Radical Feminism Versus Liberal Feminism

Topics: Feminism, Feminist theory, Sociology Pages: 5 (1923 words) Published: May 7, 2010
Feminist theories are an extension of feminism into theoretical and philosophical discourse. They aim at understanding of the nature of gender inequality .They in turn examine women’s social roles and life experiences .While in general some provide a critique of social relationships .Most feminist theories also focus on analysing gender inequality and the promotion of women’s rights, interests and issues .Among such theories are the Liberal feminism and the Radical feminism theories. While Liberal and Radical feminism both seek to ensure that women have access to resources and human rights in a gender equal environment they however do not necessarily employ similar methods in achieving these results. Each has its own distinct reason behind whatever methods they engage to achieve their goals. Wikipedia the free internet dictionary defines feminism as “the belief that women have equal political, social, and sexual, interlectual and economic rights as men do. It a discourse that involves various movements, theories and philosophies which are concerned with the issues of gender differences .The adaptation of the equality for women and the campaign for women’s rights and interests”. Ritzer (1992) indentifies feminism as that board of theories which analyse the social world of the point of views of women and other minority groups and the major objective is to investigate the situations and experience of women in diverse societies. Britannica encyclopaedia indentifies the term feminism as used to describe a political or economic, cultural, or economic movement aimed at establishing equal rights and legal protection for women. It involves political, cultural sociological theories .As well as philosophises concerned with issues of gender differences. It also is a movement that advocates for women’s rights and interests. Patriarchy according to Robert (1991) is “derived from a Greek word Patria means father and arche means to rule, beginning, and origins. A male head of the family excising autocratic authority or by extension a member of the ruling class, government of a society controlled by senior men.” Scafer (2000) describes a radical group as a group that is set apart from others because of obvious physical differences. According to Bryson in Haralambos and Holborn (2000), “radical feminism is a theory that views women as an oppressed group which has to struggle for its liberation against its oppressors.” According to Harton and Hunt , “a liberal is one who accepts the social system as basically sound but feels that extensive reforms maybe needed.” Liberal feminism is the first form of feminism recorded; it asserts the equality of men and women, through political and legal reform. It’s mostly individualistic thus it focuses mainly on women’s ability to show and maintain their equality through their own action and choices .It looks closely at the interactions that occur between men and women in the public sphere .Liberal feminism cites such interactions as the starting ground from where to transform society into a more gender equitable place .However other issues important to liberal feminists also include reproductive rights , abortion access, sexual harassment voting , education , fair compensation for work , affordable health care , and bringing to light the frequency of sexual and domestic abuse against women. This philosophy tends to have a neutral vision towards different gender. It requires women to mould themselves to fit a citizenship that already exists. On the other hand Radical feminism is a movement that got its inspiration largely from the Marxist theory. It addresses issues Liberal feminism overlooked. It is a “current” within feminism that pays a great deal of attention to the theory of patriarchy. According to Haralambos, Horlborn and Heald (2000), “Radical feminism blames the exploitation of women on men.” The term Radical is derived from the Latin word Radix, radic, meaning the root. Radical...
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