Our aim here is to bring an ethnological perspective to the history of feminism as a social, cultural, and political movement. The remarkable achievements of feminism in the twentieth century were linked to overall progress in democratizing society and the emergence of a relatively affluent middle class of consumers, of both goods and communication. Little by little, women’s freedoms expanded into all walks of life: voting, working, inheritance, political activity, sports, army careers, access to knowledge, and control over their sexual, marriage and child-bearing choices. At the same time, however, the production of collective imagery put the spotlight on the female body as one of its preferred objects, whether in advertising or in mass-marketed cultural offerings. In law, “she” increasingly resembles “he,” but in images, the most stereotypical representations of femaleness reign supreme on every screen, where the shadow of the Belle Femme is ever-present. To an ethnologist, the question of feminism cannot evade the question of femaleness.
- human rights