Pure Feminism

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What is Feminism?

focuses on womens subordinate position within society

based on a political movement

describes and explains the change in position of women within society

first appeared in the late 19th Century

has had a huge impact on sociology

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Liberal Feminism

Sex - the biological differences between males and females, fixed

Gender - the percieved socially constructured differences between males and females (masculinity and femininity), continually changing

- sexist attitudes are stereotypical and culturally constructuted

- transmitted through socialisation

- gender differences change over time and space

- some gender stereotypes still exist

- attempts at equality have not been successful

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Evaluating Liberal Feminism


  • legitimised the demand for reform in equal pay and sex discrimination
  • shows gender differences are not innate


  • too optimistic
  • ignore deep rooted structures causing womens oppression
  • too naive (marxists and radical feminists) changing attitudes will not change society
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Marxist Feminism

  • women are cheap exploitable sources of labour
  • also can provide a reserve army of labour
  • treated like their primary role is within the home
  • oppression is therefore rooted in capitalism
  • women reproduce the labour force through unpaid domestic labour, maitaining and servicing the current working generation also
  • women absorb anger


- wives as takers of ****


- ideology helps to keep women subordinated

- the nuclear family is normal and healthy and the only way to attain fulfillment

- need to overthrow the family before they overthrow Marxism

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Evaluating Marxist Feminism


  • highlights the relationship between capitalism and womens subordination
  • shows greater understanding of structure factors than liberal feminists


  • it cannot explain why womens subordination is found in non capitalist societies
  • unpaid domestic labour does not benefit capitalism
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Radical Feminism

  • all men oppress all women
  • only men benefit from patriarcy
  • oppression is direct and personal
  • occurs in both the private and public sphere
  • developed in the 1970s
  • patriarchy stems from biological differences
  • this is the fundamental form of social inequality

Change will occur through

- seperatism

- consciousness raising

- political lesbianism

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Evaluating Liberal Feminism


  • highlights how even intimate relationships can involve dominance
  • draws attention to the political dimension of marriage, domestic labour, domestic violence, **** and ****


  •  no explanation of why females subordination is different in different societies
  • seperatism is a vague and unachievable concept
  • patriarchy is already in decline
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Difference Feminism - An Internal Critique

  • all feminist perspectives so far assume women share the same experience of oppression
  • difference feminists belive womens experiences are all very different - essentialism

middle vs working class

white vs black

lesbian vs straight

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