Women studies between power and practices of resistance: the contribution of Charlotte Perkins Gilman


  • Francesca Bianchi University of Siena, Italy




The essay focuses on the thinking of Charlotte Perkins Gilman who lived in the period of the first feminist wave. While fully re-entering Women’s studies, Perkins Gilman was known in life but after her death, her research was not adequately valued. Prolific and provocative author, she was feminist, political activist, active member of the American Sociological Association. Protagonist of her time, she was a forerunner of the theory of gender in asserting that the differences between men and women go beyond those dictated by biological reproduction and are strongly reproduced on a social level. The author’s intent is to find out the stereotypes present in female representations of the time, starting from the recognition of female subordination to the patriarchal order. For this reason, it is not enough to develop a mere sense of solidarity, but it is necessary to rethink knowledge starting from a women-centred perspective. Only through collective political action, women, conditioned to accept their subordination, will be able to fight to free themselves from it.

Keywords: gender, power, family, house, feminism, political action.