unapologeticexistence asked: Hey, I'm very curious about the answer to a previous asked question about a week ago on the difference of "radical/anarchistic and liberal feminism?" I'm not sure if you've answered it already - that's why I'm asking here once more. (I'm such a sociology nerd that I'm actually anticipating TOO eagerly your response. Haha, Bear with me.)

Okay, you’ve caught me while I’m trying to avoid a poster assignment (eye roll), so I’ll try and answer this question again. :) (And you’re right, I never did answer the question. Which is very naughty of me because I said I would!)

None of this answer is textbook, it is merely my own articulation of the main differences of ideology/intended outcome.

Liberal Feminism
This is the umbrella term, I’m pretty sure, that most people who identify as a Feminist fall under. It’s Feminism laced together with the ideas of Liberalism. Basically, the economic and political systems as they are are fine so long as women (and all other marginalised groups) are equally represented and treated within this system. The focus for activists in this area can be one of many things - Political representation, economic and workplace equality, dealing with violence against women and rape, reproductive rights, healthcare, etc… This can then stretch into looking at cultural representations, but for the most part, the onus is on making strides in measurable areas and rearranging the institutions of our society. Most feminists, no matter how they identify past ‘feminist’ (liberal or otherwise), will be strongly in support of these things.

Radical feminism
The amount of times I get people asking me if this means believing women and men should have nothing to do with each other is saddening (I believe that is called Seperatist Feminism and was ‘popular’ for a brief spell in the 1970s). The word ‘radical’ means ‘the root’, and for radical feminism, though the fights for reproductive rights, economic equality, etc, are of vital importance, the belief is that without dealing with the root of the problem, no real lasting change can be made. For example, it’s all well and good to get a 50/50 balance of female/male (This is over simplifying and ciscentric, I must point out) politicians in government, but if the majority of the population still believe that men make better politicians and the women don’t really know what they’re doing, you’re not looking at true equality. Radical feminism seeks to scope out and deal with things like gender roles, gender essentialism, representation in media and language, etc. It deals with Patriarchy as the structure which forms the complex relationships that allow men and women to remain very unequal no matter how many women get the vote, or how many mothers can also work.

I hope this is still making sense…

Anarchist feminism
Technically going one step further than Radical feminism and drawing in more forms of power structure. With Liberal and some Radical feminisms, Capitalism is not questioned (or at least, it is not suggested that Capitalism is the central issue). For Anarchist feminism, the structure of Patriarchy (as well as other heirarchies of race, sexuality, etc), and the state, and the economic system of Capitalism feed off of and support one another. Capitalism is seen as inherently unjust and not only helps create, but also benefits from, racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, etc.

Anarchist Feminists look at Capitalism and the state, with particular attention to the effects it has on marginalised groups, and argues that, for us to obtain true equality, Capitalism must be abolished as well as all forms of heirarchy (such as patriarchy).

I have to of course say that, these are simplistic definitions. Each header has multiple sub-headings, some liberal feminisms and radical feminisms overlap, some people will agree with everything and some people may take a completely different approach. There is also Socialist feminism and Black feminism (Check out Patricia Hill Collins!) and so many other kinds! I don’t recall who said it, but “there are as many feminisms as there are feminists”!

I’m sorry I made everyone wait so long for this answer and I hope it gives a decent outline of the differences. If anyone has anything to add or wants to ask anything else, please chime in! :)

  1. fuckyeahsociologystudentsheep posted this