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The three main theories of feminism:
Radical Feminism~ Radical feminists would say that women are exploited by men, society
needs to change, so that women are the more dominant gender within society.
Sociologists: Firestone, Abbot and Wallace
A powerful force for claiming women's worth and demonstrating the nature of
oppression and exploitation.
Appeal on the behalf of women for a revolutionary change and the end of oppression.
Ignores ideas of class and ethnic conflict, merely focuses on gender aspects.
Portrays women as `good' and men as `bad', promoting further inequality, where
women are superior to men.
Liberal Feminism~ Liberal feminists aim for equality between males and females, this being a
gradual change within society. They suggest that gender inequality is the result of the sexual
division of labour.
Sociologists: Trowler, Bernard, Duncombe and Marsden
Presents the most idealistic approach to addressing the women's inequality, as well as
the most realistic changes that could be made.
Has promoted equality of opportunity e.g. equal pay.
Shows little interest in the historical subjection of women.
No theory has been developed to explore women's experiences or challenge
Marxist Feminism~ Marxist feminists believe that women are not only oppressed by men due
to their gender, but also due to their class. They suggest that if there was a communist society
the gender inequalities would disappear.
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Draws attention to the economic position of women, alerts them of potential
Provides a structuralist interpretation of oppression which can be applied to all areas of
Little emphasis is placed on the ways which men exploit women in society and the
Assumes all women are of a cohesive group which suffers from exploitation, doesn't
account for others.…read more