Julia_roberts.jpgLauren and Eddie (and Julia Roberts)

"Feminist literary criticism is literary criticism that involves feminist theory, or the politics of feminism. Its history has been broad and varied, from classic works of nineteenth-century women authors, to cutting-edge theoretical work in women's studies and gender studies. In the most general and simple terms, feminist literary criticism before the 1970s.Origionally, feminism was concerned with the politics of women's authorship and the representation of women's condition within literature. Since the arrival of more complex conceptions of gender and subjectivity, feminist literary criticism has taken a variety of new routes. It has considered gender, as part of the deconstruction of existing relations of power, and as a concrete political investment. It has been closely associated with the birth and growth of queer studies. And the more traditionally central feminist concern with the representation and politics of women's lives has continued to play an active role in criticism."(Wikipedia)

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"Feminist literary criticism became a theoretical issue with the ad-vent of the new women's movement initiated in the early 1960s. In fact, feminist criticism started as part of the international women's libera-tion movement. The first major book of particular significance, in this respect, was Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) which contributed to the emergence of the new women's move-ment. In her book Friedan criticised "the dominant cultural image of the successful and happy American woman as a housewife and moth-er" (Leitch 308). According to Friedan, in the 1950s women had gone back to the house abandoning their jobs to men who came back from the war to claim their positions, and a feminine mystique was created in the media making the housewife and mother the ideal models for all women. Promoting women's ideal reality within the domestic realm, this mystique had reduced the identity of women to sexual and social passivity. Betty Friedan attempted to demystify this false feminine mys-tique, which she described as "a world confined to her own body and beauty, the charming of man, the bearing of babies, and the physical care and serving of husband, children and home" (cit. Millard 155), in order to renew the women's fight for equal rights. She had started a new consciousness-raising movement, and played a central role in developing the new discipline of women's studies. "(Oppermann)

article from tripod.com on feminism literary criticism