Feminism: Theory and Praxis
Although the status of woman in society has differed from culture to culture, from country to country and from age to age and in many societies and cultures, as in Indian culture, she has been given a high place, at least theoretically, one feature common to almost all the patriarchal societies is that woman was always considered inferior to man and was excluded from all centres of power. An increasing awareness of the injustices done to women gradually gave rise to the feminist movement wherein the women raised their voice against marginalizations and patriarchal oppressions. The concept of feminism has changed the social, cultural, psychological and literary spheres of life in the modern age. Feminism, in its basic connotation, implies the assertion of female identity but varied points of view and ideologies have made it not only a sophisticated discourse but also a complicated one. Whatever the approach or ideology of various feminists and consequently of theorists, one thing that stands is that feminism focuses on women, and the problematics of women’s oppression in patriarchy, sexual colonialism, sexual politics and her marginalization, loss of identity, her freedom and the suppression of her point of view. Feminism not only influenced real life and culture but also creative literature, literary theory and criticism. Feminist theory is an extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical fields. It encompasses works in a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, economics, women’s studies, literary criticism, art, history, psychoanalysis and philosophy. Like any other theory, feminist theory attempts to formulate general or universal explanation of women’s oppression by using systematic analytic method. Feminism in Indian literature, particularly in Indian English writing, is a by- product of western feminist movement. The last few decades are marked by a new genre of writing by women, for women and about women. In their writings there is a prominence of the female point of view registering its disgust at the male chauvinism and its dissatisfaction with what it considers an unfair and oppressive patriarchal system. These feminist writers, through their writing, intend to deconstruct all the indefinite identities of women opposing the binary oppositions between the male and the female.
This paper attempts to explore the basic aspects of feminism as a theory and its implementation in contemporary literary works.
Copyright (c) 2014 Dr. Nazneen Khan
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