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Feminist philosophy elaborates on feminist literary critique through the application of feminist values and philosophies to criticize literary language. It seeks to analyze and describe gender inequalities in literature where male dominance exists with the use of political, societal, economic, and psychological powers in literature. Feminist literary criticism was the product of the Women's Movement in the 1960s, which found alternatives to gender discrimination. Feminist theorists only search for such mistakes in fiction, even though there were once feminist authors writing about male ideals.
Feminist philosophy provides evidence that the gender of women is oppressed by the gender of men. The male writers were depicted as oppressors because of various reasons such as their encouragement of patriarchy and their dominance in the writing culture by undermining the female gender. Such male-dominated ideologies can be seen in various works, such as the Bible, whereby Eve is portrayed as the source of death and sin. Adam and Eve were the first human beings to be created, but their disobedience is blamed on Eve, and yet she only offered Adam the forbidden fruit without forcing him to eat it. Further evidence of the oppression is seen during the feministic phase of the female tradition in writing. The female writers tried to match the male writers, but they were then prohibited from writing because the writing culture was male-dominated. It is, therefore, clear that the male oppression created a necessity for the female writers to rise and achieve equality in the writing culture.
The feminist theory is said to be misunderstood by those who think that it focuses on criticizing the male gender because its purpose is to uncover the implicit and explicit misogyny in the male literature regarding women. Feminist critics only look to explicate the male literature and their depiction of women, but there are those who misinterpret their purpose and liken it to seeking to destroy the male critics. Virginia Woolf is one of the writers during the female phase of the female writing culture which clearly describes the status of society, for example how the men made women the consistent victims of their anger and misunderstanding (Woolf, 2003). Mary Wollstonecraft is another feminist writer who firmly raised her voice in describing the unfairness of the patriarchal society (Taylor, 2003). The men were considered superior to women, and yet the women yearned for a society dominated by them. All that the feminist writers were doing is describing their situation at the moment and what they longed for, but some people misinterpreted their message to see it as an attack on the male critics.
Even though the feminist theory shows that the women felt oppressed and they looked forward to a society where every gender was considered equal, it is evident in some contexts that the feminist writers went a little too far. Some of them strayed away from the point and wrote against the values of men, without considering that the society was patriarchal at the moment and that the male culture had been as it was since a long time back. Elizabeth Robin is one of such writers in the feminist phase of female writing tradition who wrote about the tribulations that the women faced and went further to criticize the male values. The Bible is a religious doctrine which also offers a point against the feminist theory because of Eve's disobedience to God. They had been informed to not eat from the Garden of Eden, and yet she ate the fruit and also convinced Adam to eat, thereby bringing suffering to all humanity. The feminist critics may argue that they are undermined, but in some cases, they evidently go a little too far.
Feminist theory helps understand the gender inequalities by examining the experiences and roles of women throughout history in various fields. Its aim is to bring out the self-realization of women through a close reading of written texts and their in-depth explanations (Bondi, 2003). However, it does not aim at attacking the men because the focus of the criticism shifted a long time ago to the exploration of the nature and outlook of the female world. Feminist critics should be supported because they mean nobody any harm, all they want is a world of equal opportunities.
Bondi, L. &. (2003). Gender, Place, and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography. In L. &. Bondi, Constructing gender, constructing the urban: a review of Anglo-American feminist urban geography. (pp. 229-245).
Taylor, B. (2003). Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination. England: Cambridge University Press.
Woolf, V. (2003). Women and Writing. Waterville: Thorndike Press.
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