Two modes of argumentation have been used on behalf of women’s emancipation in Western societies. Arguments in what could be called the “relational” feminist tradition maintain the doctrine of “equality in difference,” or equity as distinct from equality. They posit that biological distinctions between the sexes result in a necessary sexual division of labor in the family and throughout society and that women’s procreative labor is currently undervalued by society, to the disadvantage of women. By contrast, the individualist feminist tradition emphasizes individual human rights and celebrates women’s quest for personal autonomy, while downplaying the importance of gender roles and minimizing discussion of childbearing and its attendant responsibilities.
Before the late nineteenth century, these views coexisted within the feminist movement, often within the writings of the same individual. Between 1890 and 1920, however, relational feminism, which had been the dominant strain in feminist thought, and which still predominates among European and non-Western feminists, lost ground in England and the United States. Because the concept of individual rights was already well established in the Anglo-Saxon legal and political tradition, individualist feminism came to predominate in English-speaking countries. At the same time, the goals of the two approaches began to seem increasingly irreconcilable. Individualist feminists began to advocate a totally gender-blind system with equal rights for all. Relational feminists, while agreeing that equal educational and economic opportunities outside the home should be available for all women, continued to emphasize women’s special contributions to society as homemakers and mothers; they demanded special treatment for women, including protective legislation for women workers, state-sponsored maternity benefits, and paid compensation for housework.
Relational arguments have a major pitfall: because they underline women’s physiological and psychological distinctiveness, they are often appropriated by political adversaries and used to endorse male privilege. But the individualist approach, by attacking gender roles, denying the significance of physiological difference, and demning existing familial institutions as hopelessly patriarchal, has often simply treated as irrelevant the family roles important to many women. If the individualist framework, with its claim for women’s autonomy, could be harmonized with the family-oriented concerns of relational feminists, a more fruitful model for contemporary feminist politics could emerge.
Questions 85–90 refer to the passage above.
85. The author of the passage alludes to the wellestablished nature of the concept of individual rights in the Anglo-Saxon legal and political tradition in order to
(A) illustrate the influence of individualist feminist thought on more general intellectual trends in English history
(B) argue that feminism was already a part of the larger Anglo-Saxon intellectual tradition, even though this has often gone unnoticed by critics of women’s emancipation
(C) explain the decline in individualist thinking among feminists in non-English-speaking countries
(D) help account for an increasing shift toward individualist feminism among feminists in English-speaking countries
(E) account for the philosophical differences between individualist and relational feminists in English-speaking countries
85. A This statement reverses the order: the more general intellectual trends in English history influenced individualist feminism.
B Feminism is not said to be a part of the Anglo-Saxon tradition.
C While relational feminism is said to predominate among European and non-Western feminists, the passage offers no evidence of a decline in individualist feminism among these groups.
D Correct. The author uses the information about individual rights and the Anglo-Saxon tradition to explain why individualist feminism predominated in English speaking countries.
E The Anglo-Saxon tradition is not said to account for all the philosophical diff erences between the two feminist traditions in English-speaking countries, but only for the fact that individualist feminism became predominant there.
The correct answer is D.
86. The passage suggests that the author of the passage believes which of the following?
(A) The predominance of individualist feminism in English-speaking countries is a historical phenomenon, the causes of which have not yet been investigated.
(B) The individualist and relational feminist views are irreconcilable, given their theoretical differences concerning the foundations of society.
(C) A consensus concerning the direction of future feminist politics will probably soon emerge, given the awareness among feminists of the need for cooperation among women.
(D) Political adversaries of feminism often misuse arguments predicated on differences between the sexes to argue that the existing social system should be maintained.
(E) Relational feminism provides the best theoretical framework for contemporary feminist politics, but individualist feminism could contribute much toward refi ning and strengthening modern feminist thought.
86. A In lines 19–24, the author identifi es one cause for the situation.
B In lines 51–55, the author implies that a reconciliation might be possible, making this an overstatement.
C The author does not suggest that consensus is likely to happen soon; cooperation is not discussed.
