Liberal Vs. Marxist Feminism Essay, Research Paper
SECTION ONE: Liberal vs. Marxist Feminism
Liberal feminists believe that oppression and inequality must be justified. In other words, any inequality between genders must be explained and justified, in order for it to be accepted by the liberal feminists. According to our textbook, the liberal feminism originated from the social contract theories. Such theories state that all forms of social domination or authority must be justified, according to the textbook. Liberal feminists hold a view that every member of the society should be equal. They also insist that the violent forms of oppression should be controlled throughout the society, for they find domestic violence and violence against women to an unjustifiable form of oppression. They also argue that the development of an individual is usually forced into a gender “channel”, where members of different sex groups are gradually taught and instructed to follow a certain particular gender pattern.
Marxist feminism supports the idea that the biological difference cannot justify any form of oppression and inequality in human societies. Marxist feminists do believe that biological differences are not responsible for oppression and inequality between sexes. Instead, Marxist feminists argue that it is the class structure that is responsible for the oppression and inequality between sexes. Particularly, Marxist feminists state that the capitalism is primarily responsible for the class structure in our society. They further challenge the idea that the equality is possible in the capitalistic system.
Common: Both types of feminism do agree that inequality and oppression between sexes is social rather than being biological. Both systems advocate equality for members of both sexes.
Contrast: Marxist feminists argue that the equality between sexes cannot happen within the capitalistic society. They further argue that the basis of oppression and inequality is founded by the very idea of private property. Liberal feminists would disagree, for they consider the private property and affairs outside the scope of their control. They would argue that it is the social education and development that responsible for sex based inequalities.
Proponent of Marxist Feminism:
The proponent would argue that a materialistic possession of vitally important to the community resources could lead to the possessive attitudes towards women. If one can decide whether the community lives or dies, then why can’t one decide whether a person lives or dies? Again, the proponent will state that any form of oppression has to have a root or foundation, and they would argue that the concept of capitalism is such foundation for further exploitation.
Proponent of Liberal Feminism:
The proponent would state that it is unarguable that two new babies of different sex are equal. The proponent would state that only further social development shapes such babies into an inferior and a superior. Further on, the proponent would demand a justification for the very idea of gender inferiority. He or she would say that different educational and developmental methods lead to different levels of intelligence and thinking. He or she would say that the very idea that the biological gender difference determines the social status is unjustifiable and should be stopped by authorities. Similarly, authorities should watch for violations of the gender equality within homes, schools, public and private places.
Marxist Feminism Critic:
“I would like to say that ever since humans became a society, the idea of private property was born. As an individual and as a group, humans tend to claim certain objects as private and public property. Your followers argue that the idea of the private property causes inequality. I might partially agree with it. How does one oppress others, if one owns a house, a bed, a chair, or a toothbrush? Then maybe there are different levels of importance among private property. Maybe owning a storage of grain resources are more important to the society then an ownership of the same value in the hat production. I also see a loophole in your theory. If none is allowed to own an important piece of property or interest, then what stops one from controlling it without the ownership? Communist countries, government officials, federal judges are such examples. Let’s say that there is no inequality among the federal judges, and then we would be wrong. There is inequality based on the biological gender within the judiciary system of the United States.
You say that the capitalistic structure of the nation and the idea of the private property is the cause of the oppression and inequalities, but you fail to mention your solution. Can people exist without personal control or possession of some sort of material or power like property? I think that a personal influence in such spheres is unavoidable, and that varying it from one form into another won’t continue. I don’t think so, and that is the reason behind my skepticism on the Marxist feminism.”
“You state that if we live in a socialistic system, the oppression and inequality would disappear. I think that your point of view is wrong, for other countries had and have lived in such structure, yet the oppression and inequality against women is still there.”
Liberal Feminism Critic:
“I know that you state that all should be equal in a sense when one’s inequality is determined by one’s physical abilities. I think so too, but I have a big problem with your theory.
