Essentialism (Feminism) | Topics | tutor2u Politics

Essentialism is an element of feminist ideology based upon the argument that women are fundamentally different to men. Essentialist (or difference) feminists such as Lynne Segal and Susan Griffin celebrate women’s superior virtue and spirituality. Feminine values such as empathy and nurture may be contrasted with masculine values centred upon violence and destruction. Whereas men seek to conquer and destroy; women give birth to life and seek harmony with the rhythms of nature. Feminine values could also help to reorder the global system and prevent the reckless behaviour of testosterone-fuelled activities that have led to the credit crunch, environmental destruction and warfare.

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