Difference Between Radical Feminism and Liberal Feminism

Radical Feminism vs Liberal Feminism

Feminism is a term that refers to a collection of ideologies all aimed at enduring equal social, political, and economic rights for women across different societies and cultures. There have always been voices and movements in different countries and at different times to bring about a change in the thinking and mindset of people to treat women folk at the same level as men. While the goals and objectives of different movements have been the same, there have been differences in approach and methodology in two types of feminism called radical feminism and liberal feminism. This article attempts to articulate these differences.

Liberal Feminism

Liberal feminists, though they agree that there are gender inequalities and that women suffer socially, morally, culturally, economically, and politically, they do not take up cudgels to fight the system to create a new system for women. Instead, they raise their voices and concerns from within the system and try to amend the system by introducing changes in favor of women. Liberal feminists work to get obstacles removed from the paths of women, to provide them level playing field. Liberal feminism is an approach that has many takers and even most men agree in the concept that women must have equal rights as men in all societies. Much of the legislation that has been passed to bring women at par with men is credited to this liberal feminism. A liberal feminist does not aim to push women above men as they know that two wrongs do not make a right.

Radical Feminism

Radical feminism is so called because the proponents of this kind of feminism have been aggressive and ready to launch agitations if their demands for equal rights for women are not met. Oppression of women is seen by radical feminists as the most basic form of discrimination that cuts across cultures and civilizations. They believe that there would be no distinction made on the basis of sex if women were treated as intelligent human beings just like men. These feminists believe that patriarchy is the real enemy of women around the world and that women need to be freed from dependency upon men, even for conception. These radical feminists feel that women are always at the receiving end of physical and mental violence perpetrated by men. It is the male dominated society that must go for women to become equal partners of men.

Radical Feminism vs. Liberal Feminism

• Liberal feminism talks of cleansing the system from within whereas radical feminism talks of uprooting the patriarchal system to bring a change in the position of women in the society.

• Radical feminists talk of aggressive movement and end of male domination. They advocate removal of dependency upon men even for sex and conception to better the position of women in the world.

• Liberal feminists talk about providing a level playing field to women to come up to the level of men whereas radical feminists reject the notion of male superiority and patriarchy.

• Liberals push for women’s equality by advocating changes in legislation, whereas radical feminists advocate more radical reforms.