I do think that biological start does determine certain physiological properties of the person. I have read an article about two twin brothers. During the circumcision, one brother lost his penis, for the doctor made an error with his burning tool. The parents decided to bring the boy up as a girl, and the boy’s genitals were reconstructed into girls form. The “girl” grew older, yet she could not partake her social duties and take her place in the society.
Much later she found out that she was originally a boy, then she demanded that her procedure is reversed. Now he lives as a grown man with a family. An example like this is a proof that in one particular case the biological difference showed up and took over the social upbringing routines. I am not sure whether this can be applied to everyone or not, but in one particular case the biology mattered.
Also you advocate the authoritarian control within the society and private homes. I believe that such control is a negative influence on equality. Many of us are very different from each other. What one considers normal is far away from such for another.
You advocate that the domestic violence should be punished more severe. I think that such action would only aggravate the domestic violence to another, more drastic level.”
“My theory indicates that the very foundation of our society is the problem, yet you point of view takes no account of such matters. My fellow feminists and me state that the problem is not in the social upbringing of the children to follow different sociological gender patterns, but that it is instead is in the foundations of our community. You pay no attention to such fundamental structure, yet you are trying to fight the oppression and inequality, which is the most basic properties of human relationship.”
PART II: The Feminist Majority Report: Corporate Women and the Mommy Track
By Katherine Spiller
Katherine Spiller writes that many women are denied their corporate and business progress based on the faulty myth of mother related expenses. The author also writes that women are kept in lower corporate positions due to their mother like nature. She underlines that such actions are not explained through sex oppression and discrimination, but they are justified by the myth of the mother-employee.
The author lists different aspects of corporate myth about women, and she criticizes them from a liberal point of view. First she says that many people believe that women will eventually be incorporated in the corporate America and be giving equal to men opportunities. She says that this is not true, for women have been in business for a long time now. The position of women is still in the lower end of the corporate America, and their educational advancements are powerless to their progress. She brings up statistics that women represent about one percent of the Corporate Officers at the vice presidential level and higher. She states that it will be another half of a millennium, before women reach a fifty percent level. Similar picture is seen in Corporate Boards and other important positions.
Today’s CEO women have very unorthodox to the public paths to their success. In other words they have not reached their positions in the Corporate America through conventional and commonly accepted ways.
Another myth, she describes, is that many people believe that family and children related responsibilities keep women from performing on the same level as men do. In reality, most women deny this assumption and state that their family does not keep them from performing their best in the office. Also, the writer states that many low level employed women never have the maternal leave and support. Another myth is that maternal leave and other family related time off work is too expensive for corporate executive offices.
The reality shows that women are more likely than men to stay on the job, for their options are limited. Thus the corporate office would have higher expenses for male employees rather than for female employee. Katherine Spiller also writes than women usually return back to work quickly, for they are afraid of loosing their positions.
Another myth is based on women’s use of maternal excuses for personal preferences. In the reality, the same myth is used to shorten women’s wages, to keep women from higher positions, and to keep women in lower positions instead.
The author argues that the problem here is not that women need more, but it is that women must be treated equally as men. For instance, men, who have health problems, are usually treated well by the company, while women are subjected to criticism. Another myth is based on women’s intentions to quit their jobs in order to start personal businesses. In reality this is not true, for the majority of women start their business in their late forties. Then their reasons for such actions are not connected to childbearing.
At the same time, men, who start their own businesses, are viewed as entrepreneurial and career advancers. Yet women are given the negative side of the same image.
Another myth is that any woman is able to reach her goals, for the corporation is looking for the best person. In reality many men are given their positions because of their kin relationships, writes the author. Women on the other side are denied such advancements. Many women find other much more serious obstacles than family life on their way up the corporate ladder. Also, the maternal myth keeps many women on the bottom and middle positions, while they are denied the higher and more important positions.
My short summary: I think that Katherine Spiller tried to say that sexist image forces women to accept their traditional place away from work. Sexist view also justifies that women should be paid less and given less responsibility. However, even this justification is not true, for many women do hold very crucial to individual’s life positions. What women are not controlling is the society, for many high level positions do exert much stronger control on the society. The very realm of the corporate America is on the scale of the whole nation.
