AQA AS Sociology - Feminists

Revision on the different types of feminists

  • Created by: Leonie :)
  • Created on: 20-12-12 16:04

Liberal Feminists

Liberal feminists are concerned with campaigning for:

- Equal rights for women

- Equal oppertunities for women e.g. equal pay & to end discrimmination in employment

- Against sex discrimmination

They argue that womens opression is gradually being overcome through:

- Changing attitudes

- Changes in the law such as the Sex Discrimmination Act in (1975) which outlaws discrimmination in employment

They believe we are moving towards greater equality, but full equality depends on furthur reforms and the changes in attitudes of both sexes.

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Liberal Feminists Cont...

Liberal feminists take the 'march of progress' view much like Young & Willmott did.

Some studies say that men have been doing more domestic chores within the household which reinforces the idea that progress is being made.

Studies also say that the socialisation of children is more equal than in the past.


Other feminists critisize them as they fail to challange the underlying causes of womens oppression.
Liberal feminists also believe that changes in the law and changing attitudes will be enough to bring equality which Marxists and Radical feminists believe is not true.

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Marxist Feminists

They argue the main cause of womens oppression is not men but capatalism - (where the capatalist class exploit the working class).

Womens oppression preforms functions for capatalism:

- Women reproduce the labour force through thier unpaid domestic labour, they do this by socializing the next generation to work as domestic labourers and maintaining the current one.

- Women are a reserve army of cheap labour, they can be taken on when they are needed and when no longer needed they can 'let them go' to return to primary role as domestic labourer.

Marxist feminists believe the family should be abolished.

Fran Ansly says that 'wives are takers of ****' who soak up the frustration thier husbands feel about work. At worst this could be expressed through domestic violence.

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Critisisms of Marxist Feminists


These ideas are based on stereotypical conventional families where women are unpaid domestic labourers with low paid jobs.

Many women have full time jobs and are more successful than men.

Lone - parent families are not considered in thier view and they do not consider more diverse family types.

Functionalists argue there are many benefits for women from living in families.

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Radical Feminists

They argue that all societies have been founded on patriarchy - (rule by men).

The key division in society is between men and women.

They believe that:

- Men are the enemy -
they are the source of womens oppression and exploitation.

- Men benefit from womens unpaid domestic labour & from thier sexual services.

- They believe that the patricarchal system must be overturned and the family must be abolished.

- They argue the only way to do this is through 'seperatism' -
Women must be independant of men.

Many argue for 'political lesbianism' - the idea that hetrosexual relasionships are inevitably oppressive as they involve 'sleeping with the enemy'.

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Radical Feminists Cont...

Germaine Greer (2000) - argues for the creation of all 'matrilocal' households instead of hetrosexual ones.


Jenny Sommerville (Liberal Feminist) - says that radical feminists fail to recognize that womens positions have changed considerably

- Better access to divorce - (Divorce Reform Act 1975)

- Better job oppertunities

- Control over fertility

- Ability to choose whether to marry or cohabitate.

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