture wars’ when feminism was caricatured as mere political correctness and its political agenda scorned in the press.
  12. femininity
    the trait of behaving in ways considered typical for women
    Establishing what would become a common theme throughout much feminist writing, Wollstonecraft conducts her critique on two fronts: on the one hand, she criticizes patriarchal society (as it would later be called) for the unjust way it limits women’s righ
  13. sea change
    a profound transformation
    Second Wave feminism also took the view that equality between the sexes would only come about if there was a sea change in cultural attitudes on the part of both women and men.
  14. right to vote
    a legal right guaranteed by the 15th amendment to the US Constitution; guaranteed to women by the 19th amendment
    The focus on voting rights, as important as these are, tends to obscure the fact that it was not only the right to vote that women were fighting for, though this was of course emblematic inasmuch that once they could vote they would be able to use
  15. Department of Education
    the United States federal department that administers all federal programs dealing with education (including federal aid to educational institutions and students); created 1979
    Hill testified that Thomas sexually harrassed her when she was working in the Department of Education, and later at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  16. 1880s
    the decade from 1880 to 1889
    That movement was slow to start, and it wasn’t until the late 1880s that the term ‘feminism’ actually appeared.
  17. undeclared
    not announced or openly acknowledged
    Third Wave feminist scholar Susan Faludi documents this in her Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women (1991).
  18. confirmation hearing
    a hearing held by the US Senate to gather information on whether to approve or reject candidates for high federal office who are nominated by the president
    These issues are central to the Third Wave, which many cite as beginning with the outraged response of feminist critics to the treatment of Anita Hill during the Senate- confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991.
  19. buy into
    buy stocks or shares of a company
    Establishing what would become a common theme throughout much feminist writing, Wollstonecraft conducts her critique on two fronts: on the one hand, she criticizes patriarchal society (as it would later be called) for the unjust way it limits women’s righ
  20. self-consciously
    in an uncomfortably self-conscious manner
    This was certainly the case in one of the earliest self-consciously feminist works, namely Mary Wollstonecraft ’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), which was written at the height of the French Revolution .
  21. double standard
    a code applying more strictly to one group than to another
    Authors like Germaine Greer and Kate Millett called for a sexual liberation as well, arguing that women could alter their status as the second sex (to borrow the title of Simone de Beauvoir ’s important book) by overturning the double standards app
  22. mystique
    an aura of heightened interest surrounding a person or thing
    Betty Friedan ’s The Feminine Mystique (1963) is generally credited as the tipping point for this second round of political struggle.
  23. self-expression
    the expression of one's individuality
    Establishing what would become a common theme throughout much feminist writing, Wollstonecraft conducts her critique on two fronts: on the one hand, she criticizes patriarchal society (as it would later be called) for the unjust way it limits women’s righ
  24. Jane Austen
    English novelist noted for her insightful portrayals of middle-class families (1775-1817)
    Women were restricted in terms of the ownership of property, requiring them to marry so as to inherit, thus preventing them from attaining true independence (it is this issue which exercises proto-feminist writers like Jane Austen and Charlotte Bro
  25. Charlotte Bronte
    English novelist; oldest of three Bronte sisters (1816-1855)
    Women were restricted in terms of the ownership of property, requiring them to marry so as to inherit, thus preventing them from attaining true independence (it is this issue which exercises proto-feminist writers like Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë<
  26. criticize
    point out real or perceived flaws
    Establishing what would become a common theme throughout much feminist writing, Wollstonecraft conducts her critique on two fronts: on the one hand, she criticizes patriarchal society (as it would later be called) for the unjust way it limits women
  27. activism
    a policy of action to achieve a political or social goal
    The National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed in 1966 and became the central focus, in the US, for feminist activism.
  28. forcefully
    with full force
    Feminist scholars of colour, particularly those from the Third World, argued very forcefully that feminism neglected race and class.
  29. emblematic
    serving as a visible symbol for something abstract
    The focus on voting rights, as important as these are, tends to obscure the fact that it was not only the right to vote that women were fighting for, though this was of course emblematic inasmuch that once they could vote they would be able to use
  30. quiescent
    being quiet or still or inactive
    Once suffrage was granted, the women’s rights movement fell into decline, and remained quiescent until the late 1950s and early 1960s when it was reignited by a new generation of activists who called themselves the Second Wave of feminism.
