Radical Feminist Perspective

Radicalisms defining goal is the wan to deconstruct an issue, to create a society in which (a) certain oppression(s) has been ratified. Marilyn Frye looks at the patriarchy in her The Possibility of Feminist Theory and the insidious nature of male dominance in all aspects of life. She compares the western male’s monopoly over the portrayal of humanity with the understanding of a sedated elephant by a onlooker who watches it for an hour. She says “Imagine that a single individual had written up an exhaustive description of a sedated elephant as observed from one spot for one hour and then, with delighted self-satisfaction, he heralded that achievement as a complete, accurate, and profound account of The Elephant” (Frye 103). She says this is the nature of the story of the world as told by men, “a story that does not fit women and that women do not fit” (Frye 103).

This is the nature of men in theory. Not to say that they should not be contributors, only that their contributions are to be understood as a single perspective, and not always a relevant one. “The historically dominant Western man-made world story claims universality and objectivity but, from the point of view of feminists, conspicuously lacks both” Recently a history text book used commonly in Texas made headlines for a selective view of history. It has long been discussed within marginalized circles that white, western, male-dominated portrayals of history is selective and harmfully so. So when this textbook in particular referred to the African slaves and their forced relocation to the US as “workers” and “migrants”, people spoke out.

This is one example, and there are endless examples of others. This is how marginalized groups, in this case black Americans, and in others, women of all races are made to feel by lack of representation. What Frye suggests we start over. We examine patterns, instead of internalize them. “The project of feminist theory is to write a new encyclopedia. Its title: The World, According to Women” (Frye 104). We do this by consciousness raising, and be rewriting history and experiences. The role of men is to take a step back and to listen.