THE CONCEPT OF FEMINISM: INTRODUCTION
After a long suffering and discrimination of woman in the society, she is nowadays playing an important role in society as a politician, socialist and economist. Those achievements emerged by the coming of feminism which granted woman’s rights.
This research work studies woman suffering, dehumanization and segregation by man. It deals also with the efforts of Feminism to change woman’s oppression in the entire world and to ask for her equal rights and existence in all the domains (politics, socialism and economy)
This research tries to see at what extend does feminism influence woman’s fighting path and to answer the following questions:
1. How was the situation of woman in the past?
2. What did feminism brought to woman?
3. Was feminism efficient to change woman’s life?
The questions asked in this research aims to find if feminism was able to change the stereotypical image of woman and to give her more opportunities to have a place in the society, this why this research hypothesis state that:
1. Feminism was able to eradicate the stereotypical image of woman.
2. It gave more chances to woman to be important members in the society.
After a long trip of making the world better by making new rules, inventing new things and changing ancient ideas and thoughts. Women were still struggling every moment and they were still looking for their rights. Feminism has generated an on-going debate in all over the world and it came to solve women’s problems and to put an end to the injustice treatment for them. It was the voice of women in times they were not able to speak or to express their feelings and wishes.
DEFINITION OF FEMINISM:
1.ACCORDING TO WIKIPEDIA
Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes.
Whether as a theory, a social movement or a political movement, feminism specifically focuses on women’s experiences and highlights various forms of oppression that the female gender has subjected in the society.
Whether Feminism is considered as a social movement or a political movement, it specifically and mainly focuses on women’s experiences in her daily life, which she subjected to in the society. Since Feminists are able to feel and experience the pain and suffering of women they are totally convinced of what it means to be a “women” in Patriarchal societies. Feminists, therefore seek to remove all the barriers to equal social, political and economic opportunities for women and object to the notion that a women’s worth is determined principally by her gender and that women are inherently inferior, subservient or less intelligent than men.
2. ACCORDING TO MANY RESEARCHERS AND SCHOLARS:
A) Feminism refer it to the belief that women live an injustice life with no rights and no equality.
Zara Huda Faris explained this idea, as: “…Women need feminism because there are women who suffer injustice …”
B) Feminism represents women’s problems and suffering in addition to their dreams in equal opportunities in societies controlled by man i.e. his power, rules, wishes and orders.
Lara Huda Faris added also: “…women have traditionally been dehumanized by a male dominated society, which they call patriarchy; and that has been always better to be a man…”
TYPES OF FEMINISM
Feminism is both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms. There are many kinds of feminism in which sometimes and each one of them gives principles and conditions for giving woman her rights.
1. LIBERAL FEMINISM
Liberal feminism is a particular approach to achieving equality between men and women. It emphasizes on the power of an individual Person to alter discriminatory practices against women. It is considered as the most important kinds of feminism, which works within the structure of society to integrate women into it.
Liberal feminism aims for individuals to use their own abilities and the democratic process to help women and men to become equal in the eyes of the law and in society. By organizing women into larger groups that can speak at a higher level, push for legislation, and raise awareness of issues, those taking a liberal feminist approach will use the resources and tools available in our society to advocate for change.
Liberal feminism witnessed several waves of changes that contributed in its development and its power throughout the history. The main thrust of liberal feminism is that an individual woman should be able to determine her social role with as great freedom as does a man. Feminism therefore has required removing the historic structure of patriarchal law that denied women’s civil rights.
The major emphasis of liberal feminism include:
- Equality of women before the law, in educational and professional opportunities
- Change in marriage laws, property rights
- Equal pay for equal work
- Protection from rape
- Wife battering in the home
- Liberation from all dehumanizing forces.
In short, it aims at bringing equality between women and men in the framework of the existing social systems.
2. RADICAL FEMINISM
Radical feminism is a philosophy emphasizing the patriarchal roots of inequality between men and women, or, more specifically, the social domination of women by men. Radical feminism views patriarchy as dividing societal rights, privileges, and power primarily along the lines of sex, and as a result, oppressing women and privileging men.
Radical feminism is a movement that believes sexism is so deeply rooted in society that the only cure is to eliminate the concept of gender. It started to emerge in the late 1960s by the famous leaders Ti-Grace Atkinson and Shulamith Firestone. It denies the liberal feminism claim that the lack of political or civil rights causes women’s oppression.
WHAT MAKES IT ‘RADICAL’?
Radical feminists tend to be more militant in their approach (radical as “getting to the root”) than other feminists. A radical feminist aims to dismantle patriarchy rather than making adjustments to the system through legal changes. Radical feminists also resist reducing oppression to an economic or class issue, as socialist or Marxist feminism sometimes did or does.
The reason this group gets the radical label is that they view the oppression of women as the most fundamental form of man’s domination, one that cuts across boundaries of race, culture, and economic class.
