The notion of feminism comprises movements and theories disclosing the issues of women equality, gender differences and supporting female interests and rights. The question of feminism takes a special place in some countries because of the problems of gender inequality. The theories devoted to the feminists’ vision of the problem are differentiated in accordance with the principles they are based on.
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The representatives of different theories perceived the role of women in their own way and focused on peculiar systems of gender interrelations. Radical feminism is concentrated on such a system of power as patriarchy which proclaims male supremacy. The patriarchal system considered men to be dominant and powerful in society. The basic principle of the representatives of radical theories and movements is a rapid general reordering of society. The form of women oppression was central in the theories of radical feminists. Their forms of women oppression were closely connected with social and race discrimination, gender inequality and sexuality. They consider that women sexuality is controlled by men, to be more exact they almost reject female sexuality and believe it to be an exclusively male feature. But female sexuality was also slightly recognized though it was controlled by men. At the beginning of the XX century, radical feminists called for a reduction in the period of time when women could be sexually attractive, thus “controlling” the process of their body development and showing their strong power. One more method used by them was to deprive all the women of the information which concerns sexuality in general. In modern theories, the relationship between sexuality and sex has changed only slightly. Radical feminists consider that if a woman assets to have sex, heterosexual sex could not be permitted because the decision she made was influenced by the male-oriented environment where she was brought up. Such a position in society resulted in complete support and rejection of pornography by representatives of different feminist types. They continue to proclaim male power and their ability to control the role of the woman in society.
An opposite view on the problem and perception of women is presented by the representatives of the main movement of feminism – liberal feminists. These feminists advocate the equal social and political position of men and women. Their theories are based on the female abilities to make choices and control one’s actions without any interference. Liberal feminists also strive to reorder society, but they wish to make it gender-equitable. They treat men and women equally and view sexuality as an individual feature of every person that should not be controlled by men. The liberal feminists accept all modern forms of women sexuality and put no restrictions on it. They support the view that women are free to choose the partner to have sex with and their choice is completely liberal. The representatives of liberal feminism perceive all kinds of sexual orientation to be equal and pornography is viewed as sexually liberating.
The modern status of women in society is not restricted by certain rules and obligations; the methods of women oppression remained in the past, though there are representatives of radical feminism who still believe in the existence of gender inequality and possible reorganization of the society into the male-oriented. The attitude towards pornography and eroticism of the modern feminism movements is quite liberal and devoid of any limitations. Sex discrimination and the problem of gender differences are not faced by modern society.
Gwyn, Kirk & Margo, Okazawa-Rey. Women’s Lives: Multicultural Perspectives. 4th edition, 2006.