Many men would be in panic, if a woman had some sort of control over them, as a group. If a woman declared an international war, many men would be disappointed with her. Janet Reno is usually joked about, for people see a masculine fighter in her persona. Male version of Janet Reno would only attract people’s support. Jesse “The Body” Ventura is very popular for his previous head bashing lifestyle. Any woman of such past would only be laugh at. I think that similar sexist approach is present throughout the nation. Workplace is only one of many places, where it occurs on daily basis.
My agreement: I agree fully that women do not get their fair chances in the corporate office. I further state that keeping mommy home is not an excuse, for many women are forced to take lower paid jobs with much heavier physical load in order to provide for their children.
In the past, it was very clearly defined that office was man’s job and home was women’s place. Industrial revolution and technological changes forced men to use women out in the workplace. I don’t think that a traditional woman of the past would make such transition. Instead, wars, diseases, poverty, labor shortages, and other influences made it necessary for many women to work. I think that our society still considers that woman’s place is in her home. Why? I may think so, because women, who make up over one half o the U.S. population, are not making themselves heard.
I also see that there is a big problem with many socially accepted views on women’s positions in the workforce. One of the views underline that maternal leave, regardless of its length, damages corporate high-level positions more than it does to lower level positions. I disagree, for a missing teacher, nurse, taxi dispatcher, and many others are just as important as corporate CEO chairwomen. Also, the physical nature of many lover level positions is much higher than those of managerial and above. Thus if the society wanted to save women from harder work, then they would have to transfer them upstairs to the office.
At the same time, many women are required to work longer hour, produce more workload, and accept larger overtime hours, for the financial need is much harder to satisfy with their small and inadequate incomes.
Many men justify that lower and less important positions are better for many women in terms of maternal leave, family time, schedule variations. Instead, I believe that the opposite is true, for lower level positions do not provide equal benefits, variable schedule, and family leave. Similarly, the myth is broken, when one starts talking about a man-parent. Man-parent also needs just as much time off work for family care and responsibilities as a woman-parent. The very idea of a maternal myth is destroyed, when one does not accept that the woman must be the solely servant and keeper of the family and the house.
Why is my position pro-feminist?
It demands equality on the most fundamental social level. My position demands that women are treated at least as well as men are. I advice that corporate and social elite be reformed, for many views on woman’s position in the workforce and family are obscure and unjustifiable. Also, my position is very close to many feminist movements, for such movements state that women are oppressed and are not equal to their male counterparts in the society, home, and workplace. I also disagree that social status and view can justify lower wages and positions for women.
PART III: Rape, Racism, and the Myth of the Black Rapist
By Angela Davis
Angela Davis informs us that sexual assaults are increasing within the United States. According to her, it is the sign of the dysfunctionality of our society. She also informs us that the law against sexual violence was originally designed to protect men. She further writes that the protection extended to white men only; out of 455 men executed between 1930 and 1967 based on the rape convictions, 405 were of black skin color.
She further states that white upper class members desired the protection for their wives and daughters originally. Author writes that the myth of the black rapist was virtually created in order to have a justification for performing any type of violence against black communities.
She indicates that at the same time black women were heavily subjected to sexual violence, especially by authorities. In many cases justice was not served. She brings up an example of how ten police officers who raped a 17-year-old Black woman in Chicago, were not persecuted; rather their crimes were covered up. She writes that the feminist movements only now acknowledge the societal oppression of black women. Only now is it realized that Black women are both victims of the sexual violence and the societal image of Black people, for the societal image socially justifies many violent acts against the Black community. The societal image of Black men and women is often used to further exploitation of the black community. She also explains that a socially justified sexual violence against Black women affects the conduct of the society towards White women. She argues that similar effects were produced by the Vietnam experience, for many men brought back home their intentions and conduct towards women. During the Vietnam War, U.S. military viewed Vietnamese as an inferior race. Soldiers were encouraged to be sexually violent towards many Vietnamese women. The author argues that such conduct cannot but influence the conduct between men and women in the near future. She criticizes that many anti-rape theorists do not see such influences from the society and its images on our view of many personal cases. She argues that many theorists only interpret statistics without analyzing their viewing lenses.
