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As an instrument of social transformation, feminism has many ramifications depending on the ultimate goal or the means used towards women's emancipation. This article aims to explore the ten types of feminism present in modern society.
Historically speaking, the powers that be have categorized women as second-hand citizens for centuries. Noblemen, clergymen, and even great philosophers have reckoned that women, as a law of nature or often God's will, should not benefit from the right of citizenship. As humankind has evolved, it has become apparent that women's rights had been severely infringed upon.
We will have a brief look at the history of the feminist movement and ideology throughout the decades.
The first period of feminist activity took place during the 19th and 20th century, and its biggest claim was equality between men and women as well as women's suffrage and property rights. This feminist movement, however, did not perceive the inequalities as fundamental problems in society but more as attacks on women's individuality.
The second wave of feminism emerged almost a century later, between the 1960s and the 1990s (while the world was busy fighting world wars). The movement expanded and diversified, and due to the postmodern philosophical concepts it adopted, new subcurrents of feminism came to life, mainly equality and difference feminism which we will explore further on in the article.
We are currently experiencing the third wave of feminism which started at the end of the 90s and keeps going strong to this day. The movement fights for the recognition of different gender and sexual identities which gave way to trans feminism. According to the third wave ideology, the notion that the Caucasian heterosexual woman represents the paradigm of feminism is being challenged, and a new all-inclusive concept is being introduced - diversity as one of the pillars of evolution.
The feminist ideology has many subdivisions, and in the following list, we will examine the five main ones along with the five secondary types of feminism.
We will examine the five most influential feminist movements in modern society, based on their strategies and objectives.
The oldest type of feminism, it states that both men and women are, in essence, human beings and therefore share a common pool of androgynous qualities, such as the use of ration or reason. This type of feminism supports the idea of gender inequalities and accepts positive discrimination. For example, equality feminism could align itself with a decision to hire a minimum number of female teachers in an educational center.
Difference feminism is, on the other hand, far removed from the Equality movement. This type of ideology does not look at gender inequalities or men's status quo in society but more at the development of feminism as a social movement and defending the feminine values over the masculine ones.
This ideology has received a lot of criticism, including from within the feminist circles, due to the fact that it supports the social movement in itself and not women as individuals.
Trans Feminism developed during the third wave of feminism, and it's intended as a critique toward traditional binarism. In simple terms, the premise is that gender does not classify as male and female only, but that it comprises over 31 different types of sexuality ranging from transgender to bigender, and pangender, among others.
Feminism was built on the notion that we must recognize and accept all social minorities that have been discriminated against. The line between victim and perpetrator is blurred, so the primary objective here is the sexual liberation of every individual and breaking down artificially created biological barriers.
The theory behind this feminist movement suggests that biology and nature are used by patriarchy to exert power over women. Ecofeminists assure that women are in the ideal position to mitigate the effects of this subjugation seeing how their oppressed condition brings them closer to nature.
In essence, ecofeminism asserts that ecologism and feminism pursue a common goal and therefore should work together to end patriarchy.
Author Kate Millet offers an insightful glimpse into radical feminism through her 1970 novel "Sexual Politics." Millet introduces the idea that women have been rated as inferior beings since the beginning of time and confined to the reductive role of producers while men were the ones truly enjoying liberal values.
Radical feminism states that the origin of patriarchy can be traced back to institutions and not capitalism. It also advocates that lesbianism is the only way that women can lead a successful sexual life, and therefore vehemently rejects prostitution and pornography, which are seen as oppressive tools in women's exploitation.
The last five entries correspond to secondary feminist movements that occurred during modern and contemporary history.
Strongly influenced by Marxism, this type of feminist movement suggests that capitalism and classism are responsible for enabling men to form a patriarchal society. Socialist Feminism supports the instauration of a socialist system that ensures an egalitarian society.
If we're discussing the absence of civil rights, then both the state and patriarchy need to be obliviated from our collective memories. This feminist movement is non-dogmatic and thus open to various interpretations.
Considering that we're already fundamentally different, this ideology defends the segregation of men and women in society and states that any union between individuals will be detrimental to the woman. The suggested solution is emotional and financial emancipation.
A new feminist movement that is gaining popularity. It indicates that the history of philosophy and the many theories developed along the time reflect and perpetuate bias against women and should, therefore, be revised.
Another relatively new concept that connects feminism to cyberspace. The premise of this movement is that women have to make use of new technology in order to reach social equality.