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Radical Feminism

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Definition:

Radical feminism is a philosophy emphasizing the patriarchal roots of inequality between men and women, or, more specifically, social dominance of women by men. Radical feminism views patriarchy as dividing rights, privileges and power primarily by gender, and as a result oppressing women and privileging men.

Radical feminists tend to be more militant in their approach (radical as "getting to the root"). Radical feminism opposes existing political and social organization in general because it is inherently tied to patriarchy. Thus, radical feminists tend to be skeptical of political action within the current system, and instead support cultural change that undermines patriarchy and associated hierarchical structures.

Radical feminism opposes patriarchy, not men. To equate radical feminism to man-hating is to assume that patriarchy and men are inseparable, philosophically and politically.

Suggested print resources:

  • Alice Echols and Ellen Willis, Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967-1975, 1990.
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  • Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution, 2003 reissue.
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  • Denise Thompson, Radical Feminism Today, 2001.
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