D Correct. Th is statement is consistent with the view the author expressed in the third paragraph.
E The last paragraph discusses the problems of both feminist traditions, but the author does not say one is better for contemporary feminist politics than the other.
The correct answer is D.
87. It can be inferred from the passage that the individualist feminist tradition denies the validity of which of the following causal statements?
(A) A division of labor in a social group can result in increased effi ciency with regard to the performance of group tasks.
(B) A division of labor in a social group causes inequities in the distribution of opportunities and benefi ts among group members.
(C) A division of labor on the basis of gender in a social group is necessitated by the existence of sex-linked biological differences between male and female members of the group.
(D) Culturally determined distinctions based on gender in a social group foster the existence of differing attitudes and opinions among group members.
(E) Educational programs aimed at reducing inequalities based on gender among members of a social group can result in a sense of greater well-being for all members of the group.
87. A The passage neither discusses increased effi ciency nor implies that individualist feminists would reject it.
B The passage does not indicate that individualist feminists would disagree with this statement.
C Correct. This statement refl ects the position of the relational feminists that the individualist feminists oppose; individualist feminists instead stress individual rights and personal autonomy.
D The passage off ers no evidence that individualist feminists would disagree with this statement.
E Nothing in the passage indicates that individualist feminists would disagree with this statement.
The correct answer is C.
88. According to the passage, relational feminists and individualist feminists agree that
(A) individual human rights take precedence over most other social claims
(B) the gender-based division of labor in society should be eliminated
(C) laws guaranteeing equal treatment for all citizens regardless of gender should be passed
(D) a greater degree of social awareness concerning the importance of motherhood would be benefi cial to society
(E) the same educational and economic opportunities should be available to both sexes
88. A Only individualist feminists believe that individual human rights are most important (lines 11–13).
B Relational feminists do believe in a gender-based division of labor (lines 6–8).
C Lines 30–37 show that relational feminists do not believe in gender-blind equal rights laws.
D Only relational feminists believe in the importance of women’s special contributions to society (lines 35–36).
E Correct. Practitioners of both feminist traditions believe that equal educational and economic opportunities should be available to both sexes.
The correct answer is E.
89. According to the author, which of the following was true of feminist thought in Western societies before 1890?
(A) Individualist feminist arguments were not found in the thought or writing of non-English-speaking feminists.
(B) Individualist feminism was a strain in feminist thought, but another strain, relational feminism, predominated.
(C) Relational and individualist approaches were equally prevalent in feminist thought and writing.
(D) The predominant view among feminists held that the welfare of women was ultimately less important than the welfare of children.
(E) The predominant view among feminists held that the sexes should receive equal treatment under the law.
89. A The passage states that relational feminism was the dominant strain of the two views that coexisted; thus, the individualist arguments existed before 1890.
B Correct. Lines 20–21 explicitly state that relational feminism had been the dominant strain in feminist thought before 1890.
C The passage shows that the two feminist traditions were not equally prevalent; relational feminism predominated.
D No evidence in the passage supports this statement.
E The passage does not show that most feminists before 1890 took this position.
The correct answer is B.
90. The author implies that which of the following was true of most feminist thinkers in England and the United States after 1920?
(A) They were less concerned with politics than with intellectual issues.
(B) They began to reach a broader audience and their programs began to be adopted by mainstream political parties.
(C) They called repeatedly for international cooperation among women’s groups to achieve their goals.
(D) They moderated their initial criticism of the economic systems that characterized their societies.
(E) They did not attempt to unite the two different feminist approaches in their thought
90. A Individualist feminists advocated a system with equal rights, and relational feminists sought protective legislation, so it is clear both
groups were politically active; the author does not imply that they were more interested in intellectual issues.
B The passage off ers no evidence to show broader or growing support for feminist ideas.
C International cooperation is not discussed in the passage.
D No information in the passage supports this statement.
E Correct. As the goals of the two feminist traditions grew increasingly irreconcilable, feminists in England and the United States did not try to harmonize the two strains in their thinking.
The correct answer is E.