What defines a feminist document in a story or play?

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lfawley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am a bit confused by your question, but I am going to assume that you are asking what makes a work of literature a feminist text. Feminist criticism can be used to analyze a number of different types of literature, from the male dominated misogynistic texts (those written by men who write weak women who are subjugated by stronger make figures) to female dominated texts that express the inner strength of women, the external strength of women, and the ability of women to break free from a legacy of subjugation.

Elements to conside include the way the female characters are portrayed.

Feminist criticism is concerned with "...the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women" (Tyson). This school of theory looks at how aspects of our culture are inherently patriarchal (male dominated) and "...this critique strives to expose the explicit and implicit misogyny in male writing about women" (Richter 1346). This misogyny, Tyson reminds us, can extend into diverse areas of our culture: "Perhaps the most chilling example...is found in the world of modern medicine, where drugs prescribed for both sexes often have been tested on male subjects only" (83).

For a more detailed look at feminist criticism, see:

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/11/

and

http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/poetry/critical_define/crit_femin.html

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