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Feminism can be defined as the belief that women and men are, and have been, treated differently by our society, and that women have frequently and systematically been unable to participate fully in all social arenas an institutions

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Feminism can be defined as the belief that women and men are, and have been, treated differently by our society, and that women have frequently and systematically been unable to participate fully in all social arenas an institutions. Feminist thoughts are diverse as the theories behind feminism are brought up by different people who have different views about the issue and have had differing lives. These theories are Radical, Black, Marxist and Liberal feminist theories and they were brought up by various individuals who thought about ways of improving the lives of women who were suppressed by the societies that they lived in. This paper will try to critically look at three feminist theories and how they are linked and the criticism around them and how they have faired in the global context. Most of the oppression that is directed towards women is based on patriarchy and how society has believed in such a status quo. Also another area where the rise of feminism was cultivated was the idea of how capitalism had oppressed women in particular as owners of the businesses/capital in general were living a different lifestyle altogether from the labourers who had to sell their labour for wages and the group that was targeted the most was women. Radical feminism has its roots in the belief that men are the real problem for women and it seeks to change that course. ...read more.


Marxist feminists base their arguments of moral right and wrong in reference to the corruption of wage labour that itself is an expression of class distinctions. Marxist and socialist feminist do not attribute women's exploitation entirely on men. They see capitalism rather than patriarchy as being the principal source of women's oppression and capitalists as the main beneficiaries, Haralambos & Holborn (2004:104). Marxist and socialist feminist relate women's oppression to the production of wealth, as they are the ones who work in order to feed their families. Abolition of gender and class are goals where socialism will only occur with the liberation of women and women's liberation will only occur under socialism and sexuality is to feminism what work is to Marxism, (Wilma van der Veen, E. (Ph.D), 2006) The three theories all fighting for the women's emancipation in the society differed on how to go about it as they came from different schools of thought. To some degree Radical and Marxist feminist agreed on some aspects such as that women are exploited, particularly in the advent of capitalism, they are more sensitive to the differences between women who belong to the ruling class and proletarian families, Haralambos & Holborn (2004:105). What appears to have gone unnoticed in Marxism, Marxist feminism, and radical feminism is that there is the perception that in the capitalist system there is a stripping away of the spiritual qualities of life as a person is reduced to being a mere cog in a machine. ...read more.


There have been groups that see feminism as a problem in the society and Wilma van der Veen, E. (Ph.D). (2006), gives a list of some of the issues that have been raised by anti-feminists such as, see feminism as attack on traditional function of women, family and church, feminism degrades homemakers, and blame family breakdown on women's movement. This is the problem that feminist groups face as they advocate for the equal status of women in the society even though there are some within the movement who hold extremist views as to how to tackle this whole issue. This creates confusion as people who are not supportive of the whole feminist ideology are given ammunition to attack these groups due to the fractures that exist within the whole feminist body. As the three have one thing in common, that is, fighting for women's rights they differ on the approach to take and another branch within the feminist movement, liberal feminists advocate for a lesser confrontational approach as compared the other perspectives. Reference List Collins, P.H. (1990) Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. Boston: Unwin Hyman. Haralambos, M. and Holborn, M. (2004) Sociology: Themes and Perspectives. 6th Edition. London: Collins Bromberg, S. (1997). Feminist Issues in Prostitution. International Conference on Prostitution at Cal State University, Northridge http://www.feministissues.com/radical_feminism.html Download date: 30/08/2007. Wilma van der Veen, E. (Ph.D). (2006). Feminist theories. Gender Relations. http://husky1.smu.ca/~evanderveen/wvdv/Gender_relations/Feminist_theories.html Download date: 30/08/2007. Thistle Issue 9.01. But Some of Us Are Brave: A History of Black Feminism in the United States. http://www.mit.edu/activities/thistle/v9/9.01/6blackf.html Download date: 30/08/2007 ...read more.

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