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Feminist Theoretical Framework

Feminist theory provides a rational basis for challenging multiple gender-based social oppressions by questioning the cultural/historical context and biological premises of gender. Consistent with the ideas of philosopher Michel Foucault, feminist theory’s critique of traditional conceptions of gender and of justifications for men’s oppression of women is based on arguing that gender is a social construction defined and enforced by social processes and by the performance of behaviors defined as being gendered. Feminist theory as applied to the understanding of psychopathology and psychotherapy thus considers these phenomena in terms of their social construction, particularly as it relates to gender. This chapter summarizes the tenets of feminist theory and then considers its application to three psychological disorders: (1) internalizing and externalizing disorders, (2) eating disorders, ...

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