Feminism Views

Feminism views on Human Nature, Society, State and Economy

  • Created by: Vee Chan
  • Created on: 30-01-19 09:47


  • Sex-Biological Difference between men and women. Inevitable.
  • Gender-Cultural Differences. Ideas on gender roles leads to gender discrimination. Construct of the Patriarchy.
  • Patriarchy- Society dominated by men/male ideas where women are seen and treated as inferior.
  • Essentialism- A debated idea. Many argue sex should be irrelevant while radical feminists argue the biological sex is the cause of discrimination. Suggest androgyny to curb this.
  • Androgyny-Freedom to choose sexual (or lack thereof) of sexual identity. Rad.Fem idea to curb sex discrimination.


The Personal is Political coined by Firestone, popularised by Carol Hanisch in 1970.

Private Sphere (Home, personal issues) Public Sphere (Political, Social, economic discrimination)

Rad.Fem suggest the personal is political where Lib.Fem suggest the opposite.

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Feminism does not have a distinct view on how the state should be run. Socialist.Fem see the state as a capitalist force though turn to socialist ideas.

Many feminists see the state as a patriarchical being. Domination by men. Complicit in exploitation, reluctant to tackle. Lib.Fem see them as part of the problem and the solution via legislation.


  • Equality laws
  • Anti-Discrimination laws (Civil Rights Act 1964 for US)
  • Equal Pay Acts (eg.Equal Pay Act 1970 for UK)
  • Domestic Violence/Divorce laws
  • Awareness programmes in school curicculums for state schools.
  • Quotas on employing women.

Rad.Fem see these as good but superficial. See systemic nature of discrimination and suggest partiarchical culture cannot be combatted by laws, as govt. is a particarchical institution too

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Women are discriminated in the economic world:

  • Unpaid labourers in the home
  • Low-paid, part-time labour in work. Ignored in economic slumps.
  • Pay Gap. Women paid less than men in the same job.
  • Senior roles tend to be male-dominated. Glass Ceiling. Want Equality of Opportunity.

Soc.Fem point to Engels' Reserve Army of Labour. Women dispensible forces when male workers scarce. Short term to increase output. (eg. WW1)

Sheila Rowbotham: Revolutionary socialism to promote equality for women as with industrial men. Women organise in large numbers to bring this about.

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PATRIARCHICAL SOCIETY: Dominates all aspects of society so

Rad.Fem: reform may not be effective (See State). Counter by attack on cultural values (possibly violent) and a female counter-culture.

Lib.Fem sees patriarchy as a characteristic of society, not a fixture. Gradual depletion by peaceful cultural and political action.

EQUALITY FEMINISM- Women need equality in all spheres. Liberals. Limited aspirations. Difference=inequality=men benefit.

DIFFERENCE FEMINISM- Fundamental differences in men and women society should respect (Eg. maternal, caring nature of women). Argued as defeatist.

SIMONE DE BEAUVIOR (1908-86) argues for Equal.Fem- "Society, being codified by man, decrees that woman is inferior...do away with this inferiority only by destroying the male's superiority"

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Post Modern (contemporary) critics have concluded feminism has been targeted at middle class, white women. Argue women have more backgrounds and thus different oppression. Eg. Black women, gay women, disabled women, religious women.

Intersectionality, coined by Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989. Multiple identities, not just gender. Sub Sections needed in feminism to target all types of discrimination.

bell hooks (1952) stresses race as a key identity and racism should be tackled along with sexism. "We knew that there could be no real sisterhood between white women and women of colour...if the feminist movement were not so fundamentally anti-racist."

Intersectionality of feminism into gay-feminism, black feminism, working class feminism ect. shows the complexity of discrimination.

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