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  • Created on: 20-03-13 20:06

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They believe that equality can be achieved and both men and women should have equal rights. This can be
achieved through laws and policies against discrimination.
Sex and gender:
SEX biological differences
GENDER culturally constructed differences between `masculine' and `feminine'
Stereotypical beliefs are transmitted via socialisation and we must change socialisation to combat it
Thus, liberal feminists seek role models, e.g. female teachers in `male' subjects to change views
This will encourage rational attitudes and overcome ignorance and prejudice
Political action will lead to a fairer society
Liberal feminism opposes Functionalist's view of `instrumental' male and `expressive' female roles
Liberal feminists say men and women are equally capable to perform roles in both spheres
Criticised for overoptimism as they ignore the possibility of deep seated structured causing
women's oppression e.g. capitalism or patriarchy
Marxist feminists and radical feminists say they ignore the underlying causes of women's
subordination and they are naïve to think changes in the law will change attitudes
They believe that patriarchy is universal, all men oppress women and patriarchy is the primary form of social
inequality and conflict.
The person is political
All relationships involve power and relationships between the sexes are political as men dominate
women through them. They are referred to as `sexual politics'
Patriarchal power is exercised via personal relationships, vis violence or the threat of it
Susan Brownmiller notes that fear of rape deters women from going out at night
Radical feminists say patriarchy constructs sexuality to satisfy men's desires. Women are portayed
as sex objects. Adrienne Rich says women are forces into `compulsory heterosexuality' which
becomes the only socially acceptable form of sexuality
SEPARATISM: living apart from men, creating a culture of female independence, free from
patriarchy. Greer advocated creation of `matrilocal' homes, instead of the heterosexual family
CONSCIOUSNESSRAISING: via sharing experiences, women can see that the problem is
widespread, causing them to take action, e.g. in marches
POLITICAL LESBIANISM: heterosexual relationships involve `sleeping with the enemy' and
lesbianism is the only form of nonoppressive sexuality
Marxists say class, not patriarchy is the source of conflict
Radical feminism offers no explanation of why there are different forms of subordination in different
societies. Assumes all women are in the same position and ignores class, etc
Jenny Somerville argues that heterosexual attraction makes separatism unlikely
Liberal feminists argue that women's position has improved recently due to reforms and changes of
attitudes, so there is more gender equality
Radical feminism neglects female violence against men and violence in lesbian relationships
Women are subordinated for the benefit of capitalism

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Women are a cheap, exploitable labour. They can be paid less as they have an earning husband.
Women are a reserve army of labour. Can be used in economic booms and dropped in recessions
as it is assumed that their primary role is at home
Women reproduce the labour force through unpaid domestic labour. They socialist children to be
workers and maintain the current source of labour (their husbands)
Women absord anger that would otherwise be directed at capitalism.…read more


Asha Ibrahim


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