Radical feminism

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Radical feminism is a type of feminism. Radical feminists are sometimes called 'radfems'. Famous radical feminists include Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Valerie Solanas, and Alice Walker. Radical feminists say that society is a patriarchy. In patriarchy, men have more social power than women. They harm women by oppressing them. Liberal feminists want to be equal to men. Radical feminists do not want equality within the patriarchy. Radical feminists want to get rid of patriarchy. This is so that women will not be oppressed. This is different to Marxist feminists, who think that women's oppression is caused by class conflict, not patriarchy. Radical feminism says that pornography, sex work, BDSM, and gender roles should not exist, because they are part of the patriarchy.


History[change | change source]

In 1967 a group called New York Radical Women was started by Carol Hanisch, Shulamith Firestone and Robin Morgan. They were a group of friends who were unhappy with civil rights and antiwar groups that were led by men.

In September 1968 they did a protest at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. They put symbols of female oppression including bras, copies of Playboy magazine, and girdles in a trash can.

In 1969 New York Radical Women broke up. A new radical feminist group called Redstockings was started in 1969 by Ellen Willis and Shulamith Firestone.

In the 1980s the Feminist Sex Wars happened. The Feminist Sex Wars were fights between radical feminists who said that porn, sex work, and BDSM are bad, and sex positive liberal feminists, who said that those things can be feminist. Radical feminism is associated with the second wave of feminism. This ended in the 1990s. Since then radical feminism has been less popular. The third wave of feminism is liberal. Some of the women who started radical feminism have died. However, radical feminism still has influence. In 2012 a book by Julia Long, Anti-Porn: The Resurgence of Anti-Pornography Feminism was published.

Criticism[change | change source]

Many people dislike radical feminism a lot. One of the reasons people do not like radical feminism is because of the transphobia of radical feminists. In 1979 The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male, a book by a radical feminist called Janice Raymond, was published. In the book Raymond said that trans women all "rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves."[1] Transphobic radical feminists are known as TERFS (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists).[2] The RadFem2012 conference would not let in transgender women.[3] Radical feminists may call themselves 'transcritical'.

Another reason people do not like radical feminism is that radical feminists are "man-haters". In 1967 Valerie Solanas wrote the SCUM Manifesto. SCUM was Society for Cutting Up Men. She wrote in it that women should get rid of the male sex. In 1968 Solanas asked Paul Krassner for money. She said to him, "I want to shoot Maurice Girodias." He gave her $50. This was enough for a .32 automatic pistol. Solanas went to the Chelsea Hotel where he lived. She was told that he had gone for the weekend. Then she went to the Factory, Andy Warhol's studio. She tried to kill Warhol. She also shot Mario Amaya.[4]

Radical feminism has been criticized for being anti-sex. An example of this is the work of Andrea Dworkin. Andrea Dworkin published a book in 1987 called Intercourse. In the book she wrote about how heterosexual sex is oppressive to women. It is often said that Intercourse argues that "all heterosexual sex is rape". Dworkin wrote two books against pornography, Pornography - Men Possessing Women and Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Women's Equality.


Radical feminists has been criticized by sex workers who do not want them to take away their jobs. Sex workers also disagree with radical feminists who say that if you are paid to have sex then it is rape. Anti sex work radical feminists are sometimes called SWERFs (Sex Work Exclusionary Radical Feminists).

References[change | change source]