The relationship between gender and stratification is one of the most problematic areas in social science (Crompton and Mann, 1988). A review of stratification theory suggests that, in general, main-stream theories are inadequate since they often ignore the independent positions of females in stratification systems (Acker,. 1973, 1980; Lenski, 1988; Tyree and Hodge, 1978). In particular, Marxist feminist theories are limiting since they are unable to explain the origin and persistence of gender domination (Balbus, 1982; Crompton and Mann, 1986; Goldthrope, 1983; Halby, 1986). Although Marxist feminism is "the most prevalent feminist framework" (Jagger and Rothenberg, 1984), it is becoming apparent that Marxism does not allow for an adequate theoretical contribution to the practical uprooting of gender domination (Balbus, 1982). Perhaps it is time to seriously accept the deficiencies of Marxist feminism and redirect our theoretical efforts to an alternative framework. The purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to briefly review and critique Marxist feminist theory; and (2) to offer suggestions for applying a Heberian theory of domination and capitalism to gender inequality. Since identification and clarification of concepts is essential in theory construction, this paper will focus on reinterpreting two significant Marxian concepts: patriarchy and capitalism. The significance of this paper is that it ought to stimulate further thought on a simple but powerful thesis; the concepts of patriarchy and capitalism are insufficient in explaining the origin and persistence of gender domination. This paper concludes that gender domination and subordination is a consequence of variation in types of traditional authority (patriarchal and non-patriarchal), types of production systems (capitalistic and non-capitalistic), and types of economic behavior (rational and irrational).
Wasley Lomire, Patricia Ann
"Marxist Feminist Theory: A Review, A Critique, and an Offering,"
Great Plains Sociologist: Vol. 2:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://openprairie.sdstate.edu/greatplainssociologist/vol2/iss1/5