Feminism

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Feminism is a political, social, moral and intellectual movement that seeks the emancipation of women from discriminatory gender roles and laws. There are a wide variety of feminists, who define both the problem and the solution in different ways. Feminism as a political movement first attained a level of critical mass with the women's suffrage movement in the latter part of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

After the success of the women's suffrage movement in the 1920s, a second-wave feminist movement came into being in the early 1960s, which argued for a more radical change in society to change the cultural notions of womanhood. While the first-wave feminist movement attempted to address legal inequalities such as the right to vote and participate in civil society, the second-wave feminists were focused on fighting societal de facto inequalities, including discrimination in the workplace, rape and linguistic bias towards men. At this time, radical feminists also argued for female separatism, and for political lesbianism.

Feminism has a number of forms including liberal feminism, which argues for social and political equality between men and women within Western liberal societies. Radical feminism sees capitalism as inherently sexist and patriarchal, and seeks a radical reworking of society so that it is no longer patriarchal. Sex-positive feminism is a movement within feminism that is reacting to some feminists who they see as sex-negative, that is to say disapproving of sexuality, specifically anti-pornography activists including Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin. Marxist feminism and socialist feminism both look to the economic, social and political dynamics of society as the root cause of women’s oppression. More specifically, Marxists identify classism while Socialists identify the link between capitalism and patriarchy as the dominating force of oppression against women. Ecofeminism looks at the perpetual need for humans to dominate nature combined with the long-time feminization of nature. From this Ecofeminist recognizes that environmental causes and women’s causes are directly related such that one cannot be liberated without the other. Other forms of feminism include: postmodern feminism, global feminism and psychoanalytic feminism.