Asian, Middle East, etc..
Poor, Working class
old, middle age
On a social pyramid, Norm is on the top with less population and other is at the base with more population.
So, most of the feminist theories are evolved
around the aim to bring these two sets of values. At least they claim such
3. Institutional Power
Right or wrong there have been different analysis of this approach with regard to women:
- Blaming the victims (along the same line as Mullah's, women are the source of sin, so
their victimization is justified)
- Internalizing the oppression (women think they are the source of the problem, hence
the strong self-doubt in women. One strong sign of this in west is the high rate of
depression among women, especially the successful
So what are the feminist theories that are actually
in practice to overcome these issues? Feminist theories which
were somewhat practiced in some societies took a heavy toll after the end of cold war. Marxist feminism have
always been coupled with socialist feminist in order to be put in practice.
Before the cold war, their target was:
1. Class - group
3. Structures - established laws and social systems
4. Resources of power
They strongly believed that gender issues will
resolve by addressing the class issues. After the end of cold war,
majority of activists and theories of the Marxist/Socialist feminism joined the radical feminism. Many joined the
Postmodern feminism and internalized the issues. Postmodern Feminism heavily emphasizes on individualism. It
has non-activism as its hidden agenda. It doesn't promote any kind of collective effort and that's why most of the
postmodern feminists don't even agree with each other's work.
A pure intellectual state of mind. Unfortunately,
it is very attractive among Women Studies programs in US, UK
Radical and liberal feminism are actually the
two major theories that have been picked up by different
organizations and institutions for practice and are still going strong.
At this point if we look at the 5 major theories
with the effect of the cold war, we will see the following:
Liberal and Postmodern
New wave of psycho-feminists
Note: There are a lot of cross referencing
between the above two analysis. For example, Radical feminists are
mostly in theory, where liberal feminists are the strong activists line NOW organization.
A CLOSER LOOK AT LIBERAL VS. RADICAL FEMINISM:
There are 2 distinct spheres:
-Public sphere (this belongs mostly to men and has been established based on male-dominated standards)
-Private & domestic sphere (this belongs
to women and it's based on feminine values, motherhood, nurturing,
The parameters of private sphere consists of: family, husband and children.
The parameters of public sphere consists of:
Government, Religion, Business, Media, Military, Judicial,
Education, Health care.
With this in mind, lets look at how feminism looks at this spheres:
Liberal Feminism believes in Liberalism which is based on:
1. Individual- rights of individualsIt is mainly based on meritocracy, which means the harder you work, the more empowered you will be, the more
2. Education- That is the solution to the problems
3. Voluntarism- Choices to be made
4. Idealism - It is the ideas that make the changes. So, good ideas will make good changes.
Therefore, Liberal Feminism (and Marxist Feminism)
believe in a strong barrier between public and private
spheres. They are strong advocates of Right to Privacy which follows the specific issues like contraceptives,
abortions and gay/lesbian rights. Liberal feminism believes men = women, therefore women has to work her way
up in a male-dominated society to achieve a true equality. They promote the theory of "Sameness".
Radical feminism, on the other hand, looks in
to class, gender and sex-class. They believe in weakening the
barriers between the public and private sphere. They encourage police involvement in violence against wives at
home, child abuse and pornography. The issue of pornography is in diametric view with Liberal feminism,
because the liberals believe that's an individual rights and they make the decision to be involved or not..hence,
protecting a male-dominated scheme..
Radical feminists go to the root of the problem.
They believe in order to eliminate the male-control in public
which roots to private, women should redefine their reproductive role. They encourage the reproductive
technologies. They believe if the sexuality is a private issue for women then the violence against women, sexual
violence like pornography, prostitution should stop.
The way Radical feminism goes after redoing
the structures based on new values is very similar to socialism. It is
the male-dominated structure that has to be replaced. They strongly promote positive discrimination.
A SIDE NOTE:
The radical and liberal approach which was discussed
here with regard to changing the structure vs. working your
way up within the existing structure.