April 25, 2005

Questions on Yemen!

1. Name some differences between the former northern and former southern Yemen.

2. Which do you think was a better place to be involved in a women’s movement- the northern or the southern? Which movement had better, and longer-lasting effects?

3. Once Yemen is united, does Badran paint a picture of a successful movement? What about the Yemeni women’s movement is/isn’t successful?

4. On page 155 Badran writes, “In western countries, women’s movements to gain rights to vote and to be elected have been campaigns directed exclusively at obtaining female suffrage…In middle eastern countries women’s movements (first appearing at moments of national liberation and new state formation) have articulated a discourse of political rights and personal status rights within a unitary framework of citizens’ rights”. What other women’s movements have we studied that appeared at the same time as a movement for civil rights?

5. On page 167 Badran writes, “Yemeni men attempted to mobilize women to vote, largely as a function of partisan politics.” How much of a step forward is the right to vote if the men celebrate it for self-serving reasons?

Posted by at 12:41 PM

April 10, 2005

Feminist Critiques of Modern Japan

1. Mackie makes the point to say on page 182, “discussion of women in other Asian countries often focuses on issues of development and underdevelopment, but the problems faced by contemporary Japanese women are the problems of advanced capitalism.” Why do you think that is? What makes Japan different than other Asian countries, and how does this change the struggles that feminists are fighting for there?
2. What do you think about the rationale for granting women’s suffrage? “Women would be more peace loving and challenge militarist traditions.”
3. Japan’s constitution is considered to be one of the most liberal in the world. What did Japan lack in regards to implementation? Any ideas about how you would implement such regulations?
4. The constitution “prohibits differential treatment in wages and on the basis of sex.” Why are women still struggling in the workplace?
5. Mentioned several times is the ‘unique Japanese family system’ the author feels that this is a myth and is used to justify women’s relegation in the domestic sphere. Do you agree? Is the author being insensitive to Japanese culture?
6. In the section “Masculinity, femininity and the media,” the author uses examples of comic books and media stories to present how the media presents a stereotypical view of women. Do you feel that the author’s argument is a strong one? How is this similar to media representations of gender in the U.S.?

Posted by at 7:06 PM

April 1, 2005

Questions for "The Personal is Political"

1. What was the effect of increased 'suburbanization' on women?
2. Evans says that the younger, radical activists were "in many ways parallel to feminists in the 1910's" (pg. 152). What are some of these parallels?
3. What advantages/disadvantages came with NOW being " 'for' but not necessarily 'of' women" (pg. 156)?

Posted by at 12:01 PM

March 19, 2005

Week 9 Discussion Questions

F & I
  1. Is maternalist feminism necessarily separate from other strands of feminism? (see p 108 for an example of the way this plays out in the article)
  2. What is Guy’s main argument? Do you find it persuasive?
  3. What role does “Western feminism” play in this article?
Global Feminisms
  1. What are the main historical periods Badran examines, and how does she characterize feminism in each era?
  2. How did Egyptian feminists approach the issue of veiling? How did this issue change over time? How did different groups of feminists vary in their thinking about the veil?
  3. How do Egyptian feminists’ approaches compare to others we’ve studied?
  4. At which points did Egyptian men and women make common cause? At which points did their goals conflict?
  1. How are “feminism” and “humanism” related? How did the women Rupp studies identify themselves, and what was their reasoning?
  2. Towards the bottom of p. 140, Rupp puts forth the argument that “equality” and “difference” are a false dichotomy. What does she mean by this? Do you agree?
  3. In Chapter 6, Rupp describes some organizational conflicts. Do you think Guy’s argument from F&I is relevant here? Why or why not?
  4. According to Rupp, how did women maintain interest in organizations that were so spread out? How does this compare to the group you’re examining?
  5. Rupp also describes the level of commitment to the feminist cause organizations desired in their staffs (p. 165). How does this compare to the group you’re examining?
Posted by at 10:34 AM

March 7, 2005

Questions for the evil Bolt:

1. What do the actions of Margaret Sanger teach us?

2. In this reading, what was the role of the female activists’ husbands? What major relations can you make to the present? (i.e. politics)

3. What was the importance of the 1918 Sex Disqualification Removal Act? (legal, 272)

4. How what were the two outside/worldly factors that British or American feminists could not control, and thus, had to work with or around?

