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Liberal feminism, a white, racist bourgeois movement?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The roots and aims of feminism.
    1. The attitude of the western women towards feminism.
    2. The second wave of feminism of the 1960's
  3. The limitations of liberal feminism in its binary opposition.
  4. How liberal feminism can be considered as a rich, bourgeois, and elitist movement.
  5. How Marxist and socialist feminist complete and dismiss the liberal theory.
  6. Liberal feminism as a white and racist movement.
  7. The narrow-minded vision of liberal feminism as a source of oppression to women.
  8. Conclusion.
  9. Bibliography.

Women have always been considered as the ?weak sex', in opposition to the ?strong sex' represented by men. Hence, they have always suffered from being oppressed and subordinated to men. Yet in order to be no longer discriminated against a condition which they did not chose, women managed to develop a social movement which aim is to stand up against all the inequalities they faced. Such an initiative was very challenging since society had the false belief that women were by nature less intellectually capable than men. Thus, feminism can be defined as a social movement dedicated to ending subordination of woman. However, it is a broad term which can be regarded and understood in function of different philosophies. ?Liberal feminism' is one of the first mainstreams. Its initial aim was to liberate women from their limited housewife life. This movement focuses on rational arguments to educate the public and emphasizes the irrationality of discrimination.

[...] Tong, Liberal Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile (translated by Barbara. Foxley) (London: Dent, 1957), p.322. Bryson, Theory, 24-25. Margaret Walters, Feminism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p.32. Tong, Liberal Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (New York: Dell, 1974), p.330. Pateman, Disorder, 197-198. Pateman, Destabilizing Tong Liberal, 198-199. Ibid., 35-36. Toril Moi, Sex, Gender and the Body: the Student Edition of What is a Woman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p.4. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972), p.284. [...]


[...] But when they could be exploited, punished and repressed in a sexual way, they were locked into their exclusively female role.[31] Similarly, we can dismiss the effects of liberal feminism by looking at its understanding of the relationship between women and religion. Liberal feminism was a movement developed by white Christian women, and therefore they did not help, or even try to understand women from other religions. Elizabeth Stanton, a liberal feminist which shifted from being liberal to radical sought to overcome this limitation in the Women's Bible. [...]


[...] Liberal feminists seem to be blocked in a duality between men and women or male and female. We can see a paradox here: on the one hand, feminists argue that women should be recognized for their own specific talents and capacities, but in order to be men's equal, they have to get rid of those particularities and try to behave like a man, or like an androgynous.[10] Liberal feminism's aim is to go over binary combinations which handicap women. These binary combinations can be men/women, male/female, nature/culture, personal/political, morality/power Thus, women will be associated with concepts such as nature, personal, emotional, love, private, morality or particular subjection, whereas men with culture, political, reason, justice, public, power or freedom.[11] Moreover, as analysed by Jacques Derida, the paired term in the binary combination are not of equal value and one side is usually more valuable than the other. [...]

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