What Is the Definition of Feminist Criticism?

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Feminist criticism is a literary form of criticism that gives the perspective of writing through a feminist perspective. It is a political form of literature that analyzes the questions of how male and females relate to each other and the world, the repression of women and how women are portrayed in literature.

Feminist criticism gives credit to Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” analyzation of circumstances unique to women writers as the beginning of feminist criticism. One of the first examples of a major feminist literary analysis is the focus of Petruchio’s treatment of Katharina in William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” in the late 1960s. The feminist criticism school entitled Gynocriticism followed in the late 1970s to solidify the existence of feminist criticism.

Gynocriticism proposes that women writers have gone through stages of existence that can be broken down into three segments: the feminine phase, the feminist phase and the female phase. Each stage of Gynocriticism shows the evolution of the mindset of women writers; the first stage purports that writers at first tried to maintain the values of the male writer, but no longer bothered to maintain or concern themselves with the set standards once the last stage was reached.