  31. workplace
    a place where work is done
    Women were discriminated against in the workplace, which not only meant women were paid less than men for the same work, it also restricted them from applying for certain jobs, denied them promotion, and made no allowance for maternity leave.
  32. woman
    an adult female person (as opposed to a man)
    Today feminism means many different things to different people, but at its core, if one goes back to its origins in the late 18th century, it is primarily a social movement for the emancipation of women.
  33. backlash
    a movement away from an impact
    Third Wave feminist scholar Susan Faludi documents this in her Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women (1991).
  34. sexuality
    the properties distinguishing reproductive roles
    Authors like Germaine Greer and Kate Millett called for a sexual liberation as well, arguing that women could alter their status as the second sex (to borrow the title of Simone de Beauvoir ’s important book) by overturning the double standards applied to
  35. maternity
    the kinship relation between an offspring and the mother
    Women were discriminated against in the workplace, which not only meant women were paid less than men for the same work, it also restricted them from applying for certain jobs, denied them promotion, and made no allowance for maternity leave.
  36. equality
    the quality of being the same in quantity, value, or status
    It is customary to divide the history of feminism into a First, Second, and Third Wave, with each period signalling a different era in the struggle to attain equality between the sexes.
  37. restricted
    subject to an act of limitation
    Women were restricted in terms of the ownership of property, requiring them to marry so as to inherit, thus preventing them from attaining true independence (it is this issue which exercises proto-feminist writers like Jane Austen and Charlotte Bro
  38. spaniel
    any of several breeds of small to medium-sized gun dogs with a long silky coat and long frilled ears
    Establishing what would become a common theme throughout much feminist writing, Wollstonecraft conducts her critique on two fronts: on the one hand, she criticizes patriarchal society (as it would later be called) for the unjust way it limits women’s righ
  39. in point of fact
    in reality or actuality
    In point of fact, however, even after women obtained the right to vote in most parts of the world at the turn of the 20th century, it was still several decades before full equality was obtained.
  40. discriminate
    marked by the ability to see or make fine distinctions
    Women were discriminated against in the workplace, which not only meant women were paid less than men for the same work, it also restricted them from applying for certain jobs, denied them promotion, and made no allowance for maternity leave.
  41. sexually
    with respect to sexuality
    Hill testified that Thomas sexually harrassed her when she was working in the Department of Education, and later at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  42. critique
    appraise or judge in an analytical way
    Establishing what would become a common theme throughout much feminist writing, Wollstonecraft conducts her critique on two fronts: on the one hand, she criticizes patriarchal society (as it would later be called) for the unjust way it limits women
  43. marital
    of or relating to the state of marriage
    Achieving full voting rights for all women regardless of age, race, or marital status took more than a century of struggle, easily justifying Juliet Mitchell’s claim that feminism is ‘the longest revolution’.
  44. suffrage
    a legal right to vote
    So in this sense, one might say feminism begins not with Wollstonecraft but rather with the various Women’s Suffrage movements that sprang up in the early 1800s.
  45. patriarchal
    of a social organization with the male as the head
    Establishing what would become a common theme throughout much feminist writing, Wollstonecraft conducts her critique on two fronts: on the one hand, she criticizes patriarchal society (as it would later be called) for the unjust way it limits women
  46. primarily
    for the most part
    Today feminism means many different things to different people, but at its core, if one goes back to its origins in the late 18 th century, it is primarily a social movement for the emancipation of women.
  47. Third World
    underdeveloped and developing countries of Asia and Africa and Latin America collectively
    Feminist scholars of colour, particularly those from the Third World, argued very forcefully that feminism neglected race and class.
  48. relevant
    having a bearing on or connection with the subject at issue
    The Second Wave of feminism came to an end in the early 1980s partly as a result of its successes—many women felt that all the relevant battles had been fought and won—but primarily because of the change in political climate.
  49. bring about
    cause to happen, occur or exist
    One of the most important social movements of the past two centuries and certainly the social movement which has brought about the most enduring and progressive transformation of human society on a global scale.
