Lesson Plan 2: An Introduction to Feminist Theories

Materials: PowerPoint (which has been emailed to Nicole and Giuliana)

Objectives: The class will gain a broad understanding of what the feminist movement aims to accomplish. This class should also give students a specific understanding of two feminist theories: Liberal and Multicultural Feminism. The students will understand when and why these two movements came about. Additionally, the students should be able to understand the main points advocated in these movements and the impact that these movements had, such as leading us to question and challenge gender inequality.

This discussion of feminism and gender inequality also aims to solidify students’ understanding of gender inequality that is present in society and to think of potential solutions to combat this gender inequality. This theoretical way feminists conceive of gender inequality can help students to better understand the detrimental consequences of gender stereotypes that were discussed last class. This class also aims to get students to question these theories and problematize them. While these theories are beneficial to analyze gender inequality, they are by no means perfect, and it is important to point out and recognize some potential problems that these theories may have.

Finally, this discussion of feminism will enable students to have the tools to understand some concrete examples of gender inequality and the reasons behind this inequality which will be helpful in their future assessments. A final aim of this lesson is that it will open student’s minds about feminism and feminist ideals in general. Feminism can be a scary topic for a lot of students who are not familiar with it and is often associated with negative ideas such as hating men. Hopefully, this lesson will help students understand some of the concerns and goals of feminist movements as well as the need for challenging gender inequality. Perhaps as a result of this lesson, more students would consider calling themselves feminists in the future or at least work to challenge gender inequality.

A symbol of feminism

Timeline:

1. Start the PowerPoint presentation with the Slide that says “Feminism” Ask the students….

a) What do you think of when you hear the word “Feminism”

Explain that there are many different ways to interpret the word Feminism. However, in this lecture, we are going to assume that feminism is “a movement that recognized that there was a power imbalance between men and women in society and strived to do something about that”

2. Explain the main points of Liberal Feminism.

- it developed in the late 60s and early 70s in North America and Europe
-argued that discrimination was due to gendered norms, such as women being responsible
for house-cleaning, while men are responsible for work, not our biological sex
-the focus of liberal feminism is generally on laws, equality and changing our gendered
norms
-laws are important because if it ensures that everyone has equal access to resources
which helps ensure that everyone will be equal

3. Ask the students:

a) Do you agree with the points brought up by Liberal Feminism
b) What are some possible critiques of this theory?

4. Explain some critiques of Liberal Feminism.

-change in laws doesn’t necessarily equal actual change
-ignored mistreatment in the private sphere such as unequal child-rearing
-doesn’t address how equality can be enforced legally
-focuses more on what individuals can do to better their situation but doesn’t really
address larger societal structures
-tended to focus mainly on white, middle class women; ignored oppression felt by other
women

5. Explain the main points of Multicultural Feminism

-critique of feminism was that it was the experience of the white upper class
-thus multicultural feminists argue that race, class, ethnicity, class, religion, sexual
identity, physical/psychological status also affect women’s experiences of their gender
-a Black, lower income queer woman does not have the same experience as a White,
upper class straight woman

-it’s important to include the experiences and oppressions faced by women of colour as well.

A multicultural group of people

6. Ask the class…

a) Do you agree with the points brought up by Multicultural Feminism
b) What are some possible critiques of this theory?

7. Explain some critiques of Multicultural Feminism

-doesn’t really emphasize how we could go about including women of colour
-doesn’t provide a solution

This lecture should take about 35 minutes.

Lesson Activity: Class discussion for approximately 20 minutes, guided by the following questions:

a) Do you have a preference for either theory? Why?

b) Do you think these theories could be useful practically?

c) How do these theories problematize gender stereotypes and our beliefs about gender?

Go to Lesson # 3

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