Liberal Feminism - Coggle Diagram
Origins of the women's movement and first wave feminism
Liberty - women should be free to choose the nature of their own lives. This would include their roles as wives and mothers as well as their position in the labour forces
Women should enjoy equality of opportunity with men and have a full access to education and an entry into any career and any profession
Women should enjoy the same civil rights as men and the rule of law should fully extend to them - the law must never discriminate against women
Women should enjoy equal private rights - especially concerning property. The enjoyment of private rights can also refer to abortion laws too
Women should enjoy the same democratic rights as men - the right to vote and stand for elected office
Combatting the patriarchy
Both Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan stressed the concept of otherness
- Refers to the position of women in a patriarchal society, treated as separate to society, an inferior minority, subordinate to men
As liberal feminists, they accept that women should be free to choose. They can enter into a world that is historically dominated by men or they can stay within 'tradition' and take on a domestic role.
Liberal Feminists propose 3 main forms of action to combat the patriarchy
Opportunities for women to be able to make their own choices had to be opened up by ending inequality and discrimination. This aspiration is often described as
Cultural attitudes which demeaned and reinforced women's sense of inferiority had to be combatted. This was to be achieved through education, propaganda and opposition to sexist attitudes and language
Women would have to achieve formal equality in all fields. This largely involved legislation. There must be political and legal equality
Political and legal equality - These are key demands from early and second wave feminists.
mainly consists of the equal right to vote and stand for office.
means that in the law, in all its aspects, should women be treated in the same way as it treats men, no distinction between sexes.
Did first wave feminism go far enough?
In the 1960s, Betty Friedan gave the answer that the existence of the patriarchy was the issue and that the problem faced by women was a cultural issue. The patriarchy had involved the dominance of men and the self-assigned inferiority of women
In terms of first wave Feminism, it did go far enough as these ideas were carried on and adapted for the changing times. Friedan's 'The Feminist Mystique' has been credited for being the catalyst for second wave feminism.
An example of this is the Equal Pay Act (1963) in the USA and in 1970 in the UK. This shows that liberal feminists did go far enough, as they brought us into a second wave of feminism, where ideas continued to grow.
It can be said that first wave feminism did not go far enough as it generally focused on women as a collective and as a whole, not focusing on the issue of socio-economic factors and how women were faced with different inequalities as well as being a woman. This issue was not recognised for some years and only truly emerged in later waves of feminism
Does liberal feminism fail to understand the true nature of the patriarchy
It has mainly been a white, middle class movement and thus, does not understand the position of working-class and ethnic minority women who face multiple forms of oppression
Liberal feminists support a capitalist society and through this, they do not understand the ways in which market capitalism oppresses and discriminates against women
Liberal feminists underestimate the importance of the 'personal is political'. They do not understand that personal and sexual relationship between men and women are power relationships and are political in nature
Liberal feminists understand that formal inequality is not the only problem but they claim that the cultural nature of the patriarchy is key. Therefore, this shows that sexism is a key target in their struggle for women's liberation
By achieving formal or legal equality for women as a collective, liberal feminists believe that patriarchy will decline as men will no longer hold dominant positions in society
Liberal feminists claim that women have now have a more developed understanding of patriarchy and are steadily achieving sufficient power to be able to combat it
Criticisms BY the liberal feminist movement
They criticise functionalists because they dislike that they distinguish between different roles (Males have the instrumental role and are the breadwinners whilst women have the expressive role and perform domestic tasks)
Criticism OF the liberal feminist movement
Marxist feminists criticise liberal feminists as they disagree with the fact that liberal feminists ignore capitalism
Radical feminists criticise liberal feminists because they believe they are not pushing hard enough for reform
Liberal Feminist Key thinkers
Simone De Beauvoir and Charlotte Perkins Gilman