In the article on types of feminism, we saw that it is quite complicated to talk about feminism as an ideological or political current with common goals and ideology; after all, for something that speaks of feminisms, highlighting their plurality. In this article we will provide you the information about radical feminism.
However, within this set of moves there are many trends very different from each other does not mean that they all have the same weight. Radical feminism, also known by its short form “radfem” , for example, is one of the most widespread and popularized. Let’s see what it consists of.
The rise of radical feminism
The radfem flow appeared in the context of the second wave of feminism , which began in the 1970s in Western countries. Until then, feminist movements belonging to the first wave had focused on denouncing sexist discrimination expressed directly in laws and institutional rules; However, this new generation of feminists understood that oppression towards women was not limited to formal sexism and embodied in the rules, but permeated all aspects of life.
That is, while early feminists recognized sexism as a fundamental institutionalized problem, second wave feminism noted that the problem was much more complex and profound than nature. Sexism was not just in the laws, but also in power relations, informal treatment, and beyond that, the material disadvantages faced by women as a result of centuries of submission to men.
The problem, therefore, was strongly rooted in material conditions of survival (men with much more property and more ability to hire, for example) and in minds (popularization of the idea that women should please men, etc.). ) To end this system of oppression, called patriarchy , radical feminism was born: the one that intended to go to the root of sexism.
The characteristics of radical feminism
The liberal feminism that defined the first members of feminism understands that the problems of discrimination that affect women do so individually: a specific situation affects a specific woman , who seeks those who have gone through the same to exert the pressure of their individualism together.
In radical feminism, however, gender and gender inequality is a collective problem that must be addressed collectively. This means that great importance is given to the need to weave networks of solidarity that go beyond oneself. It is a characteristic born of the influence of Marxism and that can be observed, for example, in the way in which problems are not accentuated in concrete people, but in the social phenomena that perpetuate certain actions and attitudes.
For example, in the case of the appearance of semi-nude women in television products, it is very common to blame the actress, singer or presenter in question.
However, starting from radical feminism, the need to ask why the woman’s body is constantly exploited is emphasized as if it were more of an audience tool, something that occurs less frequently in men. Even though women appear scantily clad to get money for him, those who stand to benefit the most from this transaction are the senior members of the chain, including the female representation in the short font.
In short, there is constant talk not about individual decisions, but about what creates pronounced patterns of inequality: men don’t have to wear their looks to gain notoriety, but women are harder to do, and they never will be anyway. real power over what happens.
2. The personal is political
From the perspective of liberal feminism, oppression is of the coercive type, that is, it is expressed only through direct imposition and violence. For example, the fact that by law many women could not start work without their husband’s permission if they did not want to commit a crime was a sign of what was rejected by this movement.
For radical feminism, however, sexism is not only expressed through clear impositions and directly expressed as such, but also in customs, ideals of beauty, etc. That is why in this current private sectors are analyzed as a political fact, because it is understood that in this field it also reproduces the dynamics of relationships that oppresses women.
For example, if all the major Hollywood super-producers make films in which women always have the same psychological profile and the same plot role as “damsels in distress” in love who need the hero’s help, this will be seen as a problem of nature. politics by radical feminism, although it is expressed from the private ownership of large companies that offer their products.
3. A historical approach based on patriarchy
In radical feminism, patriarchy, theoretically formulated as the root of sexism, is not only composed of laws, but also of the cultural and material heritage bequeathed by previous generations.
Unlike liberal feminism, which does not take into account historical precedents and limits itself to pointing out injustices in the here and now, radical feminism analyzes the problem by understanding it as the product of a system of domination (patriarchy) that is being reproduced in the century after. century . This is another of the influences that Marxism had on this current, although the psychoanalysis used to study the anthropological foundations of oppression was also an element that favored this perspective.
4. shift to identity politics
In radical feminism, it is considered that being male or female inevitably determines the role of political debate. This is why this trend emphasizes the need for non-mixed groups made up only of women to work on feminist awareness and find ways to analyze issues that are not affected by the male point of view.
The idea of finding new ways of expressing femininity that do not come from the male point of view is especially emphasized by the feminism of difference, one of the main variants included in radfem.