Feminism has been around for over 200 years but because there are so many it can be watered down whereas if they stuck together they would be a lot stronger. This is the idea that women and men should be treated equally;
“[Their] aim is to liberate women socially, politically and ideology by abolishing patriarchy...” Slattery 1992
Women should experience equality of opportunity, and you don’t have to be a woman to be a feminist but you do need to believe that women should be treated the same as men. Some feminists have stronger feelings or views and would like to be in charge rather than being equal than men.
This is the most radical form of feminism and would like women to be in charge (matriarchy). They think that society is dominated by males and issues are dealt with in a masculine way, and that society is MALESTREAM. Society is run by men for men, so this means that women are not free to express themselves at work, in the home, in the media they are stereotypes. Women are OPPRESSED. They would say that valued knowledge, such as the Bible, history, maths, medicine, is all defined by men.
They were apart of the “burn your bra” campaign in the 1960s as a symbol of liberation from shackles. Changes that have occurred to women’s positions in society are seen to be all talk and less action just to make society look equal.
Oakley- all aspects of society is oppressive to women.
Greer- goal is women's liberation's from men rather than equality.
Shulasmith Firestone- women will only truly be free when birth takes place outside the womb.
The main focus is women’s exploitation under capitalism, where women tend to be used as a RESERVE ARMY OF LABOUR, which means they are only employed at times of high employment or when the men are off doing something else (during war times). They are also concerned with women’s key role in preparing men for a hard day’s work and a comfortable evening when they get back. Women should keep the home going so that men can concentrate on making profits for the bourgeoisie. They are also critical of Marx for not concerning himself with the particular plight of women in capitalist society. They are still quite economically deterministic and focus mainly on women’s role in the labour market.
Any improvements for women would be another way to further the interests of capitalists, and if women’s skills are likely to generate profit then they now have a place in the workforce, but they can’t forget about their role in the house.
Abbot and Wallace- Initially Marxist feminists but now more general
This theory does not only have the problem of patriarchy, sexism and capitalism, but also racism. This is primarily in the workplace and in the education system, so they campaign and focus their studies on the plight of black women in British society. There are also Asian black feminists too.
Southall Black Sisters
They are perhaps more realistic and less extreme than radical feminists, where there main aim is to see women equal to men and this should be achieved through political and legal reform. They believe things have got better for women, but there is still room for improvement. Women are socialised to be caring mothers in the patriarchal society through the process of SEX ROLE CONITIONING. This is through the constant reminders of a women’s place in society through the family, media, education, work.
This is a new type of feminism and they argue that sex differences do not exist until they are brought into the consciousness through language (socialisation). They reject the biological theory (men can have babies too). They believe knowledge is power.
Combine the views of radical and Marxist feminism. There are two types:
- Focus on women’s oppression, considering class and gender
- Consider wide oppression, including class, gender, ethnicity, age and sexuality
They argue that there is a particular type of PATRIARCHY in capitalism. They argue the ideas of both radical and Marxist feminists should be assimilated, if liberation is to be achieved.
WALBY: Whereas before the industrial revolution patriarchy purely benefited the male head of the home. With capitalism, it benefits the capitalists.
ABBOTT and WALLACE: Point out that the interests of capitalism and patriarchy are not the same. As women are used as a RESERVE ARMY OF LABOUR, they are a cheap source of labour as they have low status. This is detrimental for the male family heads, who lose out on having a stay at home wife and their wife becoming more independent. Capitalists support men until it is detrimental to their own profit making.