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The feminist method is a means of conducting of scientific investigations and generating theory from an explicitly feminist standpoint. Feminist methodologies are varied, but tend to have a few common aims or characteristics. These common aims include seeking to overcome biases in research, bringing about social change, displaying human diversity, and acknowledging the position of the researcher. Each of these methods must consist of different parts including: collection of evidence, testing of theories, presentation of data, and room for rebuttals. The importance of feminist methods are in how the research is obtained and how it helps the feminist movement. How research is scientifically backed up affects the results. Like consciousness raising, some feminist methods affect the collective emotions of women, when things like political statistics are more of a structural result. When knowledge is either constructed by experiences, or discovered, it needs to both be reliable and valid.
Questioning normal scientific reasoning is another form of the feminist method. Strong feminist supporters of this are Nancy Hartsock, Hilary Rose, and finally Sandra Harding. Normal ideas in science are supposed to be objective in reasoning, but this questioning of science draws attention to the fact that nothing can be looked at with an objective view. Instead everything is completely subjective especially when it comes to looking at women. Questioning science argues that science needs to be approached with the knowledge that it is already subjective in order to gain information. By approaching science with this view, it is only then possible to gain an objective opinion.
Consciousness raising is a popular feminist method that is often referred to. It is based on the idea that women have never been allowed a come together in a comfortable environment to share their political thoughts, and discuss their situation in society. Consciousness raising allows for groups of women to get together and talk about different problems relating to their gender, like marital abuse and conflict, abortion and rape. By sharing their ideas and thoughts they can feed off of each other and learn about their sexual situations from the women around them. The ultimate goal is for women to realize that they can become a strong political force if they join together as a gender. Such examples would be Tittie Thyme, based out of Orlando, Florida.
Questioning gender as a scientific construct
Through questioning science Anne Fausto-Sterling came up with alternatives to the concept of having only two sexes, male and female. She argues that through biological development there is a possibility of having five sexes instead of two. She believes there are male, female, merm[clarification needed], ferm[clarification needed], and herm[clarification needed]. It is important[who?] to recognize more than two sexes because gender isn't as black and white as the scientific community leads it to appear.
Alison Jaggar disputes the dichotomy between reason and emotion and argues that rationality needs emotion. Emotions are normally associated with women and rationality is associated with men. Acknowledging its wide acceptance in society she also claims that there are many theories as to the origins of emotions, and in the long run listening to emotions might lead to better decisions. She challenges normal claims and turns to history, science, and philosophy not to prove her point, but to open possibilities to other alternatives besides the social norms provided.
- Bird, Sharon. "Feminist Methods of Research". Iowa State University.
- Code, Lorriane. "Feminist Epistomology". Routlage Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- Fausto-Sterling, Anne (Mar–Apr 1993). "The Five Sexes". Sciences 33 (2): 20–26. doi:10.1002/j.2326-1951.1993.tb03081.x.
- Jaggar, Allison. "Love and Knowledge Emotion in Feminist Epistomology".