To What Extent Is Feminism a Single Doctrine?

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To what extent is feminism a single doctrine? In many ways, feminism can be seen to be a single doctrine in that all feminists have some similarities in their beliefs. Nevertheless, feminism can be seen to be characterised by a number of significant ideological divisions. However, until the 1960s feminism was viewed as a sub-set of liberalism and socialism rather than an ideology. It is certain that feminism is a cross-cutting ideology, encompassing the three broad traditions of liberal traditions, socialist feminism and radical feminism, but whether it is today a single doctrine or still simply a sub-set of others can be greatly debated. Feminism can be seen as a single doctrine in that all feminists are concerned to advance the social role of women. Feminists all agree that the advancement of women in society is their main priority, believing that society is characterised by unequal gender power and status, and that gender inequality can be altered or reversed. All feminists believe that in order to advance a woman’s social status, liberation is necessary. Liberation is seen to be achieved through raising women’s consciousness of subjugation. Feminists believe that women have accepted inferiority to men subconsciously, and thus need to realise this before becoming liberated. Millet argues that women are in a “power-structured relationship…whereby one group of persons is controlled by another”, thus suggesting that feminists believe that in our current society men control women. Although there is controversy between feminists as to the extent of advancing a woman’s role within society, as first-wave feminists demand that women should enjoy the same legal and political rights as men, whilst second-wave feminists have greater focus on the personal side of society and call for complete social revolution. Whilst this presents a clear divide within the doctrine, it
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