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Types of Feminism – Can’t We All Just Agree To Disagree?

Feminism is a complex word with many types, and while some seek to change society, others just want to have choices to be who and what they want.


Throughout the past several decades, there has been a growing dissent in the field of feminism. Those of us who came after the sixties don’t really understand why there has to be so much noise about gender equality.
There are many of us who feel like women are equal, but different, and don’t appreciate the bra burning ladies who came before that made chivalry a degrading practice, motherhood something you choose because you don’t have the ambition to do something better with your life, and that wanting a more traditional lifestyle is sexist or just flat out stupid.
The whole idea about feminism is that it was supposed to allow women to choose for themselves what they wanted to do with their life. Opening the world to more options for women was the goal, but there are some of us who believe that when we opened some doors, we shut others making them not acceptable anymore.
Women’s rights, equal pay, and sexism are all front and center in the political debate going on in this country, but what does the average women think about the war on women? It varies across the board.
Types of feminism in its varying complexities
Women are very complex creatures, and we have varying opinions about the way the world should be, and especially about how we want our own lives to be. The way that you see the role of women in America, whether we are being oppressed by the glass ceiling, or whether we are all genetically equal is all dependent on the type of feminism you subscribe to. Feminism is not a bad word, it all depends on how you choose to perceive it. Which type are you? [Read: Is chivalry dead because of feminism or lazy men?]
Liberal Feminism
A liberal feminist is someone who believes that it is their responsibility to change the way that women are viewed within society. They do so, however, silently and within the confines of the law. Creating small and incremental change, they believe that they have to work within the constraints of the way society is to make things more equal.
Being less vocal and trying to use the system to create legislation to even things out, they are not very effective at creating overall social change quickly. Slow and steady wins the race, these are the women who believe that the sexes should be equal, but they have to work fairly to get there. Not screaming from the podium, they take solace in the small victories that empower women to make their own decisions. [Read: Why men feel so emasculated: Feminism and 3 other big reasons]
Radical Feminism
A radical feminist is someone who isn’t willing to work within the structure of the ways that things are. These are the types of feminists that are harsh and can be aggressive in nature. Dogmatic and ready for change NOW, they seemingly take on every challenge there is, pick up a picket sign for the smallest of causes and want fundamental change in the way that society operates on the whole.
They believe that women have been abused, degraded and demeaned for as long as society has existed. It is their duty, therefore, to right every wrong ever perpetrated on women. Stemming from the civil rights movement of the late 60s and 70s, a radical feminist believes that gender inequalities are no less prevalent than racial ones, and seek to create an overhaul of social mores and gender roles.
This type of feminism seemed to all but die out as the stereotype became negative. Watching women burn their bras and appear so incensed was not an attractive movement, nor one that many wanted to become a part of. Many radical feminists like Gloria Steinem will surface when the world calls for them to incense anger in the female gender. [Read: 9 sure signs you’re dating a radical feminist]
Cultural Feminism
Out of the fury of radical feminism came a much more gentle and less offensive form of feminism called cultural feminism. Cultural feminism isn’t as much about equality in society as a whole, but empowering women against those inequalities that they believe we all face.
Fighting for things such as domestic violence and equal pay, they focus more on the social aspect of the treatment of women in society. Many cultural feminists believe that the difference between men and women are more socially created than anything that is in our genes. Our tendency to be kind and more caring, they believe is a consequence of modeling and societal pressure than anything that our genetics can determine. [Read: 14 effective ways to overcome power struggles in a relationship]

Marxist and Socialist Feminism
Marxist feminism is a belief system that women are oppressed by the powers that be. It is capitalism and a private party system that keeps women down. A systematic structure with the sole purpose of containing women and keeping them from rising above a specific level, marxist feminists believe the major concepts of marxism, that those who hold wealth in society seek to determine who can get ahead and set constructs to keep women down.
Social feminism is a cross between radical feminism and marxist feminism. They are people who believe that society is keeping women down and the only way to create societal change is through radical thought overhaul.
They believe that society needs to change for women to be allowed to succeed, have opportunities and achieve their goals. No matter how hard women try, they believe that there is a glass ceiling that stops women from getting ahead that must be broken on a systematic level. [A man’s confession: Men vs Women and why it’s so much better to be a woman]
Eco-feminists are those women who are more spiritual and in tune with the notion of women being connected to nature and the world around them. These are the yoga, vegetarian, peace loving, tree hugging type of feminists who believe that the only way to bolster women is by joining hands and working together.
They believe that we absolutely are genetically different, but it is in those differences where our strength can be found and fostered. A much kinder type of feminism, they don’t care about what society says, they just want to live their life in harmony with the world, help foster sisterhood and help boost our gender by joining together to accomplish our goals. [Confession: An Indian girl who wants to save the world but is too embarrassed to do it]
There is never the case that anyone should be devalued for what their genes express be it their race, their sexual preference, or their sex, but there are ways to approach change that are likely to bring about your desired effect and then there are ways to change society in a negative way. I appreciate those who came before, who paved the way for me to vote, hold office, and have a career if that is what I choose. [Read: 17 ways to live a simple life and find more happiness]
What I don’t appreciate are the women who tell me what I am worthy of being and what is beneath me. When I was younger and people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and I would say “a mom,” many would give me that “oh you poor thing” look as if I didn’t think that I was worthy of something better, I didn’t have more lofty goals, or I didn’t better for myself.
What type of feminist am I? I am someone who believes that people are people. If you want to join the army and go fight for my freedom, all I can say is thank you and admire your bravery, but I do not think that I, or many of the women that I know, should ever hold a gun in their hand and head to war. Most of us can’t even run the weedwacker.
The reason our species has survived as long as we have is because we have our own strengths and weaknesses. I believe where I am weak, my husband is strong. A yin and yang, if nature had wanted us to be completely the same we would have been born asexual beings without the need to procreate. We would be little contained pods that need no one and are all alike. Why is it that we are only equal when we can do the same thing? [Read: The real differences between men and women]
I can’t lift more than 40 pounds and I am okay with that. I am even okay with someone saying I am a weakling, yet I do not look down on women who body build or choose career paths that have them lifting things that I can’t even move across the floor. Can’t there be a happy medium where we determine for ourselves who and what we want to be? Why is it bad to want to be in a traditional life? I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
As the debate in Washington rages on, there are those of us who are sitting on the sidelines wishing that politicians, both men and women alike, wouldn’t use our gender as a pawn in their political rhetoric. You shouldn’t use people’s insecurities or fears for your advantage. Over the years, I have not changed what I want to grow up to be.
I am the happiest woman alive loving my husband, waiting for him at home, making him dinner and trying to raise my children to be kind, caring and respectful beings within society. What more important job can there be? I refuse to ever let a society tell me what to value.
[Read: What does it mean when a man takes his wife’s last name?]
This is the true idea behind feminism, is it not? Valuing our gender, our decisions and our belief that we are worthy of the freedom of choice no matter what type of feminist we choose to be.

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Julie Keating

A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...

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