Difference Feminism Vs. Radical Feminism

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Victoria Mullins Women’s History II Tues/Thurs, 9:00AM The fight for rights as an American woman has been a very long, uphill battle. When it comes to the laws and how they are created, there have been many different perspectives. This was especially true during the Women’s Movement of the early 1900’s. How one views the issues at hand influences what they believe needs to be changed within the laws themselves. American feminists found themselves divided on the issues of “equality” under the law. The definition or meaning of equality is an extremely difficult one, considering we live in a country full of diversity. Each group of these early feminists had their own view of necessary reform. The majority of feminists in the early 1900’s were considered to be “Difference” feminists. Their ideologies of social reform were more conservative and traditional in nature. They felt that because women had different needs, the law must be made to recognize these differences because they are significant and relevant to women’s lives and their futures. They fought for women’s suffrage not because they believed it was their “right” as women to vote, but more on the pretense that it was their “duty”. They believed that by having the vote, women would have more political power to improve life for themselves and their children. Their emphasis was on women’s responsibilities as mothers, “Maternalism”, Public Housekeeping, and women’s biological difference from men. Their goal was to enable women freely to be different from men without being penalized on the basis of their differences. Difference feminists included civic-minded, middle class women, immigrants, “Industrial Feminists”, women’s trade unionists, wage earners, suffrage leagues and social reformers. They sought

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