green_man_2010 (green_man_2010) wrote in talk_politics,

'Equity 'or 'Gender' Feminism?

You may think of Feminism as being , well, 'feminism' - the radical notion that women are equally human and should have equal pay, voting rights, etc.

There is lately, though, the idea that there are really two camps in Feminism.

For me, equity feminism sums up what ' first wave feminism was all about. equal rights, women simply having what men ahd already got for themselves; nothing more or less that that.
Feminists who identify themselves with equity feminism include Jean Bethke Elshtain, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Noretta Koertge, Donna Laframboise, Mary Lefkowitz, Wendy McElroy, Camille Paglia, Daphne Patai, Virginia Postrel, Alice Rossi, Nadine Strossen, Joan Kennedy Taylor, Cathy Young, and evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker.

Now, I am not a Gender Feminist myself, so maybe my interpretation is somewhat biased.
However, let it also be said that people who disagree with equity feminism do not use the terms 'equity feminism' , or 'gender feminism' at all and some do not even regard Christina Hoff Sommers as a 'real Feminist' anyway.

From what I gather, 'Gender Feminism' may be summed up as an insistence that gender roles are totally rooted in culture and not biology at all.

Psychologist Steven Pinker[2] described three defining pillars of gender feminism:

Gender feminism is an empirical doctrine committed to three claims about human nature. The first is that the differences between men and women have nothing to do with biology but are socially constructed in their entirety. The second is that humans possess a single social motive -- power -- and that social life can be understood only in terms of how it is exercised. The third is that human interactions arise not from the motives of people dealing with each other as individuals but from the motives of groups dealing with other groups -- in this case, the male gender dominating the female gender.

Sommers argues that gender feminism characterizes most of the body of modern feminist theory, and is the prevailing ideology in academia. She argues that while the feminists she designates as gender feminists advocate preferential treatment and portraying "all women as victims", equity feminism provides a viable alternative form of feminism to those who object to elements of gender feminist ideology.

Similarly, Nathanson and Young[3] use the term "ideological feminism" to describe a dualist school of thought rooted in Marxist theory. Marxism's concept of perpetual conflict between working-class proletariat and capitalist Bourgeoisie has been replaced with feminist theory that posits perpetual exploitation of women by men, or by a patriarchal power structure. "In short, the names have been changed but not the ideology." Additionally, Nathanson and Young contend that ideological feminism is "profoundly anti-intellectual" and furthermore that:

Directly or indirectly, many ideological feminists have repeatedly argued that women are psychologically, morally, spiritually, intellectually and biologically superior to men. This was more explicitly expressed in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth than it was gain in the 1980s. That mentality is now pervasive -- not only in academic circles but in popular culture as well, where it will no doubt endure far longer.

Sommers claims Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Mills and the University of Minnesota are "extreme" examples of U.S. colleges where gender feminists exert a major influence on curricula.[4]

So, ok - I tend to side with the critics here, with Equity Feminists who say that women do not need quotas and preferenetial treatment, and who are not just passive victims, and are capable of being more than that.

But what is your take - is Sommers right or do you feel that she 'isn't a real Feminist'?
Tags: feminism
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