to what extent is feminism a single doctrine? Essay example

1894 Words May 10th, 2014 8 Pages
To what extent is feminism a single doctrine? Until the 1960s, feminism was widely regarded as a sub-set of liberalism and socialism, rather than as an ideology in its own right. Today, however, feminism can be considered a single doctrine in that all feminists subscribe to a range of ‘common ground’ beliefs, such as the existence of a patriarchal society, and the desire to change gender inequalities. Then again, it can be argued that feminism is characterised more by disagreement than consensus, as three broad traditions: liberal feminism, Marxist or socialist feminism, and radical feminism, which often contain rival tendencies, are encompassed within each core feminist theme. This essay will argue that, despite tensions between its …show more content…
Radical feminists have most enthusiastically put forward the view that the divide should be broken down, asserting that ‘the personal is political’. Female oppression is present in all walks of life and much of it originates from within the family, which has led radical feminists to analyse what is referred to as ‘the politics of everyday life’. This includes the process of conditioning within the family, the distribution of domestic responsibilities, and personal and sexual conduct. This could be solved through an increase in ‘symmetrical families’, wherein roles and responsibilities are shared equally between the husband and wife. However, for some radical feminists, a true breakdown of the public/private divide would imply a transfer of the responsibilities of private life to the state, for example the burden of child-rearing could be relieved by welfare support for families or the provision of crèches at work. For radical feminists, therefore, a redefinition of the ‘political’ would likely imply severe social change, as the concept of the family which is widely held today would need to be reformed. Socialist feminists have also claimed that that the private sphere is political, however, once again, from an economic perspective. They believe that the confinement of women to the domestic sphere serves the economic interests of capitalism, and some have argued that women constitute a ‘reserve army of labour’, which can be recruited into the workforce when an

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