Radical feminism opposes patriarchy, not men. To equate radical feminism to man-hating is to assume that patriarchy and men are inseparable, philosophically and politically. (Although, Robin Morgan has defined “man-hating” as the right of the oppressed class to hate the class that is oppressing them.)
The major emphasis of radical feminism include:
A) ELIMINATION OF PATRIARCHY
It aims is to challenge and overthrow patriarchy by opposing standard gender roles and oppression of women and calls for a radical reordering of society.
They raise the demand for the destruction of patriarchy. They believe they should be a shift from struggle for role and legal reforms to the destruction of patriarchy. The chief institution of patriarchy is the family and the family promotes patriarchy in the society.
It is a perspective within feminism that focuses on the patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships based on the idea that male supremacy oppresses women.
B) BIOLOGICAL REVOLUTION
This group of feminists claims that the root of women’s oppression is biological. They believe that the physical subordination of women by men is the primary form of oppression and others are secondary.
Therefore, radical feminism believes that woman’s liberation requires a biological revolution. Radical feminism questions why women must adopt certain roles based on their biology, just as it questions why men adopt certain other roles based on gender.
They attempt to draw lines between biologically determined behavior and culturally determined behavior in order to free both men and women as much as possible from such gender roles.
Moreover, they believe that the whole system must be abolished even, its biological aspects. Radical feminism principles contains many interesting claims such as pregnancy and child birth in which they consider them as the most painful and unpleasant experiences that can person pass through.
They believe that the technology should be used to eliminate all kinds of pain particularly from the fundamental inequality of the bearing and rising of the children.
This must be the basic achievement because they believe that the heart of women’s oppression is their childbearing and childrearing roles.
Radical feminists believe that the male psychology or biology is the source of women’s oppression and pain. This is why they call for separation and the independence from men.
KEY ISSUES AND TACTICS
Central issues engaged by radical feminists include:
- Reproductive rights for women, including the freedom to make choices to give birth, have an abortion, use birth control, or get sterilized.
- Evaluating and then breaking down traditional gender roles in private relationships as well as in public policies
- Understanding pornography as an industry and practice leading to harm to women.
- Understanding rape as an expression of patriarchal power, not a seeking of sex
- Understanding prostitution under patriarchy as the oppression of women, sexually and economically.
- A critique of motherhood, marriage, the nuclear family, and sexuality, questioning how much of our culture is based on patriarchal assumptions.
- A critique of other institutions, including government and religion, as centered historically in patriarchal power
KEY RADICAL FEMINISTS
The following are some key radical feminist:
- Ti-Grace Atkinson
- Susan Brownmiller
- Mary Daly
- Andrea Dworkin
- Shulamith Firestone.
- Germaine Greer
- Jill Johnston
- Catharine MacKinnon
- Robin Morgan
- Kate Millett
RADICAL FEMINIST GROUP OF FEMINISM
These groups include:
TOOLS USED BY RADICAL FEMINIST GROUP OF FEMINISM
Tools used by radical women’s groups includes:
- Consciousness – raising groups
- Actively providing services
- Organizing public protests
- Putting on art and culture events.
- Women’s studies programs at universities are often supported by radical feminists.
QUOTES FROM RADICAL FEMINISTS
1. “All men hate some women some of the time and some men hate all women all of the time.” — Germaine Greer
2. “The fact is that we live in a profoundly anti-female society, a misogynistic ‘civilization’ in which men collectively victimize women, attacking us as personifications of their own paranoid fears, as The Enemy. Within this society it is men who rape, who sap women’s energy, who deny women economic and political power.” — Mary Daly
3. “I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them. — Robin Morgan
“In the long run, Women’s Liberation will of course free men—but in the short run it’s going to COST men a lot of privilege, which no one gives up willingly or easily.” — Robin Morgan
4. “Feminists are often asked whether pornography causes rape. The fact is that rape and prostitution caused and continue to cause pornography. Politically, culturally, socially, sexually, and economically, rape and prostitution generated pornography; and pornography depends for its continued existence on the rape and prostitution of women.” — Andrea Dworkin
5. Feminism is a theory, lesbianism is a practice.
I propose that the phenomenon of love is the psychological pivot in the persecution of women.
Love is the victim’s response to the rapist.
The institution of sexual intercourse is anti-feminist
Since the beginning of the Movement, lesbianism has been a kind of code word for female resistance.
6. We are unalterably opposed to the presentation of the female body being stripped, bound, raped, tortured, mutilated, and murdered in the name of commercial entertainment and free speech.
Pornography is the undiluted essence of anti-female propaganda.
Women are all female impersonators to some degree.
ALL men keep ALL women in a state of fear.
Who said that clothes make a statement? What an understatement that was. Clothes never shut up.
Women as a class have never subjugated another group; we have never marched off to wars of conquest in the name of the fatherland. We have never been involved in a decision to annex the territory of a neighboring country, or to fight for foreign markets on distant shores. These are the games men play, not us. We want to be neither oppressors nor oppressed. The women’s revolution is the final revolution of them all.
