Comparing and Contrasting Liberal, Socialist, and Radical Feminism

Topics: Feminism, Feminist theory, Radical feminism Pages: 5 (2037 words) Published: May 2, 2011
Comparing and Contrasting Liberal, Socialist, and Radical Feminism

In today’s society it is nearly impossible to go a day without being subjected to some form of media that does not marginalize women. The media takes a myriad of forms that include but are not limited to televisions, phones, and the radio and it is no surprise that the media has a huge impact on society. Most of the time the media is heralded as a pivotal source of news and entertainment however, many look down on the media giving it a negative stigma as being biased and dominated by males. Males are seen as so called “experts” on talk shows and are the most common voice in radio commercials. Indeed, the very media in which we engage ourselves on a daily basis reflects the foundations and beliefs of our society where in which women are seen as nothing more than sex objects that belong at home while the husband goes out to be the breadwinner. Recently, in the past few decades, there have been movements and established groups to eradicate the male dominance that predominates in our society. These groups, known as feminists, have fervently fought for the equal rights and legal protection for all women from the tyranny of the men and gender oppression. Although there is an established stereotype that all feminists are man-haters, who believe in a lesbian lifestyle, it is important to understand that there are three different forms of Feminism perspective that have shaped the women’s movement today. Known as Liberal, Socialist, and Radical feminism, it is important to understand the differences between the three so one can ascertain each one’s unique concepts and assumptions on gender oppression. In addition, it is also important to acknowledge the individual philosophies and short comings of each feminist perspective in order to understand them entirely, and so both men and women can strive for a more just society. The first aspect of feminism that’s going to be discussed is Liberal feminism because it recognized as the oldest form of feminism. Liberal feminism developed out of 18 century liberal philosophy that believed there should be limited government control on capitalism, free speech, and free trade. Instead of using government as the basis of their protest, Liberal Feminists argue for sexual freedom and emphasizes autonomy and individualistic self expression. Liberal Feminists believed that sexual difference had exploited women as a whole; excluding them from politics, economics, and a liberated social life (Rosen 85). They believed that women’s rights had always been based on man’s experience, and did not account for the huge differences in the rights experienced by women. Examples of these differences can be seen in the very constitution the United States uses as a foundation for its society. Liberal Feminists target the constitutional belief that one’s right to pursuit of happiness, when applied to women, takes on a completely new meaning. Most of the time, this new meaning was applied to the way in which women were unable to control their bodies and how they were to act different from men (86). Liberal feminists believed that in order for the constitution to be valid on the grounds of liberty and equal rights, men should take it upon themselves to be more active in the home. In addition, they believe that there should be a complete end to sexual harassment in the work place and violent acts against women should cease. Although Liberal Feminism was a great idea and a just cause, it received a lot of criticism from multiple angles. Liberal Feminism strived for women to collaborate towards working for a less sexually hindered society (Lindsey 14) however, this engendered anger from other feminists groups who believed that a more forceful approach was to be taken. Opponents of Liberal Feminism believed that a revolution was necessary and that simple acts of from Liberal Feminists social groups could not usher forth the necessary changes in...
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