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David Manchester

Political Science 2300

C. Moore

April 8, 2018

Essay #2 Liberal Feminism

The main core themes of feminism are for the most part based in the belief that all well known societies

have been patriarchal. Meaning that these societies and cultures have been male dominated and served

the interest of males leading to societies where males have total dominance over females. Feminism

also recognizes that all major institutions have been dominated and controlled by men through out

history. Women through out history have been indoctrinated from birth into societies that teach them

women are inferior to men and have a place in society based on their sex. Feminism also recognizes that

sex and gender are two separate things. Sex is a biological occurrence and gender is something that is

taught through societal rituals and interactions. The sex that one is born does not determine certain

characteristics and behaviors one will display. But, feminism also believes that the patriarchal system is

not only detrimental women but, men alike. Through realizing of the patriarchal order that is in place

women free themselves from the oppression of a patriarchal culture. There are several different strands

or ideologies of feminism. The main strands of feminism are Liberal feminism, socialist feminism, radical

feminism. Liberal feminism is the basis for all feminist movements through out modern history.

(Heywood, 2010)

Socialist feminism combated the effect of capitalism on society as well as the patriarchal system that is

in place. Socialist feminism believes that there will be no true socialist society without the liberation of

women. And vice versa, there can be no true liberation of women without a socialist way of government

in place. Essentially the liberation of women and the creation of a true socialist society go hand in hand.

Socialist feminist recognizes that as women they are separated by class, color, and political beliefs and

ideals. They all share the same struggle of being a woman. (Heywood, 2010)
Radical Feminism is a strand of feminism that hold the belief that the patriarchal system breeds all other

forms of oppression and not just the oppression of women. The ultimate goal of radical feminist is the

completely change views on gender relations and doing away with male dominance and male value and

replacing them with values viewed as feminine. Radical feminism also believes that is the movement is

to be successful, women must put aside their differences by focusing on common interest through

women only groups. (Heywood, 2010)

Feminism in its early stages has held a connection to the liberal ideals. Early in the feminist movement

women called for the same rights as men since women were human just like men and deserved the

same rights and opportunities as men. This being derived from the belief that all men are created

equally, which should also apply to women in the sense that all humans are created equally. After the

“first wave of feminism” which was marked by women receiving the right to vote on August 18th, 1920,

the movement became somewhat disorganized and lost direction after achieving its goal. Not until the

1960’s did the feminist movement begin to gain more focus becoming an important part of the 60’s

social movement as a whole. The feminist movement of the 60’s marked the beginning of the second

wave of feminism. This is where women became focused on the idea of individualism and the freedom

to become whatever they chose to become. Individualism is a core belief in the liberal ideal. The term

Liberal Feminism comes from the idea that the movement wanted to remove barriers that kept women

from being able to perform the same duties as men in a social setting. The movement would change the

social setting through legislation through the system that is already in place. This also is a main liberal

ideal and core belief, Changing social inequalities through due process of the United states legislation

process. Other movements during the 60’s that had a liberal influence was the civil rights movement,

which also focused on the fact the African Americans are humans and therefore deserve the same rights

as everyone else. (Heywood, 2010)

Works Cited

Heywood, Andrew. Political Ideologies: an Introduction. 5th ed., Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.