Is feminism still needed now that women are free?

Feminism is the advocacy of women’s right on the ground of the equality of sexes. The word free means doing something without someone controlling you but in this essay we will describe free as doing something without society judging you. In this essay I will talk about three different types of feminism; Liberal, Marxist and Radical and whether they believe feminism is still needed and finally I will give a conclusion.

Liberal feminism is a singular form of feminist theory, which focuses on the ability of women to maintain their equality through their actions and choices with its “primary goal being gender equality in the public sphere”[1] such as education, equal pay, better working conditions etc.   Liberal feminists argue that society determines the standards for women going from beauty, academia, workplace etc and this tends to discriminate against women and this is because society has been shaped by men this is backed up by Simone de Beauvoir who said that ‘women are not born but made’. Liberal feminists believe that “female subordination is rooted in a set of customary and legal constraints that blocks women’s entrance to and success in the so called public world.”[2] Liberal feminist want individual freedom and rights for women, especially equality of opportunity, as this will enable more women to be more independent in terms of job and money. This is because of the wage gap between men and women and this is highlighted in the UK where the “wage gap between men and women is 19.1%”[3] showing how women work for less for the same job. Liberal feminism will undoubtedly argue that feminism is still needed due to the many obstacles facing women and will argue that the patriarchic society that women live in will mean they will not be totally free.

Marxist feminist focus on the oppression of women in a capitalist system and according to Marxist feminist “women’s liberation can only be achieved through a radical restructuring of the current capitalist economy, in which, they contend, much of women’s labor is uncompensated.”[4] Moreover, in this context Marxist feminist will argue that women are not aware of their class because women used to be barred from work which meant that half of the population did not know their class. According to Marxist feminist, in order to be conscience you need to become a worker in order to understand you’re class. In addition, Marxist feminist will argue that “gender oppression is closely related to class oppression and the relationship between men and women in society is similar to the relations between proletariat and bourgeoisie” therefore women are not free thus feminism is still needed.

Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that calls for a “radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts.”[5] Radical feminists want to abolish the patriarchic system by exacting institutions and norms. This includes challenging a range of ideas such as rape, violence against women, sexual objectification of women and many more and radicals believe that this oppression can only be abolished through revolution. Radical feminist will argue that feminism is still needed and that women are not free.

To conclude, Liberal, Marxist, Radical feminist all agree that feminism is still needed and that women are not free. Liberals will argue that women are subjected to less pay for the same job and that in society there is no gender equality. Marxists will argue that gender oppression has a direct correlation with class oppression and that women need to work in order to become conscience of their class. Radicals will argue that women are always being judged by society and being exploited economically. All three agree that feminism is still needed and that women are not free which a notion I support. Whilst it is true that politically women are free, economically and socially women are not free and therefore I believe that feminism is still needed in today’s world and women are not free economically and socially.

 

Bibliography:

  • Johnson Lewis, J (2017) What is Liberal Feminism? How Does It Differ From Other Feminisms? Available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/liberal-feminism-3529177 [Accessed at 16th May 2017]
  • Tong, Rosemarie (1989). Feminist Thought: A Comprehensive Introduction Oxon, United Kingdom: Uwin Human Ltd. Chapter 1.
  • Boilea & Singh, B. (2017) Is feminism still relevant today? Ipaulina, Ipailina.spgs.org. Available at: http://ipaulina.spgs.org/article/feminism-still-relevant-today (Accessed: 12 March 2017)
  • Ferguson, A & Hennessy, R. (2010). Feminist perspectives on eating disorders. 1st Stanford: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Ellen Willis (1984), “Radical Feminism and Feminist Radicalism”,Social Text, 9/10: The 60’s without Apology: 91–118

[1] Johnson Lewis, J (2017) What is Liberal Feminism? How Does It Differ From Other Feminisms? ThoughtCo. Available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/liberal-feminism-3529177

[2] Tong, Rosemarie (1989). Feminist Thought: A Comprehensive Introduction Oxon, United Kingdom: Uwin Human Ltd. Chapter 1.

[3] Boilea & Singh, B. (2017) Is feminism still relevant today? Ipaulina, Ipailina.spgs.org. Available at: http://ipaulina.spgs.org/article/feminism-still-relevant-today (Accessed: 12 March 2017)

[4] Ferguson, A & Hennessy, R. (2010). Feminist perspectives on eating disorders. 1st ed. Stanford: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

[5] Ellen Willis (1984), “Radical Feminism and Feminist Radicalism”, Social Text, 9/10: The 60’s without Apology: 91–118

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