Radical feminists key concept is Patriarchy - which literally means a society dominated by men.
Raidcal Feminist make the following claims:
- Patriarchy is universal, according to Firestone the origins of Patriarchy lie in women's biological capacity to bare infants, these roles make them dependent on men.
- Patriarchy is the fundamental element of social inequality and conflict.
- ALL men OPRESS ALL women.
They believe Patriarchy only in the Public sphere of work and politics, and the private sphere of the family. Relationships that involve power are political when one individual/partner tries to assert power.
These power relationships are referred to as sexual politics.
Susan Brownmiler notes that fear of **** is a powerful deterrent against women going out alone at night,
Radicals argue that women are seen as passive sexual objects for example ***********, where penetration is the main source of male pleasure. - Similarly Rich argues women are forced into narrow, unsatisfying 'heterosexual' relationships; which effectively becomes the only socially acceptable form of sexuality.
Radicals put forward several solutions to the problem of patriarchy:
- Seperatism - living apart from men, creating a new culture of female independence. Greer argues for the creation matrilocal households (all female)
- Consciousness-raising by raising awareness for women and cominf together in groups women will be able to see they all suffer from the same problems i.e. conscious raising.
- Political Lesbianism - They regard coitus as 'sleeping with the enemy' and so therefore suggests lesbian relationships as it is the only non-oppressive form of sexuality.
Pollert argues that patriarchy is very little in explaning women's oppression. Somerville heterosexual attraction makes it highly unlikely that single sex households will reign or take over.