types of feminism

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  • Types of Feminism
    • Radical feminism
      • Blames the exploitation of women on men. It is primarily men who have benefitted from the subordination of women. Women are ‘an oppressed group.
      • Society is patriarchal – it is dominated and ruled by men – men are the ruling class, and women the subject class.
      • ****, violence and *********** are methods through which men have secured and maintained their power over women
      • The various alternatives suggested by Radical Feminists include separatism – women only communes. Some also practise political Lesbianism and political celibacy as they view heterosexual relationships as “sleeping with the enemy.”
    • Marxist feminism
      • Capitalism rather than patriarchy is the principal source of women’s oppression, and capitalists as the main beneficiaries.
      • Women’s subordination plays a number of important functions for capitalism:
        • Women reproduce the labour force for free (socialisation is done for free)
        • Women absorb anger – women keep the husbands going.
        • Because the husband has to support his wife and children, he is more dependent on his job and less likely to demand wage increases.
      • The disadvantaged position of women is seen to be a consequence of the emergence of private property and their lack of ownership of the means of production
    • Liberal feminism
      • Nobody benefits from existing inequalities: both men and women are harmed
      • The explanation for gender inequality lies not so much in structures and institutions of society but in its culture and values.
        • The creation of equal opportunities is the main aim of liberal feminists – e.g. the Sex Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act.
      • Socialisation into gender roles has the consequence of producing rigid, inflexible expectations of men and women
      • Discrimination prevents women from having equal opportunities
      • Liberal Feminists do not seek revolutionary changes: they want changes to take place within the existing structure.
    • Difference Feminism
      • Emphasizes women’s difference/uniqueness and traditionally “feminine” characteristics; argues that more value should be placed on these qualities
      • Difference Feminists see women as all being separate homogenous groups
      • This means that they argue that working class and middle class women, white and black women, heterosexual and lesbian women will all have different views and experiences of society, be it patriarchy, homophobia, racism or capitalism


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