7. Romanticism is a cultural tool of male power to keep women from knowing their conditions.
Feminism, when it truly achieves its goals, will crack through the most basic structures of our society.
(Male) culture was (and is) parasitical, feeding on the emotional strength of women without reciprocity.
Men are thinking, writing, and creating, because women were pouring their energy into those men; women are not creating culture because they are occupied with love.
All men are selfish, brutal and inconsiderate–and I wish I could find one.
He has let her in not because he genuinely loved her, but only because she played so well into his preconceived fantasies.
8. Politically, I call it rape whenever a woman has sex and feels violated.
Feminism is built on believing women’s accounts of sexual use and abuse by men.
Women and men are divided by gender, made into the sexes as we know them, by the social requirements of heterosexuality, which institutionalizes male sexual dominance and female sexual submission.
Women are raped and coerced into sex.
Men, permitted to put words (and other things) in women’s mouths, create scenes in which women desperately want to be bound, battered, tortured, humiliated, and killed.
Empirically, all pornography is made under conditions of inequality based on sex, overwhelmingly by poor, desperate, homeless, pimped women who were sexually abused as children.
9. The complete destruction of traditional marriage and the nuclear family is the ‘revolutionary or utopian’ goal of feminism.
A sexual revolution begins with the emancipation of women, who are the chief victims of patriarchy, and also with the ending of homosexual oppression.
Many women do not recognize themselves as discriminated against; no better proof could be found of the totality of their conditioning.
The image of the woman as we know it is an image created by men and fashioned to suit their needs.
The concept of romantic love affords a means of emotional manipulation which the male is free to exploit, since love is the only circumstance in which the female is (ideologically) pardoned for sexual activity.
When one group rules another, the relationship between the two is political. When such an arrangement is carried out over a long period of time it develops an ideology (feudalism, racism, etc.). All historical civilizations are patriarchies: their ideology is male supremacy.
10. Passivity is the dragon every woman has to murder in her quest for independence.
Until all women are lesbians, there will be no true political revolution.
All women are lesbians except those who don’t know it.
3. SOCIALIST FEMINISM
The phrase “socialist feminism” was increasingly used during the 1970s to describe a mixed theoretical and practical approach to achieving women’s equality. Socialist feminist theory analyzed the connection between the oppression of women and other oppressions in society, such as racism and economic injustice.
Socialist feminism also known as Marxist feminism or Materialist feminism is an important movement of feminism. It calls for an end to capitalism through a socialist reformation of economy.
Socialist feminism argues that capitalism strengthens and supports the sexist status because men are the ones who currently have power and money. Those men are more willing to share their power and money with other man, which means that women have fewer opportunities and resources.
Therefore, they tried to eliminate the capitalist system and replace it with socialism, which collectively shares the wealth created by human labor.
Sexism benefits the capitalism, by providing a supply of cheap labor for industry.
They believe that most oppressions women suffer in capitalist society include low paid, low status or even no paid work.
THE SOCIALIST FEMINISM BASIS
The following are the basis of socialist feminist:
- Socialists had fought for decades to create a more equal society that did not exploit the poor and the powerless in the same ways that capitalism did.
- Like Marxism, socialist feminism recognized the oppressive structure of a capitalist society.
- Like radical feminism, socialist feminism recognized the fundamental oppression of women, particularly in a patriarchal society.
- Socialist feminists did not recognize gender and only gender as the exclusive basis of all oppression. Rather, they held and continue to hold that class and gender are symbiotic, at least to some degree, and one cannot be addressed without taking the other into consideration.
- Socialist feminists wanted to integrate the recognition of sex discrimination within their work to achieve justice and equality for women, for working classes, for the poor and all humanity.
- Socialist feminists reject the idea that liberation for women requires the abolition of childbirth. They seek to analyze the subordination of women as linked with other forms of oppression, and attempt to unite the fights for socialism with that for women’s liberation.
- Under the socialist conditions, Marxist feminism believes that the restoration of women to autonomy is possible. Having equal salary for both man and woman was in the top of Socialist feminists‟ aims and demands.
SOCIALIST FEMINIST GROUP OF FEMINISM
These groups include:
Thanks for reading my article on feminism next is PATRICK RESEARCH WORK ON FEMINISM 2 :THE CONCEPT OF FEMINISM: THE 4 WAVES OF FEMINISM
I will like to ask a simple question for my fellow readers and viewers.
1. What is your own views and contributions on this articles?
2. Are you aware of existence of feminist and the movement feminism in your area? If so, explain
3. What are your perceptions of girls/women who call themselves feminist?
4. Do these girls/women that you know enjoy been a feminist?
5. Does culture in any way contribute/support to feminist and feminism?
Please let me know all your reactions, views and insights in the comment box below!
Written by: Kogwuonye Patrick Onyeka
University of Benin
Credited to :
Women who fight depression, molestation and thrive to be self independent, and to all feminist.