Feminist literary criticism is created by leading feminists who use the principles and ideology of feminist theory to criticize the language of existing literature.
Feminist literary criticism is based on the analysis and description of literature, in general how it portrays the male domination and how to cope with this deeply rooted barrier.
This school of thoughts seeks to find the economic, social and political forces which have an influence on literature.
If you’re seeking some more information about feminist literary criticism, feminist theory, stay here with us and find all the information needed.
What is Feminist Literary Criticism
You’ve probably faced a number of patriarchal thoughts in the best-known works of literature which you listed without paying special attention to it.
However, feminist literary criticism is what makes the issue of patriarchy highlighted and raising its disapproval towards it. Feminist literary critics are more than sure the literature is one of the most influential tools to form beliefs and shape culture. It can either oppress against the role of the women or play a positive role for women empowering them.
The feminist literary critics consider their main goal to fight against the existing autonomy in literature. Feminist literary criticism uses feminist ideology to criticise the language of literature.
Sometimes understanding the main concept of the feminist theory is getting somehow complicated as, unlike other schools of critical theories, feminist literary criticism doesn’t only include the theory of a single author.
Feminist theory is something more integrating and consists of a number of feminist practices and opinions. Very often some thought in feminist practices may even oppose to each other.
So, be ready to meet both radical and liberal versions of feminist literary criticism. The ways of approach may differ as well.
Some feminist critics may make the direct analysis of literature from historical, sociological, psychological and other factors. For example, sociohistorical feminist critics strive to export the representation of women and the culture throughout time.
In spite of a number of feminist theories and approaches the practitioners of feminist literary criticism share some common ideas. Feminist literary critics believe that the injustice and discrimination in the literature towards women should be eliminated.
Besides they believe that literary history is shaped by a patriarchal approach which should be changed. Finally, the aim of all feminist literary critics lays in one basic concept: reaching the gender equality in the literature.
The History of Feminist Literary Criticism
The background of feminist literary criticism has been brad and varied and faced a lot of changes. The start of feminist literary criticism is mainly accepted to take from early 19th century.
The representatives of this era are such famous authors as George Eliot Margaret Fuller.
Then came the era of third wave others who have known their vivid and new ideas towards women studies and gender studies. Before 1970-s the main issues in feminist literary criticism was connected with the overestimation of the role of women in the literate, not full description of the condition of women and lack of female fictional characters.
The number of female fictional characters were considerably fewer than men ones. Even though there were women characters their role was inferior towards men characters.
After the third wave of feminism and in the blossom of new gender equality ideas feminist literary criticism reached a new level of development. Feminist literary criticism has taken new routes and formed more complex concepts.
Here you could also see the more profound influence of political involvement of women and how it affected feminist literary criticism.
The modern feminism today is dealing with the intentional and unintentional patriarchal approaches and gender discrimination in the modern literature. Feminist literary critics draw more and more attention every day.
The Debate Over Feminist Literary Criticism
Debates over feminist literary criticism theory has been one of the most hotspot topics for a long time, the debates and various conspiracies towards feminist literary criticize ave especially been popular in 1980’s.
One of the major topics which made people mad about feminist literary feminism is that it didn’t contain one full integrating theory, but conducted of various branches and analysis. In 1980 a famous feminist literary critic and women’s rights activist Annette Kolody published an article where she described feminist literary criticism as a “playful pluralism”.
However, many scholars weren’t quite submissive toward this idea of playful pluralism.
They were quite sure: there is a number of approaches in the feminist literary criticism that not only strive to find equality between genders but are also quite aggressive towards male representation in the literature.
In this case, the criticism cannot be fully considered fair, as a real feminist literary criticism should have one main idea: to empower women.
Those who are against feminist literary criticism find that only in case of reaching a true women-centered feminist literary criticism can be efficient and play a positive role in reaching gender equality.
The Influence of Feminist Literary Criticism
Just like feminism feminist literary theory raises the questions of relations between men and women, and what role they play in society. Many feminist literary theories are sure that the relationship between men and women are not equal and reflect patriarchal ideology.
That kind of unequal approach is reflected in literature and literary texts. Feminism literary has been fighting against the existing discrimination towards women in the literature. Feminist literary criticism has shaped thoughts and helped us look at the literature from a completely new angle.
Feminist literary criticism closely examines the portrayal of characters and the attitude of the author towards. It dictates some literary values behaviors through a feminist perspective.
This played an essential role in the literature. Comparing the literature in the 19th century to the modern the difference is undeniable. Women play a more prominent role in the modern literature. You’ll hardly meet superiority of genders in modern literature.
And even if you mean some point of fictional gender discrimination, this will be criticized heavily. Thanks to feminist literary criticism number of feminist writers have considerably increased. You’ll meet a number of pieces of feminist writings which are bestsellers today.
The careful analysis of feminist literary criticism strives to correct the imbalance if male-domination on literature and create equally competence for both genders.
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