Posted by at 3:31 AM

March 5, 2005

Week 7

Worlds Of Women
Chapter 3
1. How did access to money define who was "in" and who was "out"? p.52
2.Why were there mostly older women involved in the women's international movement? What were the barriers for getting young women involved? p.62
3.Why did non-European women resent the funding coming from America?p.70
Chapter 4
1. Why was the movement considered separatist? p.89-92
2.In the early 20th century "sexual revolution," what if anything was still considered unnaceptable sexual behavior? What was the attitude toward non-married relationships? p.95
Chapter 5
1. What was the definition of internationalism in the 1920's-30's? p.108
Do you think the terms "spirit" and "force" accurately describe the women's international movement? p.108
2. Why was it hard for women from colonized countries to embrace the coexistence of nationalism and internationalism? p. 122

Global Feminisms
1. Why can there never be a singular "feminism"? p.9

Posted by at 6:34 PM

February 25, 2005

Week 6 Discussion Questions

The Women’s Movements:

1) On pg 185- The Women’s Local Government Society was “supporting the claims of all women to be elected to local office, whatever their policies and their views on suffrage, while refusing to support men, however sympathetic to anything at all.” Does this advance their cause? Should women in politics simply be supported because they are women, no matter what their politics?

2) Connecting this reading to the past reading “The Different Voice of Service,” would the elite women’s activism in working-class districts (like the club and settlement movements) be considered “mature” activism? Was it mostly self interested? Would you consider their activism "charity" or "social justice"? Were these women helpful or condescending to the working-class? (mostly found on pages 216-217)

3) Was militant suffragism effective or alienating? Were the suffragists in England and the United States too militant or not militant enough?

4) How do suffragists use both equal rights and moral mission arguments to their advantage?

5) Was partial suffrage better than no suffrage, or did it emphasize than women are not equal to men and are only concerned with “women’s issues”?

6) Do you think single-sex women’s groups are better than groups that include males? In what ways? Is it more effective for groups to be multi-issue or focus on a single-issue?

7) What would be needed to form a truly cross-class, multiracial movement? Do women need a unifying experience in order to work together?

8) Why do you think the suffragist cause attracted some men? What do you think their motivations were?

9) Would it have taken much longer for women to earn the vote if it had not been for WWI? Why?

10) Why was the American West the first to give women the vote? Why were there less anti-suffragists in the West than in the East? What conditions made the West especially favorable?

11) How is racism and nativism used in the American suffragist movement?

Feminisms and Internationalism:

1) On page 225 the author of Feminisms and Internationalism says that she
used Rupp as a starting point. From the work we have read so far of Rupp and
this book, what similarities and differences do you see to their work?

2) On the bottom of 228 the authors talk about how women's influence on
foreign policy is never mentioned in text books or legal documents. How do
you think people would view certain events in history differently if they knew
that women were involved?

3) In the chapter about Australian women's movements she talks about the war
changing the face of feminism. Do you think wars around the world have
changed feminism in various countries? Why?

4) Amanda Labraca was a big influence in Chili's feminist movements. Do you
think her work was positive or negative to the start of their feminist
movements? Why?

Posted by at 2:12 AM

February 19, 2005

Discussion Question Part 2

1. Kwon states, "the relationship between Japan and Korea was not one of domination and subordination, but rather of competition between two countries with similar cultural backgrounds." (p. 40) could this explain the lack of nationalism within the New Korean Women's movement?

2. Kwon explains that some Korean women used the Christian based notion that man and woman were equal under God as an attack Confucianism's unequal creation of men and women. Early feminist's used this argument as well, but were confronted with other Bible passages that contradicted their claim. What differences between Korean feminists and US feminists may have caused these different reactions.

3. Rupp quotes Lavrin who states "a balance of national and international interests is absolutely essential for the survival of feminism as an expression of diversity ."(p. 192) Rupp uses this quote in reference to " colonized and dependent" countries," can the same statement be applied to the US with the same sense of urgency that Lavrin expresses? In other words, is Rupp saying national and international concerns are more important to post colonial countries than the imperialist countries?

4. Is there a possibility of a true global feminism, or will this notion ultimately result in the universalizing of women's experiences?

Posted by at 11:18 PM

Discussion Questions Part 1

(Questions relating to Feminisms and Internationalism coming soon)

Questions Relating to Bolt:

(p.126) - Bolt describes the ‘club movement’ in the 1870’s and 1880’s as “sometimes prudently reformist, sometimes fully feminist.” What does Bolt seem to define as “fully feminist”? How did the women of the time seem to define their actions? Did they even draw a clear line between feminist and reformist?

(p.165) - [Related to the first question] In the first paragraph of the 4th section Bolt argues that even though many of the women who were involved in clubs did not have “feminist intent,” some of them “were none-the-less feminists.” What is the relationship between the label a person gives herself and the label a historian gives her later? Since this renaming is in light of the later feminist movements, how does Bolt’s label of these women reflect the particulars of those movements?

