10/20/2013

Types of Feminism


Time for a color coded breakdown of different types of feminism^^ Green are the ones I identify with, orangey yellow are the ones I only agree with on certain points (and I will explain which points they are), and red are the ones I don't identify or agree with. Let's do it.

Socialist feminism:
  • Issues with society: There is a direct link between class structure and the oppression of women - Western society rewards working men because they produce tangible tradable goods, while women working in the domestic sphere do not. Women are divided by class, race, ethnicity and religion, but all experience an oppression for being a woman. 
  • Ideology: Rejects the idea that biology predetermines gender, and that social roles are not inherent, and therefore women's status must change both in private and in public. Challenges capitalism and patriarchy. 
  • Methodology: The way to end oppression is to end class and gender, working alongside men in the political sphere. They believe in cooperation between men and women. Focuses on social relations in the community including aspects of race, ethnicity, and other differences.


Liberal feminists 
  • Issues with society: Oppression exists because of the way men and women are socialized which supports patriarchy.
  • Ideology: Believe everyone deserves equal rights, and that women have the same mental capacity as their male counterparts and therefore should be given the same opportunities in political, economic and social spheres. Women must have the right to choose. 
  • Methodology: Liberal feminists create acts of legislation that remove barriers for women by demansing equal opportunities and rights, including equal access to jobs and pay. Though criticised for neglecting class and race issues, liberal feminists are responsible for important acts of legislation including reforms on welfare, education and health.


Ecofeminists 
  • Issues with society: Believe patriarchy and male domination is harmful to women and the environment, and that there is a link between a male's desire to dominate women and wilderness. 
  • Ideology: Women have a central role in preserving nature because they understand/are at one with nature, and must use their superior insight to save the earth.
  • Methodology: I don't know enough to write about it, probably will at some point though.
    • I do think that patriarchy and social values instored ages ago (age of colonialism) did/does contribute to harming the environment. And of course I agree that patriarchy is oppressive towards women.


Radical feminists, which are split into two categories which completely oppose each other
  • Radical cultural feminists 
    • Issues with society: Sees sex and penetration as male dominated, and that reproduction is the source of power for women, which men are jealous of and try to control.
    • Ideology: believe women should encourage their femininity because it is better than masculinity. 
    • Methodology: Radical activism
  • Radical libertarian feminists 
    • Issues with society: Femininity and reproduction limit women's capacity to contribute to society.
    • Ideology: Believe women should control every aspect of their sexuality.
    • Methodology:  Advocate artificial forms of reproduction, and promote abortion, contraception and birth control.
      • I agree that the perception that women have sex only for reproductive purposes has to be challenged, and that women need easy access to abortion, contraception and birth control.
Cultural feminists 
  • Issues with society: It is dominated by male values, which are not ideal.
  • Ideology: Believe that there are fundamental biological differences between the sexes, which should be celebrated. Women are inherently more kind and gentle, so the world would be a better place if ruled by women. Females value ideas such as interdependence, cooperation, relationships, community, sharing, joy, trust and peace, as opposed to the male values of independence, hierarchy, competition and domination. 
  • Methodology: They are non political and advocate female counter cultures (without complete disconnect).

[These are summaries of descriptions which can be found here. I don't think it is very complete, but it does give a pretty good summary/outline of feminist ideologies.]


The most widespread forms of feminism are the social and liberal one. The feminism most present in mainsteam media, however, is radical feminism. I cannot state enough how unfair it is to dismiss the entire movement based on only one type of it. Keep your minds open, and keep a critical eye when reading about feminism in the news.

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