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The drastic difference between feminism and radical feminism

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The drastic difference between feminism and radical feminism

Feminism represents much more than just extreme stereotypes.

Feminism represents much more than just extreme stereotypes.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Feminism represents much more than just extreme stereotypes.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Feminism represents much more than just extreme stereotypes.

Samantha Carrillo, Assistant Opinion Editor

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I’m a feminist. I didn’t know it before because I wasn’t sure if I fit the description until I took my first sociology class at CSUSM.

My professor’s powerpoint presentation directed the class to raise their hands if anyone considered themselves a feminist. Only 3 people raised their hand and I wasn’t one of them. The next slide read: “A feminist is a person who wants equal rights for all people.” I was embarrassed.

I was embarrassed because I do believe in equal rights for all people, but I feared that my beliefs would make me look bad due to the negative connotations that come with being a feminist.

It was embarrassing that in a class of about 30 people, only 3 students were confident in identifying as a feminist, advocating for the minimum standard of equality for everyone.

Coming from an all-girls high school, I knew what sisterhood meant and experienced women supporting and positively influencing each other.

Of course, being a feminist in that environment was never perceived as a bad thing. But even then, there wasn’t much dialogue about what it meant to be a feminist and why it is important to be proud to be a feminist.

I figured feminism was a much less tangible belief system with much more complicated principals. But then I learned what real feminism aims for.

The way that feminism is perceived can quite often be exaggerated to the worst radical degree. People view feminism as a scary concept, but they are thinking of radical feminism involving plots against men and an extreme elevation of  women’s status in society.

Most of the time feminist are inaccurately labeled as men-hating lesbians who refuse to shave or women who want to take men down a peg. Anyone can be a feminist, you do not have to be a woman to want equal rights for everyone.

While there are also feminists with an anti-male agenda, such beliefs are actually in relation to radical feminism. Radical feminism  promotes resentment for men, sometimes women of color and transgender women. This is definitely not what real feminism is about.

Feminism involves the idea of equal treatment in all aspects of life between all sexes and refusing to be subordinate to those who demean them due to their sex.

True feminists don’t seek to bring others down, they want to see the world be a better and equal place. Feminists strive for equality, it’s that simple.

The world we live in has long seen women as objects rather than the talented and capable individuals that they are. It is time that we all acknowledge the beneficial impact that women and feminism can have if given the opportunity.

Don’t confuse feminists with radical feminists who punish men for being men. Listen to the feminists that want all men, women and other sexes to treat each other with equal respect and have an equal presence and rights in society.

It all starts with being mindful and respectful of those around you. Feminism is not a movement to rid all men from the earth, it is a movement for a better world.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “The drastic difference between feminism and radical feminism”

  1. Andrea Rescigno on October 24th, 2018 7:17 am

    This is one of poorest articles I’ve read regarding the “difference” between feminism and radical feminism. Equality, first of all, has never existed between men and women in US society, and the author doesn’t realize the implications of radical feminism when it came to even getting the right to vote, the right to get an abortion, or even the right to report sexual harassment (which was legally accepted by the Supreme Court as sex discrimination after a dissertation was written by the RADICAL feminist Catharine MacKinnon). The whole notion of radical feminism isn’t to hate men, and if it were then we’d be in a loads of trouble as many of the women have had relationships with men, the so-called enemy, but it is to advocate the idea that women need to overturn the socio and economic aspects of everything in society in order to be free of the oppression that holds them down because they are woman. Liberal feminism is great and all until you realize society favors men over women. I’d encourage you to read Dr. MacKinnon’s work, as well as Andrea Dworkin’s work, another radical feminist. Susan Brownmiller is another great woman who did tremendous work on recognizing the social implications of rape on women, realizing it wasn’t talked about much, but it affected a tremendous amount of women and every aspect of their lives. Radical feminism is needed now more than ever, but you wouldn’t realize it given by the lack of details and research into it.
    Sincerely, a radical feminist.

  2. Leslie Birta on April 10th, 2019 5:38 pm

    While the feminist movement has accomplished much in our country, apart from the abortion carnage, I suspect the most unfortunate accomplishment is that it has destroyed the idea of achieving excellence as a woman.

    That may seem counter-intuitive. After all, aren’t feminists fighting so that we women can have whole worlds of opportunities opening up before us… that we might be able to soar, chase our dreams, achieve, excel? Well, as a matter of fact, no.

    If you ask average people what the feminist cause is about, they will tell you that it’s about women being equal with men… about ensuring that we not be treated as inferior, second-class citizens. And of course, if you put it that way, what sane person would disagree, right? But there’s actually some sneaky, behind-the-scenes, pea-and-thimble work happening when the feminist position is summarized that way.

    The idea that women are equal to men is not a feminist idea; it’s a Christian idea. The apostle Paul said it long before Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Gloria Steinem when he taught us that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female (Galatians 3:28). And he said it nearly two millennia before the women’s rights people came along.

    The feminists try to take credit for something that is the fruit of the gospel, working its way into culture like yeast through a loaf. We need to stop letting the feminists act as if they somehow achieved our equality. Unconverted societies never treat women well, and that is extraordinarily easy to document. Women being treated with respect is fruit that grows on one kind of tree, and that tree is a cross.

    Of course we Christians believe that women are equal to men. Not only is this belief not a compromise with the feminists, or something we learned from the feminists, it’s actually one of our distinctives. We have verses for this conviction and we always have.

    So, what’s wrong with feminism? Honestly, much of it comes down to a fight over definitions. What does “equal” really mean? Does it mean “the same”? A Christian believes that women are different than men with different strengths, different abilities, and different tasks. We don’t believe that this difference implies inequality. A feminist, on the other hand, believes that true equality cannot be achieved without sameness.

    But a rolling pin is different than a measuring cup, and we can acknowledge that without saying one is better than the other. And what a weird thing it would be if we did! Imagine showing someone your kitchen tools and having them indignantly accuse you of believing the measuring cup was better than the rolling pin. Better at what? If you want to measure some flour, you’ll have a hard time with a rolling pin, and you’ll have similar problems trying to roll out a pie crust with a measuring cup. A rolling pin has to be evaluated according to the standards of what makes a good rolling pin, and measuring cups have to be judged on their own terms.

    We believe that women are different than men, and therefore have to be held up to the standards of what makes an excellent woman, judged on our own terms. A high-achieving, admirable woman looks different than a high-achieving, admirable man, and she is going to accomplish different things.

    That’s really at the heart of our disagreement with the feminists. They want the standards, categories, and judging to look exactly the same for both men and women. Here’s the kicker though: the standards they want to apply to everyone are the ones that have always been applied to the men. They insist that masculine standards for achievement now be imposed on women. Far from liberating women, feminists have actually removed our potential for true excellence.

    A woman who achieves truly feminine excellence is deemed by our society to be embarrassing and regressive. And the very few women who manage to achieve success in the masculine world get a pat on the head and a participant ribbon. It’s horribly patronizing.

    Think of the way our society cheers for the women who make it into the Navy Seals, or anything similar to that. It’s honestly the same reaction as when the really, really slow kid finally chugs across the finish line of the race, twelve minutes behind everyone else. We women need to stop being so easily flattered by that kind of admiration. If you pay any attention at all, you realize it’s not really a compliment.

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