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Hillary Craig
Pols 2300-400
Political Ideologies


Feminism is more than a nude selfie, or Lena Dunham doing something explicit on her
HBO series Girls. . It is more than this shock and awe. Feminism is about redefining the
political (Heywood, 230, 2014), and redefining the political process. Kate Millett defined these
political structures as power-structured relationships, arrangements, whereby one group of
persons is controlled by another (Heywood, 230, 2014). Feminism aims to redefine these
relationships to the point where each person is thought as an equal, not a sex or race.
Going back to Kate Milletts definition, these political structures are defined as a power
structured relationship. Patriarchy is deemed an integral reason why there is such inequality
between sexes by feminist belief (Heywood, 231, 2014). Patriarchy means rule by the father
(Heywood, 231, 2014). Feminism characterizes that there is a patriarchy is, therefore, a
hierarchic society, characterized by both sexual and generational oppression. (Heywood, 232,
2014). This belief that all woman and younger men, (until a certain age) are ruled from birth by
the will of the father figure of a family. This patriarchy in the private setting then seeps out into
the public sphere, the best example being the inequality in the workplace. This inequality today
is shown by the wage gap between white men over women, but also, more importantly, the wage
gap between white men over all minorities (Heywood, 232, 2014).
There is an overall sense of inequality of sex and gender when discussing feminism.
There is a belief from an anti-feminist view, that this inequality is natural and biological, that
biologically, women were physically designed to be in their implied social roles (Heywood, 233,
2014). Though throughout feminist thought this idea of sex and gender goes beyond implied
social and biological roles (Heywood, 233-234, 2014), with some strains of feminism believe
that sex and gender shouldnt even be considered when determining a social status of a human,


this strain of feminism believes that men and women should be equal on the field and be only
regarded as individual humans, nothing more or less (Heywood, 234, 2014). Though on the
other hand, some feminist thought places extreme influence on owning womanhood, that women
should be proud, and should be regarded as a woman, not just a human. Then placing an extreme
emphasis on the biological nature of women. We see this cultural feminism (Heywood, 236,
2014) quite often in todays culture, again with the woman using media, mainly social media, to
post empowering pictures to show they are proud to be a woman.
This inequality between men and woman is the one thing most feminists can agree on.
The idea that we should be equal is greatly echoed throughout the main strands of feminism,
liberal, socialist, and radical. (Heywood, 237, 2014). These feminist ideologies, all have their
own differences. Liberal feminism can be defined as the main wave (Heywood, 237, 2014) of
the feminist movement. This feminist movement is characterized by not only the idea that all
humans are individuals and important, but also attempts to break down the social barriers that
restrict women from political and career-related discrimination by gaining representation as a
gender in important political and social roles (Heywood, 239, 2014).
Socialist feminism places emphasis on patriarchy and how in order for equality to be
achieved we must erase the gender inequality caused by the patriarchy in economic institutions.
They placed emphasis on the idea that the inequality of sexes is rooted in the social and
economic structure (Heywood, 240, 2014).
Radical feminism is based on the belief that sexual oppression is the most fundamental
feature of society, and that all other forms of injustice come second to sexual oppression
(Heywood, 243, 2014). This radical feminism takes on the position of pro-women, accepting the
idea that men and women are different and that women are a more superior gender, due to the


capacity of women to love and care (Heywood, 243, 2014). Radical feminism also takes the
stance that heterosexual women are incapable of realizing their full potential as a woman,
because of the influence of men in their life (Heywood, 246, 2014).
Feminism connects with all the core beliefs of liberalism, with feminism seeking to
empower the individual and gain the freedom of thought and belief. Feminism also parallels the
liberalist view on reasoning and moving away from patriarchy. Feminists believe in justice,
which would give females what they are owed and they also believe in tolerance of all humans
no matter their race, gender, or ability (Heywood, 27, 2014). In some ways, one could argue that
feminism is just an offshoot of liberalism, with the core theme being woman gaining their own
freedom to be without a political or social inequality.
Feminism is a political belief that has been a core aspect of female culture for many years
now, especially with the media attention and the many women influenced self-love campaigns
you see today, ie refinery29s take back the beach campaign or Kim Kardashian's nude selfies. In
the past, it could be said that only women could be feminist, but today society is trying to change
that thought, with men identifying as a feminist because they too believe in the equality of
individuals. This has caused it to be one of the most influential political movements of today,
with woman and men of all races and social standings coming together to focus on the equality
of all.



Heywood, Andrew. Political Ideologies - An Introduction. 5th ed. Houndmills, Basingstoke,

Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Print.