Feminism

Feminism revision cards.

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 12-12-08 15:00

What is feminism?

Feminism is a social movement that aims to achieve equality between the sexes.

Feminist sociology recognises gender divisions in society and how these benefit men.

Feminism is divided into two stages:

1. First wave feminism: Events between 1890 and 1920s

2. Second wave feminism: From 1969 onwards

Feminists pursue equality by:

Conscious raising groups

Pressure groups for change in legislation

Establishing hostels for battered women

The two main branches are Liberals and Radicals. Then there are dual-system theories such as Marxist feminists and Black feminists.

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Liberal Feminists

Aim: To seek equal rights with men.

People should be treated according to their merits, not gender

Women should be free to compete with men and have the same priviledges and opportunities

Equality does not exist because of discrimination against women

How do they campaign?

Campaign for the removal of social, economic, political and legal obstacles that prevent women having the same freedom of choice as men.

Liberal feminists have been successful in campaigning with the equal Opportunities Commission which monitors discrimination in the UK.

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Radical Feminists

Aim: To free women from patriarchy.

Radical feminists hate patriarchy and believe men use their power to ensure that society is run in their interests

Men seize most of the material rewards and social priviledges

Men inflict physical and sexual violence on women

Recognise there are natural differences between men and woman but do not believe this makes patriarchy OK.

How do they campaign?

Believe the way to stop patriarchy is through separatism. Women should be totally segregated from men sexually and socially

Firestone (1979) says childbearing has put women at a disadvantage. She argues that women should use test tube fertilisation instead to free women from their dependence on men.

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Marxist Feminists

Social class is the main factor affecting relationships between men and women

Under capitalism men try to gain control over the labour power of women in ways such as:

1. Women as the reserve army of labour

2. Male workers exclude women from trade

3. Husbands exploit their wives upaid housework

The role of the woman as a housewife is to produce the next generation of workers, to socialise and educate children into a capitalist society, to relieve the burden of housework for men and to make sure the husband is well fed and dressed for work

Mitchell (1971) says there must be cultural, social and economic change. Women must achieve freedom from these four functions: 1. member of workforce 2. bear children 3. socialise children 4. sex objects

Equal relationships can only be established when capitalism is replaced by a non-exploitive system.

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