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Feminist Literary Theories in the Age of #MeToo

Feminist theory is a significant branch in which assumptions are shifted from the male to the feminine perspective and experience. The feminist perspective sheds light on social issues and problems overlooked or by the dominant male perspective in social theory. The problems that women have to encounter daily are inequality, discrimination, and objectification, which brings many writers and activists to fight for the rights of minorities.

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One of the feminist literary theories is based on structural and economic inequality. As discussed by Robbins, words reflect the “social order,” wield power and can remake the set order if there is a need (Austin, 2013, p.46). Hannah elaborates this idea in the articles and asserts that despite the established inclusion of women in all kinds of institutions, a sense of freedom and equality has not been set. The reason for this is suffocating male privilege and power.

Another feminist literary theory is based on objectification and gender roles. According to the examination of portrayals of women by male authors provided by Robbins, two types of women were identified: a “Madonna” and a “whore” (Austin, 2013, p.46). Neither of the types is realistic since it is based on a male conception of femininity. In the article written by Leffingwell, the author accentuates the topic of “over-sexualization” of women’s bodies and “unrealistic expecations” in a modern culture set by pornography or media (Leffingwell, 2018, para. 2). Hence, the #MeToo movement will impact the way of American society only in case of effective incorporation of change to the perceptions of sex and sexuality.

The last point which Robbins covers is that a feminist literary theory acknowledges that the social structure oppresses women through propaganda. Such oppression stems from “internalized patriarchal values,” imbedded in households, churches, and people’s minds (Austin, 2013, p.46). In the article written by Hannah, a “woman’s thwarted freedom” continues throughout her life (Leffingwell, 2018, para. 9). To eliminate inequalities that women have to experience, society must examine each situation of oppression and try to emphasize the patterns that support this exclusion.

Hence, both feminist literary theories and the article written by Hannah Leffingwell attempt to shed light on unfair structures and discrimination. They channel their strengths to reexamine authority by questioning the formation of the image of women, emphasizing patterns of oppression and inequality. The ideas of the article of Hannah Leffingwell and feminist literary theories both focus on the reforms needed to improve social structures.


Austin, M. J. (2013). Social justice and social work: Rediscovering a core value of the profession. SAGE Publications, Inc. (US). Web.

Leffingwell, H. (2018). Reading The second sex in the age of #MeToo. Publicseminar. Web.

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