(p. 130) - The women in the repeal movement were fighting against a law that infringed upon prostitutes’ civil liberties while ignoring their higher-class male clients; thus they could be seen as helping the prostitutes. However, some female ‘repealers’ objectified prostitutes by holding them up as “helpless victim[s] of male lust,” in order to emphasize the immorality of the entire profession. Is fighting for a cause for problematic reasons and with questionable tactics helpful or hurtful in the end?

(p.174-177) - What problems did working-class and middle-class women face in working together? How did sexism and classism weave together within both women’s and men’s activism?

Posted by at 4:00 PM

February 11, 2005

The Women's Movements

1) As British and American women were challenging their place in the private sphere, in the way of campaining for marriage reforms and suffrage, how was gender either played up or played down?

2) Consider this statement: "Through 'the press, tracts, books, and the living agent', they were to 'guide public opinion upward and onward in the grand social reform of establishing woman's co-sovereignty with man'".
Here, who is the intended subject? Who is guiding the reform? Who will be co-sovereign with man?

3) In what ways were the Cult of Domesticity reflected in women's campaigns?

4) In what ways were comtemporary racial and class prejudices alienating: Who was alientated? Did complicity in assimilationist tactics shape these alienations?

Posted by at 12:00 PM

Week Four - Feb. 14 - Discussion Questions

Feminisms and Internationalism

• Lavrin states “Nationalism and all the centrifugal forces that may cause a cacophony of noises rather than a chorus of states purposes are serious obstacles if not threats to creating an intercontinental feminist spirit.” (179) What does Lavrin mean by this? How is nationalism a threat to an intercontinental feminist spirit? Is an intercontinental feminist spirit even possible?

• The Argentine Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and the model created by them was criticized by some feminists. Can motherhood be used as a political tool for international feminism? Or does it exacerbate the women-femininity-mother, men-masculinity-state polarity?

• How do the different political realities, as experienced by many women of different Latin American countries, affect international feminism?

• Does too much specificity in feminism weaken the view of feminism as based on gender solidarity?

• What kind of intervention is Asuncion Lavrin trying to make in her article?

Posted by at 11:33 AM

February 6, 2005

Week Three - Feb. 07 - Discussion Questions

Feminisms and Internationalism 214-224

  • On page 215, in the first full paragraph, Burton claims Western feminism has a tradition of "moral highground." What does she mean by this?
  • In the Bolt article, the author discussed how women found opportunities in missionary work. Is this an example of the imperialist western feminism that Burton discusses, or is it simply an example of women carving out new opportunities for themselves?
  • Burton repeatedly uses the phrases "Third World", "non-West", and "Western". Are these appropriate descriptions for feminism? Could she simply address feminism as singular, or should it be addressed as something other than a West: non-West binary?


  • On page 72, in the first full paragraph, Bolt observes, "While female activism can now be charted, it is far less easy to establish its connection to feminism." What are the differences between female activism and feminism, or are there any?
  • On page 63, Bolt says, "Whereas men denied the analogy, and it had clear limitations, women could effectively compare the slavery of blacks the slavery of sex." Was this an accurate claim for women to be making, or were racial slavery and the cult of domesticity completely different?
  • On pages 60-61, Bolt claims "Female activism in secular or broadly humanitarian reform efforts was more controversial, but difficult to oppose once women had proved their moral claims and practical worth in philanthropy." Were women doing a disservice to themselves by proving to be morally superior? Was it keeping them within their boundaries instead of serving to expand them?
  • The first part of Bolt's article discusses women's increased access to education. Since women were mainly educated simply for "republican motherhood" ideas in order to teach their children, was increased access to education really a step forward?
  • Bolt discusses divisions of class and race but rarely discusses the divides of urban/rural. Did she miss an important area of analysis?
  • Can women's participation in missions be said to be a feminist act?
  • Did religion play a positive or negative factor in women's lives? Women used it to claim a moral highground and to organize but did it constrict women more than aid them?
Posted by at 7:59 PM

January 28, 2005

Week Two - Jan. 31 - Discussion Questions

Some questions to get us started on Monday: Foos:
  • What are the different kinds of service that Foos identifies?
  • How are these types of service characterized?
  • Why is gender a part of this discussion?
Global Feminisms, Series Editor’s Preface:
  • What is revisionism in history?
  • How is revisionism relevant for feminism?
The Women's Movements:
  • According to Bolt, what was life like for American and British women before 1820?
  • How might this picture be complicated?
  • What major changes shook the Anglophone world in this era?
  • How might these changes have affected people other than those described by Bolt?
Posted by at 11:12 AM