What is Feminism? Know All the Important Things!

Feminism is a term that is certainly familiar to Sinaumed’s’ ears. In general, many ordinary people associate feminism with gender equality and women. Some others understand it as a term that refers to injustice against women to have equal opportunities in a society that tends to be controlled by men or also known as patriarchy.

Does the term feminism really refer to this understanding? In order to get to know and understand this term better, here is an explanation of feminism that Sinaumed’s needs to know.

Definition of Feminism

The important struggle carried out by the feminist movement is to empower all women to realize their full property rights. For example, equalizing the playing field between men and women by ensuring that women have the same life opportunity to choose their roles and rights as men.

This term actually comes from the French from the word feminine or femininity. Femininine is an adjective or adjective which means femininity or indicates female characteristics. So that it can be interpreted, that feminism is a flow of women’s movement that fights for women’s rights.

This term can also be defined as a political, social and ideological movement that has the goal of fighting for women’s rights, among which is to build, define and achieve gender treatment under the auspices of Human Rights in the economic, political, personal and social spheres.

This movement combines two positions, that society always prioritizes the point of view of men and women are always treated unfairly in society. So that feminism exists, as an effort to change this, including fighting gender stereotypes and trying to build educational and professional opportunities that are equal to men.

Feminists continue to actively campaign for women’s rights, including the right to hold political office, vote, work, get fair wages, equal pay, own property, close the gender pay gap, get an education, have equal rights in marriage, get leave. pregnancy and entered into a contract.

In addition, through their programs, feminists also try to protect women from all acts of social integration violence, protecting women from sexual harassment, rape and domestic violence.

Some scholars consider that this campaign is the main force behind social changes in history, especially regarding women’s rights, especially in the West. Where feminists in the West are almost universally appreciated for their achievements in having women’s suffrage, gender neutral language, women’s reproductive rights and others.

Although the main feminist movement focuses on women’s matters, some feminists such as Bell Hooks argue that male liberation needs to be included in the goals of feminism. Because feminists believe that men are also harmed by the traditional gender roles present in society.

Feminist theories emerged from the feminist movement which aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining the social roles and life experiences of women, and has developed various theories in various disciplines to respond to issues regarding gender.

Many feminist movements and ideologies have developed over the past few years and represent different points of view and goals of many parties. Some forms of feminism have also received criticism, because they are considered to only take into account the perspectives of white, highly educated and middle class people.

The criticism then leads to the creation of forms that are more ethnically specific, multicultural, including intersectional and black.

History of Feminism

This movement first began in the late 18th century and began to grow rapidly throughout the 20th century, starting with a feminist voice on equal political rights for women.

The writing of a feminist figure named Mary Wollstonecraft entitled A Vindication of The Right of Woman is considered one of the earliest feminist writings which contains criticism of the French Revolution which only applies to men, but not to women.

A century later, in Indonesia Raden Ajeng Kartini also voiced her thoughts on criticism of the condition of Javanese women who did not get the opportunity to get an education equal to men, in addition to criticizing Dutch colonialism.

Then in the 20th century, the feminist movement was widely seen as a Critical Legal Studies movement which provided a lot of criticism on legal logic that had been used so far, the manipulative nature and dependence of law on politics, economics, the role of law to shape patterns of social relations and the formation of hierarchies by legal provisions. which is not basic.

Although feminist opinions are pluralistic, one thing that unites feminists is their belief that society and the legal order are patriarchal in nature.

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Legal rules that are said to be neutral and objective are often only a cover for political and social considerations driven by the ideology of decision makers, however, the ideology held by decision makers is often not in favor of women’s interests.

Patriarchy that exists in society and the rule of law is the cause of subordination, domination and injustice to women. So as a consequence, feminists demand gender equality. However, gender equality cannot be achieved if the current ideological institutional structure does not change.

Feminists focus their attention on the analysis of the role of law in maintaining patriarchal hegemony. All the analyzes and theories that have been put forward by feminists are expected to be put into practice.

Because all feminist efforts are not only to decorate the history of human development, but rather to human efforts to survive. The emergence of the feminist movement is an illustration that abstract provisions cannot resolve gender inequality.

Feminism is a paradigm, a comprehensive understanding of gender-based justice that can be used as a basis for movements, thoughts and policies. Feminism in general, can be grouped into three spectrums, namely as a social movement, science and analytical tool. The three spectrums complement each other feminism as a movement or ideology.

Various Streams of Feminism

As previously explained, the development of feminism actually presents criticism from several parties, because it is considered to only prioritize certain communities. Such as white people, middle class people and people who have higher education only. Thus, a more specific form of feminism is formed.

Feminism has eight streams that have different perspectives on social and political issues. Because they have different perspectives, it is only natural that there are differences of opinion within feminist groups on various issues. What are the eight streams of feminism? Here’s an explanation.

1. Liberals

The first flow of feminists is liberal feminism which focuses on individual freedom for women. In the early days of its emergence, namely in the 19th to 20th centuries, the struggle of liberal feminism was more directed at individual women’s rights in the economic, political and social spheres.

Liberal feminism is a view to place women in order to have full and individual freedom. This school states that equality and individual freedom are rooted in rationality and separation between the public and private worlds.

