Asses the Usefulness of Feminist Contributions to Our Understanding of Society Today

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Asses the usefulness of feminist contributions to our understanding of society today Feminism sees society as male dominated and it seeks to describe explain and change the position of women in society, it is therefore both a theory of womens subordination and a political movement. The ‘first wave’ of feminism occurred in the late 19th century, with the suffragettes’ campaign for the right to vote. The 1960’s saw the ‘second wave’ emerge on a global scale. Since then feminism has had a major influence on sociology. Feminists critisise mainstream society as being ‘malestream’ - seeing society only from the male perspective. In contrast, feminists examine society from a woman's point of view. Some feminists see their work as part of the struggle against women’s subordination. However although all feminists oppose womens subordination there are arguments among feminits about its causes and how to overcome it. In my essay I will concentrate on the following feminist theories which have had a big impact on sociology; Liberal feminism, Radical Feminism, Marxist Feminism and difference feminism. Liberal feminists are concerned with human rights. They believe all human beings should have equal rights. Liberals believe that this is best achieved by reforms or changes to the law, without the need for revolution. For example laws that have been put in place such as women's right to vote and to file for divorce. Liberals claim equal opportunities in education and the work place will help secure equality for women, Liberals also claim that society needs a cultural change - it must stop stereotyping what are male qualities and what are female qualities, for example a stereotypical male quality may be strength and a stereotypical female quality may be nurturing however its possible for both male and females to have either of these qualities. Liberalist feminists such as Ann
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