Feminism: Different Types

Feminism: Different Types

Types of Feminism

Liberal Feminism

  • Liberal Feminism believes in the equality of men and women, and advocates for political and legal reform to achieve this.
  • It focuses on issues such as reproductive rights, equal pay, sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
  • Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill were early advocates of Liberal Feminism.
  • Key understanding - Liberal Feminists see changing laws and policies, and changing individual attitudes as instrumental to achieving equality.

Radical Feminism

  • Radical Feminism argues that the root cause of women’s oppression is patriarchy: The social, economic, and political dominance of women by men.
  • They believe that society must be drastically restructured to achieve gender equality.
  • Key figures include Kate Millett and Andrea Dworkin.
  • Key understanding - Radical Feminists typically reject the idea that individual changes can achieve equality, arguing for a complete societal overhaul.

Socialist Feminism

  • Socialist Feminism links the oppression of women to capitalist economic practices, and contends that liberation can only be achieved by replacing capitalism with socialism.
  • They argue for the dispersal of power and wealth.
  • Key figures include Clara Zetkin and Alexandra Kollontai.
  • Key understanding - Socialist Feminists believe that both patriarchal and class oppressions must be eradicated for gender equality.

Intersectional Feminism

  • Intersectional Feminism emphasises that women’s experiences of oppression are not universally the same, and it accounts for race, socioeconomic status, and more.
  • Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, it challenges the predominant idea that all women experience the same level of discrimination.
  • Key understanding - Intersectional Feminism calls for a recognition that gender, race, class, and other identities intersect and affect each other, creating a multitude of experiences.

Black Feminism

  • Black Feminism argues that sexism, class oppression, and racism are inextricably bound together.
  • They contend that the liberation of black women entails freedom for all people, since it would require the end of racism, sexism, and class oppression.
  • key figures include Bell Hooks and Audre Lorde.
  • Key understanding - Black Feminism critiques mainstream feminism as being dominated by white women’s perspectives, highlighting the need to consider race and class in gender equality discourses.

Postmodern Feminism

  • Postmodern Feminism encompasses several feminist theories that all question the metanarratives associated with womanhood and female experience.
  • They criticise other forms of feminism as being too deterministic.
  • Key figures include Judith Butler, who advocates for the exploration of gender beyond traditional binaries.
  • Key understanding - Postmodern Feminism emphasizes the individual, subjective experience of gender, rather than generalizing all women’s experiences.