According to adherents of liberal feminism, they argue that every human being has the capacity to think and act rationally, so does a woman.

Adherents of liberal feminism have the view that the state has power and does not take sides with the interests of different groups, which originates from the theory of state pluralism. Liberal feminists are aware that the state is dominated by men which is reflected in interests that have masculine characteristics.

The flow of liberal feminism tries to make women aware that they are an oppressed group. Work done by women in the domestic sector is campaigned as unproductive and places women in a subordinate position.

The roots of this theory rest on the freedom and equality of rationality. Women are rational creatures, their abilities are the same as men, so women also deserve the same rights as men.

Liberal feminism is divided into two parts, namely egalitarian liberal feminism and classical liberal feminism. The first form, namely liberal egalitarian feminism, focuses more on women’s opportunities to be equal and fair in accessing resources.

Meanwhile, classical liberal feminism focuses more on freedom of individual civil rights such as the right to own land, women’s suffrage and freedom of expression.

2. Radical

Radical feminism is a flow of feminism that has a focus on more fundamental matters on the inequalities experienced by women. In the flow of radical feminism, there are two different perspectives, namely radical libertarian and cultural radical.

Libertarian radical feminism first appeared in the 1960s to 1980s and the movement focuses on a wide variety of women’s personal choices regarding their sexuality and their bodies, whether those women are heterosexual, transgender or lesbian.

Libertarian radical feminism believes that feminine gender identity can limit women from being able to develop as whole human beings and considers the main enemy of women to be patriarchy.

This view is of course different from the second radical stream, namely the cultural radical. The flow of cultural radical feminism argues that apart from patriarchy, men are part of the emergence of oppression against women.

Followers of this feminist school assume that men have control over women’s sexuality for men’s satisfaction only. Because of this view, many women who adhere to cultural radical feminists choose to be celibate and being a lesbian is a way to be free from the restrictions built by the heterosexual culture that exists in society.

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Radical feminism emerged as a reaction from the culture of sexism or sex-based social domination in the West around the 1960s, especially to fight sexual violence and the pornography industry that was rampant at that time.

3. Socialist Marxists

As the name implies, the socialist-Marxist movement is focused on liberating women from class, sex, patriarchal and capitalist barriers. This trend arose because of the issue of women workers in the domestic sphere as well as the public in campaigning for changes in domestic work for women, socialization of household work and child care.

Socialist Marxist feminist views women’s problems within the framework of a critique of capitalism, which assumes that the source of women’s oppression comes from class exploitation and production methods.

Friedrich Engels’ theory was later developed into the basis of the socialist Marxist school, which stated that the status of women fell due to the concept of personal wealth or private property. Production activities, which were originally aimed at fulfilling one’s own needs, turned into exchange needs.

Men are considered to control production for exchange purposes and as a consequence, they dominate social relations in society. While women are reduced to one part of the property.

The production system that was formed was then profit-oriented which led to the formation of classes in society such as the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Thus, if capitalism collapses, the existing structures in society can be repaired and the oppression of women can be removed.

Adherents of socialist-Marxist feminism argue that the state is capitalist in nature, the state is not only an institution but also a manifestation of social interaction and relations.

Marxists argue that the state has the ability to maintain the welfare of society, but on the other hand the state is also capitalist which also uses the system of slavery for women as workers.

4. Gender Psychoanalyst

The emergence of the fourth stream of feminism is a form of resistance to psychoanalyst figures, namely Sigmund Freud. Sigmund Freud once said that women experience penis envy or envy men because women do not have a penis, so that women feel inferior compared to men.

The school of gender psychoanalyst feminism challenged Freud’s statements and thoughts, saying that the oppression experienced by women is influenced by social construction and is not really related to women’s biology.

5. Existentialist Feminism

Existentialist school is a school of feminism that is included in the second wave of feminism and developed around the 1940s. This flow strongly supports women to be able to freely define the meaning of women’s existence in this world. Existentialist feminism also invites women to make themselves the subject they want, instead of just being objects.

6. Post-Modern Feminism

The flow which is also known as feminism for academics, this flow of feminism is more difficult to understand and is considered not involved in actual revolutionary struggles, such as boycotts, protests and demonstrations. The post-modern school reverses the situation by celebrating the oppression it receives.

Even though the previous schools rejected the concept of gender that existed in society, the post-modern school has returned to accept femininity in women as gender that is present in society, celebrating women’s otherness by means of being, openness, thinking, difference and diversity.

One of the invitations of the post-modern school is to write and seek information and knowledge by prioritizing feminine writing, because one of the sources of oppression of women is through language.

7. Multicultural and Global Feminism

Women are seen as heterogeneous by this school, but have various slices that are linked to social status, age and others. Each group of women can experience different forms of oppression in line with their diverse experiences and identities.



8. Ecofeminism

The last stream focuses more on women’s relationship spiritually to the ecology that surrounds them. The position of women is considered as nurses who are more in need and closer and sensitive to nature than men.

As has been reviewed, feminism is a social movement and ideology that has a variety of different perspectives according to its flow. If Sinaumed’s is interested in learning more about the feminist movement, Sinaumed’s can read related books at sinaumedia.com . As #FriendsWithoutLimits, sinaumedia.com provides quality books so that Sinaumed’s has #MoreWithReading information.