Saturday, 23 January 2016

Types of Feminism - Liberal and Marxist

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Types of Feminism:
Libertarian and Egalitarian Feminism:
Liberal and Marxist Feminism: This article
Radical and Socialist Feminism:
Intersectional Feminism:
Transnational Feminism:
Other Types of Feminism:

Author: Blaise Wilson

Name: Liberal Feminism
Alternative names: Bourgeois, Classical

This form of feminism is often associated to Libertarian/ Choice/ Individualist/ Freedom/ Equality Feminism [3, 12, 17]. It focuses more on institutions, government, law and education with targeted campaigns such as equal pay, ending job sex segregation, better working conditions, abortion, domestic violence, but does so within the current system of patriarchy and capitalism [2, 3, 4, 10, 13, 18, 19].

However, Liberal Feminism has some distinct differences from Libertarian/ Choice/ Individualist/ Freedom/ Equality Feminism. The seeds of the concept that gender is a social construct began here.

Liberal Feminism began to see men and women as classes in their own right. They began to see the collective impact of society on the genders and started to believe that women have the same wants and drivers as men, and that men should start to do more domestic chores [1, 3]. This lead to the belief that men and women are socialized into their roles, leading to negative stereotypes of women which discouraged and barred them from being treated as equals and influencing women’s choices [4, 6, 14, 15]. Their answer was for women to break from their traditional gender roles within the home, become educated, and get a job to support themselves [9].

Definition of Equality:

Equality of opportunity for the individual.

Gender is more of a social construct, than a biological one.

Root cause of problems:

The socialization of gender roles within society.

From 1830s. Liberal Feminism spans the gap between 1st and 2nd Wave Feminism, with ideology seated in both [0].

Ms. Magazine

National Organisation for Women (NOW)

Born out of, or at the same time as Libertarian/ Choice/ Individualist/ Freedom/ Equality, it sowed the seeds of gender as a social construct. This concept was built on by Radical and Social Feminisms before Intersectional Feminism took the concept to the extreme [0].

Due to the similarities of the focus on individual choice, Liberal Feminism suffers many of the same critique that Libertarian/ Choice/ Individualist/ Freedom/ Equality Feminism had. In addition it was asserted that this breeds a lack of community and makes it hard to see the underlying social structures and values that disadvantages women as a collective [6].

Many of the criticisms stem from Liberal Feminism’s focus on legal chance and not trying to break down society and fighting the patriarchy [2, 4, 6], with the patriarchy being linked to capitalism and thus Liberal Feminists were seen to undermine the efforts of the Marxists who sought to improve the conditions of the working class [4]. Liberal Feminist are seen as reformist rather than revolutionary [19].

Liberal Feminists encouraged women to become more like men, this was not only seen as insulting the traditional roles of women [16] but was actually supporting the very oppression of patriarchy [11].

One of the main critiques is Liberal Feminism’s focus on white, middle-class, Western struggles, and did not include other races, classes, cultures [4, 6, 8, 9, 16].

The final point is the departure from its roots. Historically Liberal Feminism concentrated on equality of opportunity, however more recently there has been an idea that in order for women to be equal, they must be given special treatment and privileges [7].

Allies and enemies:

Liberal Feminism has fallen by the wayside, with exceptionally few modern individuals identifying with this specific brand of feminism [17]

Due to attempting to working within the current social structure rather than destroying it, and not being perceived as inclusive enough Liberal Feminism is at odds Social, Radical and Intersectional Feminism.

Even, to a lesser extent, with Libertarian/ Choice/ Individualist/ Freedom/ Equality Feminists because Liberal Feminists argue that women should break from their traditional roles, rather than be left to choose for themselves.

This blame on society, and discouraging traditional gender roles discourages women who wish to be homemakers from supporting this brand of feminism [0].

Name: Marxist Feminism
Alternative names: Outcome Feminism

Marxist Feminism is a major overarching category that many other forms of feminism such as Radical, Socialist [23, 26] and Intersectional Feminism [0] fit into. It follows from the teachings of Karl Marx [23].

Marxist feminists equate capitalism with the patriarchy, and thus women’s oppression. In order for women to be equal to men capitalism, private property, and the current economy must be radically restructured into a communists/ socialist model, including paying women for domestic work they currently do for free [20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27].

This was the rise of the collective view of women [22], rather than the individual one that had gone on before.

Definition of Equality:
Equality of outcome for the collective, especially through the economy.

Root cause of problems:

Capitalism, and the society that supports it.

From 1884 (The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State by Fredrick Engel) [21]. Became popular from the 1950s and 60s in 2nd Wave Feminism [0].

Many Socialist and Radical Feminists have their routes in Marxist Feminism.

Based on the theories of Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels from the 1840s, women’s role was linked to feminism by Frederick Engels in his book ‘The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State’ in 1884 [21].

Liberal Feminism had already sowed the seeds that gender is a social construct and Marxist Feminists developed the idea from an individualistic view to a collective one while extrapolating on the social concept into the economic system [0].

A major criticism of Marxist Feminism equating patriarchy with capitalism is that patriarchy predates capitalism by several thousand years, and that patriarchy can still be seen in communist countries around the world [25].

Another issues is that creating collective groups it devalues the individual, even going as far as ignoring victims and perpetrators that do not fall into the stereotypes of the collective [0].

These collective groups also treat all individual within the group with the same assumptions and stereotypes, which is the very definition of sexism [0].

Allies and enemies:
Marxist, Socialist, and Material feminism are extremely similar, although they have their nuances [23, 26].

Marxism is at odds with Libertarian/ Choice/ Individualist/ Freedom/ Equality and Liberal Feminism’s individualistic views, and the root causes of problems [0].


[0] Author assertion.

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