A Critique of Frye’s, Jordan’s, and Miller’s Feminist Theories

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A Critique of Frye’s, Jordan’s, and Miller’s Feminist Theories

Marilyn Frye’s feminist theory is based on a mix of art and philosophy as well as a presentation of her own ideas in the context of the world. Frye’s theory stresses among other things, the fact that the power of feminism is embedded in the capability of making women’s lives and their experiences understood by a vast majority of the people (Frye, 1983). On the other hand, Jordan’s feminist theory lays emphasis on the woman’s self with reference to her relational well-being (Jordan, 1991).

Closely related to this, Miller’s theory is based on the view that there is need to address women’s experiences and make the world understand them better. Thus, Miller suggests that in order to understand women, there is need to understand their lives and values (Miller, 1987; Davis, 1999). This paper will examine and appraise the aforementioned theories and draw a conclusion based on the flaws or incongruence depicted by the theories, and will thus suggest whether the theories can be used together or as separate entities. Frye’s Feminist Theory

Frye affirms that in order to understand women fully, that is in terms of their feelings, motivations, ambitions and how they are likely to react to different situations, there is need to understand their driving forces, which are the determining factors in various responses (Frye, 1983). Frye’s feminist theory thus presents an attempt to explain the forces and how they apply to different women. While it may be true that there are deciding forces behind every woman’s response to different situations, it is also evident that the forces cannot be studied conclusively.

This viewpoint is instigated by the fact that women live in different conditions, and these conditions are likely to affect how they react to different circumstances. Thus, a generalization cannot be used to describe women’s attitudes. In view of sex and sexuality, Frye notes that sex roles have inhibited men and women from being in charge of their choices since the activities involved in sex are already predetermined (Hoagland & Frye 2000). However, this supposition fails to address the sex drives involved among same-sex partners.

Thus, even though Frye notes that women are sexually oppressed, it is difficult to concur with the argument since sexual freedom has increased tremendously in the world over the past few years. Frye’s likening of women to a birdcage in which if one observes one wire of the cage, she or he is likely not to see the other wires present in the cage (Davis, 1999) presents an interesting point of discussion. This is true given that in there are instances when women are ignored, for example in restaurants when waiters expect men in company of women to pay the bills.

This implies that much attention is paid to men, who are perceived to be a superior sex. Jordan’s Feminist Theory This theory emphasizes the connections among different aspects of women’s lives, which are developed through relationships. It dwells on factors such as sexism and heterosexism, which separate women and alienate them from the rest of the society, thus subjecting them to a lot of suffering (Jordan, 1991). In view of this, while it is true that women are more affected by issues that concern sex it is also imperative to note that such issues are not just limited to women.

Concisely, men also suffer from issues related to sex. Jordan’s theory also dwells on the self-condition of women in relation to their relational wellbeing. Jordan emphasizes that most Western psychological theories tend to point too much on the woman’s self rather than her relations with others (Jordan, 1997). Along this line, Jordan asserts that men have subordinated women and view them as their subjects, thereby undermining women’s relation capacity. This presumption has some substance with reference to how women were treated in the past.

However, it may loose significance in the contemporary world where women have taken more leadership positions and have better control of their undertakings. Jordan addresses desire by relating it to adolescent sexuality, noting that it arises from people’s integration with others and creation of relationships (Jordan, 1997). This is true in the context of what people commonly refer to as “real love” that develops between men and women through their continued association. On the other hand, since relationships commonly break, there is an indication of a flaw in Jordan’s theory.

Nevertheless, Jordan’s point of challenging the tendency by men to be dominant over women (Jordan, 1991) stresses the need for equality between men and women. Miller’s Feminist Theory Miller focuses on the concern of men’s domination over women and their tendency to subordinate them (Miller, 1987). She asserts that the propensity by men to be dominant over women causes conflict between the two sexes because men fail to understand women. Miller also notes that in dealing with conflict, women, who are usually the subordinates revert to overt conflict, a phenomenon that is prevalent in the present day (Miller, 1987).

Miller therefore questions why men should be dominant over women yet women have equal capabilities do what men can do. Miller’s feminist theory is important in addressing gender disparity in the world. It also supports women in having voices to do what pleases them irrespective of what men think about them. However, its flaw lies in the fact that it fails to address why men have higher propensity to be dominant over women and why women usually revert to overt conflict when dealing with men. Conclusion The feminist theories by Frye, Jordan and Miller all address issues that though not congruent are closely related.

Frye’s theory is centered on understanding women; Jordan’s theory recognizes the woman’s self worth and the importance of women’s participation in relations; whereas Miller’s theory in centered on understanding women and why men should not treat them as subordinates. All these issues are closely related since they address the status of women and their role in the society, which is paramount in eliminating injustices against them. Hence the theories should treated together to achieve the objective. References Davis, F. (1999).

Moving the mountain: The women’s movement in America since 1960: Chicago: University of Illinois Press Frye, M. (1983). Politics of reality: Essays on feminist theory. New York: Ten Speed Press Frye, M. (1992). Willful Virgin: Essays in Feminism, 1976-1992. New York: The Crossing Press, Inc. Hoagland, S. L. & Frye M. (2000). Feminist interpretations of Mary Daly. Pennsylvania: Penn State Press Jordan, J. (1991). Women’s growth in connection: New York: Guilford Publications, Inc Jordan, J. (1997). Women’s growth in diversity. New York: Guilford Press Miller, J. (1987). Toward a new psychology of women. Boston, MA: Beacon.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 18 August 2016

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