Liberals are concerned with human and civil rights and freedom of the individual.
Same as enlightenment tradition, they believe that all human beings should be equal.
Since both men and women are human beings so both should have same rights and freedom.
Reformist is the idea that progress towards equal rights can be achieved by gradual reform or changes in society without the need for revolution.
They believe that women can achieve gender equality in this way and argue that laws and policies against sex discrimination in employment and education can secure equal opportunities for women.
Liberal feminists call for cultural change also. Traditional prejudices and stereotypes about gender differences are a barrier to equality.
sex and gender
Oakley : Distinguish between sex and gender
Sex - refers to biological differences between males and females.
Gender - Refers to culturally constructed differences between 'masculine' and 'feminine' roles and identities.
While sex differences are fixed, gender differences vary between cultures and over time.
Sexist attitudes and stereotypical beliefs about gender are culturally constructed and transmitted through socialisation.
Liberal Feminism can be seen as a critique of the functionalist view of gender roles .
Parsons Instrumental Roles and Expressive Roles
Instrumental Roles - are performed in the public sphere of paid work, politics and decision making.
Expressive Roles - Performed in the private sphere unpaid domestic labour, child rearing and caring for family.
They challenge this becuase they believe both men and women are capable of performing these roles and that traditional gender roles prevent both men and women leading fulfilling lives.
Key concept Patriarchy
Men dominate women in society
Make following claims
Patriarchy is universal. Male domination of women exists in all known societies.
Patriarchy is the primary and most fundamental form of social inequality and conflict.Men are women's main enemy.
All men oppress all women. Especially from womens unpaid domestic labour and from sexual services.
Patriarchal oppression is direct and personal, It occurs in the public and private sphere.
All relationships involve power and they are political when one individual tries to dominate another. Personal relationships between sexes are therefore political because men dominate women through them. Radical feminists refer to these power relationships as sexual politics.
They focus on the ways in which patriarchal power is exercise through personal relationships, often through sex and physical violence.
Patriarchy and women's oppression are reproduced through personal and sexual relationships, these must be transformed if women are to be set free.
Separatism - Men's oppression of women is exercised through intimate domestic and sexual relationships, some radical feminists advocate separatism, living apart from men and creating a new culture of female independence.
Consciousness -Raising - Through sharing their experiences in women only consciousness - raising groups. Women come to see that other women face the same problems.
Political Lesbianism - Radical feminists argue that heterosexual relationships are inevitably oppressive because they involve 'sleeping with the enemy' and that lesbianism is the only non-oppressive form of sexuality.
Dismiss the liberal feminist view that women's subordination is merely the product of stereotyping or outdated attitudes. They also reject the radical feminist view that it is the result of patriarchal oppression by men.
Marxist feminists, women's subordination in capitalist society results from their primary role as unpaid homemaker which places them in a dependent economic position in the family. Their subordination performs a number of important functions.
Women are a source of cheap, exploitable labour
Women are a reserve army of labour
Women reproduce the labour force
Women absorb anger
Barrett - The Ideology of familism
All Marxist feminists agree that women's subordination within the family performs important economic functions for capitalism.