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28.12 Radical Feminism:




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This article is from the Feminism References FAQ, by Cindy Tittle Moore tittle@netcom.com with numerous contributions by others.

28.12 Radical Feminism:

Provides the bulwark of theoretical thought in feminism. Radical
feminism provides an important foundation for the rest of
"feminist flavors". Seen by many as the "undesireable" element of
feminism, Radical feminism is actually the breeding ground for
many of the ideas arising from feminism; ideas which get shaped
and pounded out in various ways by other (but not all) branches of
feminism. [CTM]

Radical feminism was the cutting edge of feminist theory from
approximately 1967-1975. It is no longer as universally accepted
as it was then, nor does it provide a foundation for, for example,
cultural feminism. In addition, radical feminism is not and never
has been related to the Maoist-feminist group Radical Women. [EE]

This term refers to the feminist movement that sprung out of the
civil rights and peace movements in 1967-1968. The reason this
group gets the "radical" label is that they view the oppression of
women as the most fundamental form of opression, 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. [JD]

Ironically, this get-to-the-roots movement is the most root-less
variety of feminism. This was part of its strength and part of
its weakness. It was always dynamic, always dealing with
factions, and always full of ideas. Its influence has been felt
in all the other varieties listed here, as well as in society at
large. [JD]

To me, radical feminism is centred on the necessity to question
gender roles. This is why I identify current "gender politics"
questions as radical feminist issues. 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.
Radical feminism attempts to draw lines between biologically-
determined behavior and culturally-determined behavior in order
to free both men and women as much as possible from their previous
narrow gender roles. [EE]

The best history of this movement is a book called _Daring to
be Bad_, by Echols. I consider that book a must! [JD] Another
excellent book is simply titled _Radical Feminism_ and is an
anthology edited by Anne Koedt, a well-known radical feminist
[EE].

Radical feminist theory is to a large extent incompatible with
cultural feminism. The reason is that the societal forces it
deals with seem so great in magnitude that they make it impossible
to identify any innate masculine or feminine attributes except
those which are results of the biological attributes. (This is
what I think the [above] "view[s] the oppression of women as the
most fundamental form of oppression," [is getting at] although I
don't agree with that statement in its context.) [DdJ]

 

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