Is feminism a threat to scientific objectivity?

E. Fee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Is there a conflict between women's values and the values of science? Not only do many aspects of science reproduce the ideology of gender, but science itself has been identified as "masculine." The male way of thinking is said to be rational, impersonal, and objective, while the female way of thinking is said to be emotional, personal, and subjective. This paper argues that the distinction between objectivity and subjectivity is built into science at many levels, and is reproduced in the splits between the production of knowledge and its social uses, between knowledge and experience, between expert and nonexpert, between active subject and passive object, and between the forms of our knowledge and the structures of social and economic power in our society. This analysis leads to the question: is there a feminist science? It is argued that, at present, we can only begin to imagine the general form of a feminist science, which in its fully articulated form, could only be produced in a feminist society. This paper offers examples to suggest ways in which an attack on the subjective/objective distinction could lead to a radically transformed science in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-392
Number of pages15
JournalInternational journal of women's studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981


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