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Author: Paul Hannan

Identify theĀ general principles and different factions of feminism.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain Female Symbol; Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to this episode of Sociology-- Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on feminism. As always, don't be afraid to pause, stop, rewind, or even fast forward to make sure get the most out of this tutorial.

So I'm sure you've heard of feminism before. And I know I've spoken about feminism before. Well, today we finally get a chance to delve into and explore what feminism really means.

Now, the definition of feminism is just the advocacy for equal rights between men and women. But that can mean a lot of different things. So we're going to look at what it can mean and how it can be applied to different types of feminists.

So in general, though, whatever type of feminist you are, you ascribe, you believe in these five general principles of feminism. And those are working to increase equality. So feminists are actively working. They're part of the political process. They're working in their lives, at their jobs, to make life more equal between the two sexes.

They also want to expand human choice. Often our society gets divided between roles that are for males and roles that are for females. Feminism wants to let people choose what they want to be, both males and females not be really constrained by these traditional ideas of males and females. And some of that ties into what type of jobs you can have. It has to tie also, just like emotional traits. It's much more acceptable for a female to be emotional. But it's not acceptable for a male to be emotional.

Often a female is super-to-the-point and logical. She might be called some derogatory names. But a male would not be called those things. So feminists want to let people be what they want to be and expand human choice, and not have judgments on those choices.

They also want to eliminate gender stratification. So this works similar with that first point about working to increase equality. Feminists are actively seeking to eliminate this gender stratification.

So they like things that eliminate the stratification. And they dislike things that limit females' ability to get an education, or to have a good job, or make enough money, or as much money as males. And they support things like, I don't know, the Equal Rights Amendment, which is really helping feminists-- well, helping women and feminists support it-- have an equal playing field with men.

The fourth thing that feminists are really looking to do is end sexual violence. You're much, much more likely to be a victim of sexual violence if you're a female. And feminists argue that this sexual violence against females acts as a way which society keeps females down. So they are actively working to eliminate sexual violence.

The last thing that feminists are looking to do in general is promote sexual freedom. They want women to be able to control their own bodies and be able to reproduce, either for children or just sexually, as they want to. They don't want a man, or the government, or someone else telling people-- telling women what to do with their bodies.

So I'm going to go through three major types of feminism. And as we go here, we're going to start with feminists that are pretty close and accepted in society. And then the next two are going to get further and further away from the center of society.

So the first we're looking at is liberal feminism. Now, for me, I always think of liberal feminism as what your typical feminist is. Maybe it's not 100% true. But I know for me it works because liberal feminists really accept the way society generally works. And they're working for change within it.

So those five principles that I mentioned before, they're trying to reach those principles by working within society. And liberal feminists really think that change will happen in society based on individuals working. So your work as a woman in a job, who's actively pursuing equality and trying to eliminate gender stratification, and you're voting ways that support these things, that's how change is going to happen, by a bunch of individuals.

And part of this idea with liberal feminism is that it says that society should allow for individual pursuits. And so they're not trying to force everyone to do something or to not do something. They really think that all these individuals together can kind of push this ball, and roll this change, and make the genders equal, which is what feminism is fighting for.

Now, the second take of feminism we're looking at is socialist feminism. Now, socialist feminism is really closely tied into a critique of capitalism and the work of Karl Marx. What social feminism is saying is they still want those five basic principles of feminism. But they see that capitalism is a major problem within the system and is one of the-- not one of the-- is the major reason why women are being kept down.

So they really see the problem being not just that the genders are unequal, but that capitalism makes the genders unequal. And that happens in the workplace. And that happens with the structure of the family.

So what do social feminists think? How do they think this is going to change? Well, you know what, they actually say we need to have a revolution. That idea of just, oh, individuals working within the system, socialist feminists don't believe in that.

They think that capitalism is so entrenched in society. And as a part of that capitalism, there's all these gender biases ingrained within them, that a revolution needs to happen. It needs to totally change. And specifically when they're saying a change here, they think that we need to change our economic system so that there is much more economical freedom. And with that economical freedom, and kind of being unshackled from the constraints of capitalism, that is what's going to allow women and men to be actually equal.

Now, the last group is the radical feminists. These are the most extreme of the three that we looked at. And at their core, they believe in the five principles that the other two groups of feminists did. But where they differ is that they think that this male-centered society is so much a part of everyday life. And that is not just because of capitalism or these other reasons. A lot of it has to do with the actual sexual gender and the way that the sexes work differently. And that women have to carry a baby for nine months and men don't.

And so radical feminists say that liberal feminists, that idea of us all working individually, that's not going to change it. And socialist feminists, that revolution, that's not going to be enough either. No, the way to really get equality between the sexes is to separate sex from males and females.

And I know that sounds radical. And it is. They're trying to find a way to actually use new technology to separate the process of having children from a woman's body. And they really believe that this change in this way that childbearing happens will totally flip everything on its head and say that some of those things that traditionally get tied to women, like motherhood-- and well, the general family structure-- well, those are really holding women back. And so that's why this radical change needs to happen.

So today's take-away message. First, we looked at the five principles of feminism. And then we looked at three major types of feminism. And the three major types are liberal feminism. So these are-- sorry, I'm going in the order that we talked about in class-- in the video today, not in the order on your screen there.

So we talked first about liberal feminism. And these people are working within the system and trying to find equality through individual pursuits. Then we learned about socialist feminism. And they think that the struggle for equality really is centered around the structure of capitalism. And so they want to have a revolution that gets rid of capitalism. And that will help and change the way society is. So the two sexes can be equal.

And then we learn about radical feminism, which is that really extreme form, that really wants to take apart the idea of gender and childbearing from the sexes. And so use some sort of technology. And they believe that's the only way that the sexes are going to be equal.

Well, that's it for this lesson. Good work. And hopefully you'll be seeing me on your screen again soon. Peace.

Terms to Know
Liberal Feminism

Argues that women are able to show their equality with men through individual pursuits. The basic inequalities between men and women, according to liberal feminists, are thought to be found in the divide between public and private.

Radical Feminism

A fringe form of feminist theory that argues that patriarchy is so entrenched that the socially constructed category of "gender" needs to be eliminated entirely by separating reproduction from women's bodies.

Socialist Feminism

The branch of feminist theory that argues that the inequality and exploitation of women is inextricably linked with the system of capitalist production (i.e. capitalism structures inequality).