In literature, what is Feminist Theory?
Recognized as a true literary criticism in the 1960's, Feminist Literary Criticism examines how a text either perpetuates the patriarchal cannon or pulls away from it. Feminist Literary critics do not only examine the texts themselves, they examine the lack of female writers accepted and recognized by the male dominated arena. Compromised of many different theoretical lenses, Feminist Criticism relies upon multiple methodologies which are used to analyze a text (psychology and sociology to name a couple).
Some questions which Feminist Literary Criticism asks of a text are as follows:
- How are both male and female characters defined? Are all of the male characters strong and all of the female character weak?
- Who holds the power in the text? Men or women? Is the power evenly distributed throughout the male and female characters in the text?
- Are the creative natures and forces of women oppressed or celebrated in the text?