Branches of feminism are the variety of movements and theories of feminist ideology that have developed over the course of the history. Even though the approaches are different, the core remains the same for all.
Throughout history, women have been fighting for their rights, equality, and respect. For many centuries this has been a difficult task because of patriarchy, an ideology in which men are superior to women.
Generally speaking, the main idea of feminism is that men and women deserve equality in all opportunities and treatment. Indeed, feminists are people who try to acknowledge social inequality based on gender and prevent its continuous nature.
One of the main standpoints of feminists is that as the history shows in most cultures men have received more opportunities than women. Feminism includes a number of egalitarian, cultural, social and political theories, movements, and philosophies regarding equal rights and gender inequalities. These are all branches of feminism.
So, if you are interested to learn some interesting things about feminist theory, just keep on reading.
Exploring Different Branches of Feminism
What are the main misconceptions about feminism?
Feminism is the belief that men and women deserve the same equality in all opportunities and social rights. Even though this basic idea of feminism seems quite simple, there are many people who have misconceptions about the goal of feminism.
Some misunderstandings about feminism include: only women can be feminists, feminism is the fight for power and matriarchy and many others.
Some people imagine that all feminists are angry and bitter women, whose only aim is to subjugate men. Certainly, these stereotypes offend feminists as the goal of feminism is not to discriminate against men, discourage them and pull all men out of power.
One thing that must be clear is that feminism is for everyone. But why is there such a huge difference between stereotypes and reality when it comes to feminism? Probably, one of the main reasons for this contradiction is because there are different, specific types of feminism.
Feminism is the doctrine that advocates social, political and all other rights for women that are equal to those of men. But after all, what does feminist theory mean?
It is an extension of feminism into a philosophical/theoretical sphere that aims to understand gender inequality and focuses on the promotion of women’s rights and interests. But now let’s talk about each feminist theory separately and find out its peculiarities.
Branches of feminism| Radical feminism
According to the radical feminism, sexism is so deeply rooted in the mentality of the society that the only cure is to eliminate the concept of gender entirely. This type of feminism is the most extreme one.
It suggests dramatic changes, such as finding some kind of technology that will allow babies to be born outside of a woman’s body so that there will be more equality between men and women. This will enable women not to miss career opportunities for maternity leave. By the way, maternity leave for radical feminists is one of the main reasons why women aren’t promoted as quickly as men.
Eventually, radical feminists argue that the traditional family system is sexist.
Branches of feminism | Socialist feminism
The next type of feminism, called socialist feminism, is a little bit less extreme but still calls for major social changes.
Socialist feminism is a movement that argues that capitalism strengthens gender inequality and the sexist status quo as men are the ones who have power and money that keeps women under the control of men.
They argue that in the United States women are paid only $0.70 for the exact same job that a man would be paid a dollar for. So basically, socialist feminism concentrates on economics and politics.
Branches of feminism | Cultural feminism
The following one, namely, cultural feminism is a movement that points out how nowadays society is hurt by encouraging masculine (such as aggressive and competitive) behavior, instead of encouraging the feminine behavior.
This movement took the place of radical feminism and because of that cultural feminism has many similarities with radical feminism. Nevertheless, this one is focused on building a women’s culture such as crisis centers and shelters.
Branches of feminism | Liberal feminism
Liberal feminism, aka individualistic feminism, is a movement that promotes the idea that all individuals should be free to explore equal opportunities and rights. Those feminists believe that society holds the wrong conception that women are, by nature, less intellectually and physically powerful than men.
Liberal feminists argue that complete gender equality can be reached through social, political and legal shifts. They believe that the slogan “a woman’s body, a woman’s right” should extend to every choice a woman can make.
Branches of feminism | Islamic feminism
There is also a form of feminism concerned with the roles and obstacles of women in Islam- Islamic feminism. Its main goal is the full equality of all Muslims, regardless of gender in all aspects.
Advocates of this movement seek to highlight the deeply rooted aspects of equality in the religion. They also encourage to question the patriarchal interpretation of Islamic teaching for the creation of justice and equality.
Branches of feminism | Anarcha-Feminism
Anarcha-Feminism, also popular as anarchist feminism, is a branch of radical feminism. It combines both feminist and anarchist ideologies where patriarchy is viewed as a manifestation of hierarchy.
So, the fight against patriarchy is an essential part of the anarchist struggle and class struggle.
Branches of feminism | Black Feminism
Black Feminism, also known as Womanism, believes that sexism, class oppression and racism are linked to each other.
Womanists argue that black women experience more intense kind of discrimination and oppression than that experienced by white women.
Branches of feminism | Eco-Feminism
Eco-Feminism is the mixture of feminism and ecology, arguing that the domination of women occurs from the same patriarchal ideologies that cause the destruction of the environment.
This branch of feminism is more spiritual than theoretical or political in nature. It promotes the idea that there is a special bond between women and nature that comes from their shared history of oppression by a patriarchal society.
Branches of feminism | French Feminism
French Feminism, also popular as Post-Structural Feminism, is more philosophical feminist theory than pragmatic compared to the other branches.
The basis of this movement is Simone de Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex”. According to the ideology of this branch, there is a feminist existentialism that focuses on the concept of woman as the quintessential other, which de Beauvoir identified as radical to women’s oppression.
Branches of feminism | Separatist and Christian Feminism
There are some other types of feminist theories and one of them is separatist feminism. A form of Radical feminism, separatist feminism argues that the sexual inequalities between men and women are not resolvable as men cannot make positive contributions to the feminist movement. Furthermore, even well-intentioned men imitate patriarchal dynamics.
Christian Feminism is another feminist theory that tries to interpret Christianity with an ideal of equality for men and women, that has been greatly ignored historically.
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