  50. argue
    have a disagreement about something
    Echoing Wollstonecraft, she argued that women were victims of a false belief in the promise of femininity and urged them to look beyond their domestic situation for fulfilment.
  51. vindication
    the act of defending against criticism or censure
    This was certainly the case in one of the earliest self-consciously feminist works, namely Mary Wollstonecraft ’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), which was written at the height of the French Revolution .
  52. voting
    a choice that is made by counting the number of people in favor of each alternative
    Achieving full voting rights for all women regardless of age, race, or marital status took more than a century of struggle, easily justifying Juliet Mitchell’s claim that feminism is ‘the longest revolution’.
  53. unfriendly
    not friendly
    The Reagan-Thatcher era was very unfriendly to equal rights and it rolled back many of the gains that had been made.
  54. 1950s
    the decade from 1950 to 1959
    Once suffrage was granted, the women’s rights movement fell into decline, and remained quiescent until the late 1950s and early 1960s when it was reignited by a new generation of activists who called themselves the Second Wave of feminism.
  55. correctness
    conformity to fact or truth
    This is the period of the so-called ‘culture wars’ when feminism was caricatured as mere political correctness and its political agenda scorned in the press.
  56. right
    free from error; especially conforming to fact or truth
    Before then, the more usual term was ‘women’s rights’.
  57. movement
    change of position that does not entail a change of location
    One of the most important social movements of the past two centuries and certainly the social movement which has brought about the most enduring and progressive transformation of human society on a global scale.
  58. achieve
    gain with effort
    Achieving full voting rights for all women regardless of age, race, or marital status took more than a century of struggle, easily justifying Juliet Mitchell’s claim that feminism is ‘the longest revolution’.
  59. French Revolution
    the revolution in France against the Bourbons; 1789-1799
    This was certainly the case in one of the earliest self-consciously feminist works, namely Mary Wollstonecraft ’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), which was written at the height of the French Revolution .
  60. 1980s
    the decade from 1980 to 1989
    The Second Wave of feminism came to an end in the early 1980s partly as a result of its successes—many women felt that all the relevant battles had been fought and won—but primarily because of the change in political climate.
  61. echoing
    (of sounds) repeating by reflection
    Echoing Wollstonecraft, she argued that women were victims of a false belief in the promise of femininity and urged them to look beyond their domestic situation for fulfilment.
  62. status
    the condition or someone or something at a particular time
    Achieving full voting rights for all women regardless of age, race, or marital status took more than a century of struggle, easily justifying Juliet Mitchell’s claim that feminism is ‘the longest revolution’.
  63. caricature
    a representation of a person exaggerated for comic effect
    This is the period of the so-called ‘culture wars’ when feminism was caricatured as mere political correctness and its political agenda scorned in the press.
  64. ratification
    making something valid by formally confirming it
    Its goal was the ratification of an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which it did not manage to achieve in full, but it nonetheless made giant strides towards it.
  65. scorned
    treated with contempt
    This is the period of the so-called ‘culture wars’ when feminism was caricatured as mere political correctness and its political agenda scorned in the press.
  66. 1960s
    the decade from 1960 to 1969
    Once suffrage was granted, the women’s rights movement fell into decline, and remained quiescent until the late 1950s and early 1960s when it was reignited by a new generation of activists who called themselves the Second Wave of feminism.
  67. flatly
    in a decisive or blunt manner
    Thomas flatly denied this, and was subsequently confirmed by the Senate.
  68. consciously
    with awareness
    This was certainly the case in one of the earliest self- consciously feminist works, namely Mary Wollstonecraft ’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), which was written at the height of the French Revolution .
  69. agenda
    a list of matters to be taken up, as at a meeting
    This is the period of the so-called ‘culture wars’ when feminism was caricatured as mere political correctness and its political agenda scorned in the press.
  70. vote
    a choice made by counting people in favor of alternatives
    Achieving full voting rights for all women regardless of age, race, or marital status took more than a century of struggle, easily justifying Juliet Mitchell’s claim that feminism is ‘the longest revolution’.
