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Malestream is a concept developed by feminist theorists to describe the situation when male social scientists, particularly sociologists, carry out research which focuses on a masculine perspective and then assumes that the findings can be applied to women as well.[1] Originally developed as a critique of male dominated sociology, the term has since been applied to geography,[2] anthropology,[3] theology,[4] and psychology.[5]

The term was first used by Mary O'Brien in her 1981 book The Politics of Reproduction.[6] As a portmanteau, it involves a play on words with the more general term "mainstream" and involves a detournement of the concept of mainstream science. There has been a tendency to identify "good science" with "mainstream science"[7] However what has been termed "epistemologies of ignorance" have been described as being at work within the social construction of science and the women's health movement which emerged in the 1970s and which provided a context for O'Brien's work.

Whitestream feminism[edit]

The comparable term Whitestream was developed by Claude Denis in his 1997 book We Are Not You: First Nations and Canadian Modernity, to describe how contemporary discourses are structured around the basis of White Anglosaxon experience.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Browne, Ken. "Student Resources - Glossary". Polity. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  2. ^ Crang, M., 2003. Malestream geography: gender patterns among UK geography faculty. Environment and Planning A, 35(10), pp.1711-1716.
  3. ^ Drezgić, R., 2000. Life History and Feminist Ethnography. Sociologija, 42(4), pp.647-666.
  4. ^ Schussler Fiorenza, Elisabeth (1985). Bread not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Biblical Interpretation.
  5. ^ Wine, J.D., 2007. Gynocentric values and feminist psychology. Resources for Feminist Research, 32(1/2), p.23.
  6. ^ Pateman, C. and Grosz, E., (2013). Feminist challenges: Social and political theory. Routledge.
  7. ^ Rockwell, Theodore (2000). "Scientific Integrity and Mainstream Science | The Scientist Magazine®". The Scientist. LabX Media Group. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  8. ^ Grande, S. (2003). Whitestream feminism and the colonialist project: A review of contemporary feminist pedagogy and praxis. Educational Theory, 53(3), 329-346. accessed 7 April 2017