What Is Feminist Psychology?

What Is Feminist Psychology?


Feminist psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the injustice and inequalities faced by females. As conventional theories have been inclined closer to men and women’s studies, views have been marginalized. The feminist movement and liberation emerged in 1960-1970 while women began to oppose and assign the traditional patriarchal devices and structures that oppressed them. Women emerge as aware of their rights and as a result, they begin to search for their rights actively and this motion becomes obvious in the subject of psychology.

The feminists started to criticize the entire psychology field, which they diagnosed as sexist and biased toward men. Moreover, feminists like Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and Simone de Beauvoir have a giant role in addressing women’s rights and gender equality. They believed there was a lack of the complete expression of women’s studies in psychological theories. The ultimate goal of feminist psychologists is to make sure that everyone comprehends women’s viewpoints and experiences similarly as they understand men’s views.

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Historical Origin and Influences

● Early advocates like Karen Horney and Mary Whiton Calkins:

Karen Horney was the first to introduce the term feminist psychology. The field of psychology was fashioned by early advocates like Karen Horney and Mary Whiton Calkins who talk about rights and well-being. They are no longer the handiest added modifications to the conventional patriarchal society however it also paved the way for the future girls in the psychology field.

Karen Horney disagreed with Sigmund Freud’s perception that ladies are inferior and unsuitable inherently. Rather she believed that it is the shortage of power in society that makes women inferior. Moreover, she argued that converting the social and cultural discipline can bring out ladies’ real abilities.

Mary Whiton Calkins turned into the first female president of the American Psychological Association and also positioned her views on females in society. She believed that there ought to be the same opportunities for girls in the area of psychology.

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● Influence of political moves like women’s suffrage and the Sixties-70s women’s liberation motion:

Political moves just like the women suffrage motion in the 19th-twentieth century and the Sixties-70s women’s liberation motion had a prime impact on the sector of psychology. This movement addresses the troubles of ladies’s rights and conventional gender roles. The women’s suffrage movement has become a turning point in women’s lives, as human beings fought for the right to vote for women. It indicates essential problems like the same political shows and other women raising their voices in opposition to inequality.

The second wave of feminism i.e. the 60s-70s women liberation movement also highlighted many issues from reproductive rights to gender equality. The results of this motion turn out to be obvious in many fields and one in every of them becomes psychology.

Major Perspectives and Approaches

● Liberal feminism

Liberal feminism holds an importance in perspective and techniques in feminist psychology. It makes a specialty of the fact of gender equality and strives in the direction of women’s rights through political means. Its emergence became evident in the overdue nineteenth century and early twentieth century which changed into a reaction to the inequalities and discrimination faced with the aid of women in numerous fields of their existence. Moreover, the liberal feminism ideology is based totally on the idea that girls should get the same rights and possibilities as men.

Additionally, they believed that schooling ought to be on hand to women as nicely. Education is the medium via which girls can reap financial independence and as a result, this angle no longer best-won popularity at a huge scale however additionally stimulated ladies to participate in higher research.

● Radical Feminism

This attitude emerged within the late Nineteen Sixties and early Nineteen Seventies. It believes in dismantling the conventional patriarchal device that oppresses girls’s rights. According to them, the most effective social and cultural norms were now not the cause for gender equality however An essential detail of the electricity structure that exists in society.

Moreover, radical feminism includes all styles of oppression like sexism, racism, and classism. They all are interconnected to every other and consequently, it is important to focus on them. From this, it can be understood that radical feminists no longer simply fight for the same rights for women but additionally, for the rights of those who are excluded from society, along with human beings of shade, LGBTQ individuals, and those from decreased socio-financial backgrounds.

Also Read: LGBTQ+ Community, issues and prejudices faced by them

● Social Feminism

It emerged in the Sixties-1970s and this attitude changed into the combination of financial and gender equality standards. This approach believes and acknowledges that women are facing double oppression, i.e., being treated differently under capitalism and as women facing patriarchy in society. Moreover, they also believed that for the working of capitalism, women doing domestic labor is important yet remains unvalued and unpaid. Hence, this becomes the reason for women to be economically dependent on men.

Apart from the economic condition, social feminists also worked for the policies that make overall equality in society and include women’s rights like equal pay for equal work and paid maternity leaves.

Key Issues and Concepts

● Mental Health Issues Like Depression And Eating Disorders:

Mental health issues like depression and eating disorders are some of the key issues in feminist psychology that arise due to gender and social inequality. Feminist psychologists also acknowledge that these mental health issues affect women and that social and cultural factors can contribute to this matter.

Sometimes, depression could also be the result of societal expectations and pressures put on women. As our society sees women do their household, and office responsibilities, and balance other responsibilities without any support. This creates the feeling of low inadequacy and self self-esteem which are the symptoms of depression.

Also Read: Sexual abuse, types and related disorders

Moreover, societal expectations of the perfect bodies of women are link to eating disorders. As a result, it makes women extremely conscious of their body image and carries the idea of being a perfect image of women. Moreover, it creates a set of unrealistic expectations for them and starts controlling their weight and appearance.

● Empowerment, Giving Women Voice:

Feminist psychology focuses on empowering women and giving them a voice, aiming to equalize the differences between men and women and establish gender equality in society. It specializes in making women sufficient to meet societal expectations and improve their well-being. This empowerment will bring about equal training opportunities for women, and employment, and make girls take control of their lives.

Moreover, giving a voice to girls makes them express their views more freely. Many parts of our society frequently ignore the voices of women, leading to their inability to express their thoughts and emotions. Feminist psychology makes a platform for women to share what they feel, their perspectives, and reports and works closer to women rights.

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_psychology#Organizations
  • https://www.britannica.com/biography/Karen-Horney
  • https://womanisrational.uchicago.edu/2021/11/26/mary-whiton-calkins/
  • https://www.britannica.com/topic/woman-suffrage
  • https://www.britannica.com/event/womens-movement
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_feminism#:~:text=Liberal%20feminism%2C%20also%20called%20mainstream,by%20a%20human%20rights%20perspective.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_feminism#:~:text=Radical%20feminism%20is%20a%20perspective,%2C%20class%2C%20and%20sexual%20orientation.
  • https://study.com/academy/lesson/socialist-feminism-definition-lesson-quiz.html
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19683096/

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