  71. focus
    the concentration of attention or energy on something
    The focus on voting rights, as important as these are, tends to obscure the fact that it was not only the right to vote that women were fighting for, though this was of course emblematic inasmuch that once they could vote they would be able to use
  72. fulfilment
    the act of consummating something (a desire or promise etc)
    Echoing Wollstonecraft, she argued that women were victims of a false belief in the promise of femininity and urged them to look beyond their domestic situation for fulfilment.
  73. credited
    (usually followed by `to') given credit for
    Betty Friedan ’s The Feminine Mystique (1963) is generally credited as the tipping point for this second round of political struggle.
  74. era
    a period marked by distinctive character
    It is customary to divide the history of feminism into a First, Second, and Third Wave, with each period signalling a different era in the struggle to attain equality between the sexes.
  75. sexual
    of or relating to or characterized by sexuality
    Women did not have full rights over their own body, which meant they had no legal protection against sexual violence (e.g. the idea that a husband could rape his wife was not admitted as law until late in the 20th century).
  76. equal
    having the same quantity, value, or measure as another
    Wollstonecraft’s solution was better education for young women, not the granting of equal rights.
  77. sex
    one of two categories into which most organisms are divided
    It is customary to divide the history of feminism into a First, Second, and Third Wave, with each period signalling a different era in the struggle to attain equality between the sexes.
  78. activist
    a militant reformer
    Once suffrage was granted, the women’s rights movement fell into decline, and remained quiescent until the late 1950s and early 1960s when it was reignited by a new generation of activists who called themselves the Second Wave of feminism.
  79. iniquity
    absence of moral or spiritual values
    The first advocates for women’s rights were for the most part lonely voices pleading against obvious and manifest iniquities in society’s treatment of women.
  80. outraged
    angered at something unjust or wrong
    These issues are central to the Third Wave, which many cite as beginning with the outraged response of feminist critics to the treatment of Anita Hill during the Senate-confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991.
  81. century
    a period of 100 years
    One of the most important social movements of the past two centuries and certainly the social movement which has brought about the most enduring and progressive transformation of human society on a global scale.
  82. overturn
    cause to flip from an upright or normal position
    Authors like Germaine Greer and Kate Millett called for a sexual liberation as well, arguing that women could alter their status as the second sex (to borrow the title of Simone de Beauvoir ’s important book) by overturning the double standards app
  83. nominee
    a politician who is running for public office
    These issues are central to the Third Wave, which many cite as beginning with the outraged response of feminist critics to the treatment of Anita Hill during the Senate-confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991.
  84. come about
    come to pass
    Second Wave feminism also took the view that equality between the sexes would only come about if there was a sea change in cultural attitudes on the part of both women and men.
  85. on the one hand
    from one point of view
    Establishing what would become a common theme throughout much feminist writing, Wollstonecraft conducts her critique on two fronts: on the one hand, she criticizes patriarchal society (as it would later be called) for the unjust way it limits women
  86. ownership
    the state of being in possession of something
    Women were restricted in terms of the ownership of property, requiring them to marry so as to inherit, thus preventing them from attaining true independence (it is this issue which exercises proto-feminist writers like Jane Austen and Charlotte Bro
  87. arguing
    a contentious speech act
    Authors like Germaine Greer and Kate Millett called for a sexual liberation as well, arguing that women could alter their status as the second sex (to borrow the title of Simone de Beauvoir ’s important book) by overturning the double standards app
  88. struggle
    strenuous effort
    It is customary to divide the history of feminism into a First, Second, and Third Wave, with each period signalling a different era in the struggle to attain equality between the sexes.
  89. independence
    freedom from control or influence of another or others
    Establishing what would become a common theme throughout much feminist writing, Wollstonecraft conducts her critique on two fronts: on the one hand, she criticizes patriarchal society (as it would later be called) for the unjust way it limits women’s righ
  90. rape
    the crime of forcing someone to submit to sexual intercourse
    Women did not have full rights over their own body, which meant they had no legal protection against sexual violence (e.g. the idea that a husband could rape his wife was not admitted as law until late in the 20th century).
  91. scholar
    a learned person
    Third Wave feminist scholar Susan Faludi documents this in her Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women (1991).
  92. nonetheless
    despite anything to the contrary
    Its goal was the ratification of an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which it did not manage to achieve in full, but it nonetheless made giant strides towards it.
Created on March 8, 2011 (updated December 7, 2011)

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