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Portal:Feminism

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The Feminism Portal

International Women's Day, Bangladesh (2005)
Feminism involves various movements, hypotheses and philosophies which are concerned with gender inequality, eliminating the oppression of women, and campaigning for women's rights and interests.

The history of feminism can be divided into three waves. The first wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the second was in the 1960s and 1970s and the third extends from the 1990s to the present. Feminist theory emerged from these feminist movements. It manifests through a variety of disciplines such as feminist geography, feminist history and feminist literary criticism.

Feminism has altered predominant perspectives in a wide range of areas within Western society, ranging from culture to law. Feminist activists have campaigned for women's legal rights (rights of contract, property rights, voting rights); for rights to bodily integrity and autonomy, for abortion rights, and for reproductive rights (including access to contraception and quality prenatal care); for protection from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape; for workplace rights, including maternity leave and equal pay; and against other forms of discrimination.

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Title page from the first edition (1796)
Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (1796) is a deeply personal travel narrative by the eighteenth-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. The twenty-five letters cover a wide range of topics, from sociological reflections on Scandinavia and its peoples to philosophical questions regarding identity. Published by Wollstonecraft's career-long publisher, Joseph Johnson, it was the last work issued during her lifetime. Wollstonecraft undertook her tour of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark in order to retrieve a stolen treasure ship for her lover, Gilbert Imlay. Believing that the journey would restore their strained relationship, she eagerly set off. However, over the course of the three months she spent in Scandinavia, she realized that Imlay had no intention of renewing the relationship. The letters which constitute the text, drawn from her journal and from missives she sent to Imlay, reflect her anger and melancholy over his repeated betrayals. Letters Written in Sweden is therefore both a travel narrative and an autobiographical memoir. Using the rhetoric of the sublime, Wollstonecraft explores the relationship between the self and society in the text. She values subjective experience, particularly in relation to nature; champions the liberation and education of women; and illustrates the detrimental effects of commerce on society.

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Apa Tani
Credit: doniv

Apa Tani tribal women, with traditional tattoos and bamboo nose ornaments in Hija village, Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Originally, this practice started because the women wanted to look unattractive to males from other tribes. Apa Tani women were considered to be the most beautiful among all the Arunachal tribes.

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Makhtaran Bibi

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John Vanbrugh in Godfrey Kneller's Kit-cat portrait
Sir John Vanbrugh was an English architect and dramatist, best known as the designer of Blenheim Palace. He wrote two argumentative and outspoken Restoration comedies, The Relapse (1696) and The Provoked Wife (1697), which have become enduring stage favourites but originally occasioned much controversy. Vanbrugh was in many senses a radical throughout his life. As a young man and a committed Whig, he was part of the scheme to overthrow James II, put William III on the throne and protect English parliamentary democracy, dangerous undertakings which landed him in the dreaded Bastille of Paris as a political prisoner. In his career as a playwright, he offended many sections of Restoration and 18th-century society, not only by the sexual explicitness of his plays, but by their messages in defence of women's rights in marriage. His architectural work was as bold and daring as his early political activism and his marriage-themed plays, and jarred conservative opinions on the subject.

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Frances Dana Barker Gage

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Courtney Love
Feminism is a dirty word ... because your feminists are so ugly. Every picture I saw of those women at the nuclear plants, they were not pretty. So I didn't want to be associated with feminism because I thought it would make me ugly.
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