Feminist criticism comes in many forms, and feminist critics have a variety of goals. Some have been interested in rediscovering the works of women writers overlooked by a masculine-dominated culture. Others have revisited books by male authors and reviewed them from a woman's point of view to understand how they both reflect and shape the attitudes that have held women back. A number of contemporary feminists have turned to topics as various as women in post colonial societies, woman's autobiographical writings, lesbians and literature, womanliness as masquerade, and the role of film and other popular media in the construction of the feminine gender.
Until a few years ago, however, feminist thought tended to be classified not according to topic but, rather, according to country of origin. This practice reflected the fact that, during the 1970s and early 1980s, French, American, and British feminists wrote from somewhat different perspectives.
Elaine Showalter’s Theory:
In A Literature of Their Own,
Elaine Showalter argued that literary subcultures all go through three major phases of development. For literature by or about women, she labels these stages the Feminine, Feminist, and Female:
Feminine Stage -- involves “imitation of the prevailing modes of the dominant tradition” and “internalization of its standards.
Feminist Stage -- involves “protest against these standards and values and advocacy of minority rights....
Female Stage -- this is the “phase of self-discovery, a turning inwards freed from some of the dependency of opposition, a search for identity.”
Three Waves of Feminism：
First Wave Feminism-late1700s-early1900's:
writers like Mary Wollstonecraft (A Vindication of the Rights of Women, 1792) highlight the inequalities between the sexes. Activists like Susan B. Anthony and Victoria Woodhull contribute to the woman's suffrage movement, which leads to National Universal Suffrage in 1920 with the passing of the Nineteenth...