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Feminism: General Points of Criticism
Have focused their attention upon "equality of opportunity" between males and
females. They have largely ignored the study of social structural factors that other
Feminists see as a basic cause of inequality in capitalist societies for example,
patriarchy and the inequalities created by Capitalist forms of economic production.
Have been criticised for their failure to understand that in any society that is
fundamentally unequal in its economic and social structure "equality of opportunity"
is a fairly meaningless concept. In a society divided along class lines and driven by
economic exploitation, women - like working class men - are at a fundamental
There is no real evidence that women constitute a "sex class", since it is clear that,
apart from a common biology, women may have no real shared interests "as a class
apart from men". It is difficult to see, for example, what "common interests" are
shared by upper class and working class women - aside from the fact that they are
women. The experiences and life chances of upper class females are significantly
different to those of working class females.
The primary importance attached to patriarchy downgrades the importance of
concepts like social class and ethnicity. For Marxist Feminists, patriarchy itself stems
from the way in which women are generally exploited economically.
Marxist Feminists tend to be criticised for placing too much emphasis upon class
relations in the economic sphere (women considered as part of the working class,
for example) and not paying enough attention to female experiences outside the
Given that the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism does not seem very likely to
occur, this "solution" to female exploitation tends not to be seen as a particularly
useful one to pursue.
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Radical Feminists have been critical of the emphasis placed upon Capitalist forms of
exploitation. The main argument here is that patriarchal forms of exploitation have
existed in all known societies, not just Capitalist ones. In addition, they argue that
patriarchy predates Capitalism which makes it a more significant explanation of
female exploitation and oppression.…read more