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Voiceover: Feminist theory is a contemporary approach of looking at the world from a macroperspective. It developed from the social movement feminism, originating from conflict perspective, by focusing on the stratification and inequalities in society. It examines women's social roles and experience in a variety of fields, like education and family, and the workforce. Feminist theory looks beyond the more common male-based perspective to focus on the gender inequalities in society. Specifically towards women, there is discrimination, which is the unjust treatment of a group of people because they belong to that group. There is objectification, which is when someone is regarded as an object, and can then be treated as less important. Oppression, where women are treated unjustly and strongly encouraged to occupy gender based social roles. Stereotyping, where all women are viewed under the same oversimplified image. And even in art history, you can see the differences between men and women. In the past, art was made primarily made for men by men. There are different types of feminist theory. One focuses on the socially constructed gender differences that are created through the process of socialization. Each society creates and passes down norms, customs and expectations from generation to generation, which includes expectations for gender, and a system that rewards and punishes those expectations. This perspective examines how women's experience and position in social situations differs from men's. There are a different values associated with femininity and being a woman than are associated with men and masculinity. Women are often viewed as soft, caretakers, emotional, submissive while men are tough, aggressive, workers, warriors. Each are assigned different gender roles. Women are expected to stay at home and take care of the family while the men go to work and war. Women have been defined as something other in patriarchal societies and have been marginalized, meaning they have been confined to a lower limit in society than men. And because of social gender differences, women have been objectified as sexual instruments or just something pretty. A second type of feminist theory focuses on gender inequality. Gender inequality is central to all behavior and organization in society. Power, responsibility, and gender biases permeate every aspect of our capitalist society where women subordination is viewed as an inherent feature. Our society is patriarchy, which means that men constitute the governing body as the heads of families, and communities. Marriage itself can be a site of gender inequality. Married women on average, have much higher stress levels than married men or unmarried women. Women are expected to focus on the private sphere at home and have less influence in the public sphere. There's even a gender division of labor. Men usually occupy the higher paying, more prestigious positions. This discrimination is apparent when you look at the case of Ben Barres, a Professor of Neurobiology at Stanford University. He began his life and career as a woman. After his sex change, he noted that people who did not know he had undergone the change, thought his research was much better than his sister Barbara's. As it turns out though, Ben and Barbara are the same person. It was the social bias associated with the fact that the work had been done by a woman that caused people to devaluate it. Even in the esteemed field of academia, social biases persist. A third type of feminist theory focuses on gender oppression. According to this perspective, women are not only different from or viewed as unequal to men, they are actually oppressed and subordinated and even abused. It all comes down to power. The positive state of being a woman is not acknowledged in patriarchal societies, which gives men more power by the simple fact of their gender. The institution of family is especially beneficial to men. With the coming of the industrial revolution, the family was split into two types of labor. Domestic labor was done by women, taking care of the house and family for no pay, while the men worked outside the home and industries in order to make money and provide for the family. Without the men working, the family would not survive. These split roles created both an economic and educational gap between men and women, lending men more social power. Sometimes this power is expressed by physical violence, which some feminists believe can be confronted if women recognize their own value and strength. A fourth type of feminist theory focuses on structural oppression, which states that women's oppression and inequality are due to capitalism, patriarchy, and racism. Here, we can see the direct parallel to conflict theory. Women, like the working class, are exploited because of the capitalist model of production. But not all women experience oppression in the same way. Gender inequalities are linked with other social inequalities and hierarchies, like race, class, sexual orientation, age and disability. There are differences in social gender characteristics in a patriarchal society. Men are associated with the mind, while women are associated with the body. This is used as justification so that women can be seen as property or objects. Women's bodies are often objectified throughout history, from the act of child bearing, to fashion, to modern trends like diet programs. While women are objectified, men are viewed as responsible for working or fighting. Granted, it doesn't seem all that great that men are also restricted to some socially defined category, but the difference is that men haven't been oppressed because of their categorizations, as women have. Gender and sex categories are used to define what is socially acceptable for every individual. Men are expected to be active participants in society, while women are expected to be more passive. Even our language is male gendered. We have mailmen and policemen and firemen. Some feminists choose to reclaim language by using gender neutral terms like mailperson, police officer, or firefighter. The feminist theory is not an attempt to replace men. It is a different perspective on society to point out the inequalities that exist between men and women because of institutions in our society. It looks at the big world picture and notices when one person's research is elevated or devaluated, depending on if people think it was written by a man or a woman. It notices the salary differences between men and women who occupy the same position and the different expectations placed on each gender. Inequality in general is a central part of our society. And feminist theory sheds light on the gender inequalities that permeate our everyday life.