Regarding the important issues in the feminism, it is necessary to refer to the term of socialist feminism, to examine the issues of the dualistic typification, beauty ideals and the beauty industry in the context of the feminism. It is also important to suggest some solutions and criteria in order to stabilize newly appeared tense situation around these issues in the modern society.
It is a derivation of feminism that mainly focuses upon certain spheres of life of a woman: the public and private one. Socialist feminism also argues that liberation itself can be achieved only by “working to end both the economic and cultural sources of women’s oppression” (Olsen, 1997).
It might be said that socialist feminism is a dualistic typification theory that extend Marxist feminism’s reasons for the role of capitalism in the women’s harassment and oppression and radical theory of the feminism in the issues of the gender’s and the patriarchy’s role. Here might be also regarded such issues that led to the concept of “women or feminine” against “men or masculine”.
Some of the contributors to this movement have criticized common traditional Marxism for not being able to find an inseparable connection between the issues of “patriarchy” and “classism”. It is important to point out that Marx and Engels were actually basically silent on gender harassment and oppression except that they subsumed it beneath wider class harassment and oppression.
Marx knew that when oppression connected with the class issue was outdo, gender harassment and oppression would disappear as well. According to socialist feminists, “this view of gender oppression as a sub – class of class oppression is naive and much of the work of socialist feminists has gone toward separating gender phenomena from class phenomena” (Meehan, 2002).
Other socialist feminists, for example such famous American organizations as: “Radical Women” and also “the Freedom Socialist Party, refer to the common classical works of Marx and of Engels, such as “Private Property and the State” and “Origin of the Family”.
Also they refer to “Woman and Socialism” by writer August Bebel. These socialist feminists consider those works a strong explanation of the connection between gender harassment and oppression and the issue of class exploitation.
But from the other point of view the Socialist Party of the United States is a bright example of party of a socialist feminist which is actually not definitely Marxist one, although there are certain members that identify themselves as Marxists. This party has its own statement of principles which says: “Socialist feminism confronts the common root of sexism, racism and classism: the determination of a life of oppression or privilege based on accidents of birth or circumstances. Socialist feminism is an inclusive way of creating social change. We value synthesis and cooperation rather than conflict and competition” (Ramazanoglu, 2000).
In this context it is necessary to mention the beauty ideals and the beauty industry. Despite achievements made since the time of rise of the movement hold by women, the pressure on females today related to beauty ideals and standards may appear even wider than it was thirty years ago.
It must be outlined that the standards and requirements are not just more hard and difficult to meet, but it should be said that the targets for this kind of pressure are much younger nowadays. It might be regarded as a means of that the beauty industry has explored the profit and benefits to be made from the young girls called “tweens”, who are just about entering their teenage age.
Following these facts it should be said that the wider availability and circulation of mass media services actually means that the effect and influence of beauty ideals has belled in a geographical as well as in across – classes’ way.
Thus appears a question about the issues that should be done by the feminists in order to improve and stabilize situation. Nowadays they hold campaigns (Such as “Dove” commercial campaign) aimed to challenge unrealistic and not true images of women in advertising industry. Such campaigns encourage our society to look for a wider definition of what is called “beauty”. It is also aimed to inspire women to enjoy and to be proud of themselves.
Johnston, Carolyn. Sexual Power: Feminism and the Family in America. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1992.
Meehan, Eileen R., and Ellen Riordan, eds. Sex & Money: Feminism and Political Economy in the Media. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.
Olsen, Frances Elisabeth. “Feminism in Central and Eastern Europe: Risks and Possibilities of American Engagement.” Yale Law Journal 106.7 (1997): 2215-2257.
Ramazanoglu, Caroline. Feminism and the Contradictions of Oppression. London: Routledge, 2000.