“Women hold up half the sky,” says a feminist writer and this theory has cut across a greater cross-section of cultures since the 18th century. Feminism tries to bring about a revolution in the relationship between woman and man, aims at disturbing the existing order for greater harmony. Feminism is a political concept based on two issues :
- that gender difference is the foundation of inequality between women and men, by which women suffer social injustice.
- that the inequality between the sexes is not the result of biological necessity but is produced by the cultural view of gender differences.
Feminism views that gender is the product of culture conditioning. Thus, a woman is thought to have certain womanly qualities which put them in a subordinate role. Man’s supremacy is experienced not only in the public domain but education history and literature also have belonged to man for a long period. Feminist theory marks the gender bias of literature. It points to the political power structure. Even Patriarchy is the ideology committed to making supremacy. Feminism challenges and tries to combat such social and cultural angularity.
Mary Wollstonecraft, in the late 18th century, put stress on the right education for women because of defective education in the cause of social and personal ills. Virginia Woolf in A Room of ones Own argues that women writers should have the guarantee of economic independence and privacy. While Beauvoir says that the myth that woman is man’s other subordinates and alienates the woman. Gynocritics, a model of women’s culture has been developed by Elaine Showalter.
Indian Feminism demands a more radical recognition of factors of cultural differences.