What Is Feminism? Essay

2570 words - 10 pages

There are many different interpretations of the word 'feminism'. However, most people agree that feminism is the theory that men and women should be equal politically, economically and socially. The feminist movement is a group of men and women who believe in feminism and are trying to eliminate the inequality between men and women.Feminism, as it was first known, has almost died out completely. Feminist groups today are integrating many more issues into feminism. This seems to be a good thing at first. However, it is driving women away from feminism and many women are insulted or embarrassed to be called feminists because of the negative connotation feminism has adopted.There are many different types of feminism. The theory that there are fundamental personality differences between men and women, and that women's differences are special and should be celebrated is called cultural feminism. This theory of feminism supports the notion that there are biological differences between men and women, for example, 'women are kinder and more gentle then men', leading to the mentality that if women ruled the world there would be no wars.Cultural feminism is the theory that wants to overcome sexism by celebrating women's special qualities, women's ways, and women's experiences, often believing that the 'woman's way' is the better way.Another type, individualist feminism, is based upon individualist or libertarian (minimum government or anarchocapitalist) philosophies. The primary focus is individual autonomy, rights, liberty, independence and diversity. Moderate feminism is a branch of feminism that tends to be populated mostly by younger women or women who have not directly experienced discrimination.They tend to question the need for further effort, and do not think that radical feminism is any longer viable and in fact rather embarrassing. Radical feminism is the breeding ground for many of the ideas arising from feminism. This type of feminism was the cutting edge of feminist theory from approximately 1967-1975. It is no longer as universally accepted as it was then and no longer serves to solely define the term, 'feminism'. This group views the oppression of women as the most fundamental form of oppression, one that cuts across boundaries of race, culture, and economic class. This is a movement intent on social change, change of rather revolutionary proportions, in fact. 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 theirs (Colleen's Feminist Home page).Feminism is not a very old concept. For most of history women have been viewed as the lesser sex and did not argue this point. However, there have been some very powerful and influential women in history. Cleopatra the powerful but, ill-fated queen of Egypt (51-30 BC) came to rule with her brother at age 17 and alone at age 20. Another female ruler, Elizabeth I was the most successful monarch ever to...

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