According to her the statistics for sexual violence is not represented fully, for many white men, who “take advantage” of women, are not usually persecuted and reported at all. She writes that the job and its economically dominant nature only justifies that the employer or manager extends his control in the sexual realm.
She also writes that the sexual violence of non-White males towards women does not carry as much male supremacy, for many non-White rapists hold =very inferior economic and power positions.
The very structure of our society is responsible for the existence and increase of sexual violence against women, according to the author. She claims that the persecution of the actual rape crime will not be effective, for the society will still be living and practicing oppression of women. Instead, she demands that the society is fundamentally changed, and that women should be socially and economically equal to men. She states that we cannot live in a gender based monopoly and expect no gender based crimes, oppression, and inequalities.
Angela Davis writes that economical and financial forms of subordination only escalate the intensive to subordinate women in other forms. Sexual practice is accepted as a standard conduct between a husband and a wife. Throughout our history, such conduct was a part of legal ownership of women by men. Husbands had exclusive rights to their spouses.
Women who committed adultery was always treated much harsher then men’s, if men committed adultery was ever treated. People are usually well aware that such practices were very common. The old practice of Prima Notte was also originated from the economical and financial dependency. Today, men are more likely to commit similar steps, for our society was well built on them. In many countries it is still popular to purchase a wife with a sum of money. Purchasing sex on the streets is another example of a more temporary marriage, for it only last an hour or two. Yet all of these practices have very much in common, for they trade women’s freedom for a sum of money.
Can it be said that people of India are different from the people of the U.S.? I don’t think so. At the most, we can say that their culture is different. That is only true in the cultural specifics, for even the foundations and basis of culture are alike. The recent imperialization of the English language also brings many cultures much closer together. Thus, we cannot really judge others to be extreme, for we a mere reflection of them; whether the reflection is dimmer or brighter, we still represent many of their views and customs. Similar is true for our past, for we are indeed derived from it. I could write much more, but I think that my point is clear. So is hers.
Why do I agree with the author?
I think that for many people, financial and economic dependency is much more important than the sexual oppression. For many women, their survival is dependent on someone or some organization. An example of such dependence priorities is a common street prostitute, for she needs financial resources to survive biologically. To many prostitutes their financial stability is more important than sexual independence or oppression.
That is why I believe the author when she writes that humans cannot relate to women open-minded, when they definitely have women’s subordination in financial, economic, and sometimes-legal form.
Also, my previous example indicates just how vital the economic and financial dependency is. Many women would starve, if they chose to be financially independent; our society does not have very much economically independent position. Is this issue only related to women? No, but it is much more drastic on women’s part, for throughout our history women were always specifically dependent on men in terms of finances, provisions, and legal issues. Men and women are subjected to very similar forms of economical oppression, but women can be also subdued into a sexual form of oppression. In the workplace, the manager might not want to subdue his male employees, for such actions might not please him. Women on the other side fit perfectly into the societal image of sexual dependence. That is why the manager picks on his female employees instead.
I think that my position is pro-feminist, for it advances women’s position in the society. I advocate that our society should move towards less economically dependent structure. In such structure, women and men would not be economically dependent on each other. I don’t advocate that everyone must live in a separate room with all separate from others services, but instead I argue that the economical dependency must by two sides.
I think that people should be dependent on each other, but I disagree when such dependency starts at the top level of the society and continues down to the slums. I think that one-way dependency should not exist, for it gives one side too much power and none to the other. I think that such society can be created, if there is no power based possessions. In such society, people would not have power over other people, for the very concept of materialistic power would be unavailable. I advocate that today women have the low end of the power arrow, and such arrow is usually originated from the men’s side. The dependency is usually financial and economical, but it does not prevent it from becoming sexual. My position is pro-feminist, for I advocate that women’s side should be compensated in terms of economical and financial power.
I cannot see our society have total power balance between all individuals. In such case all individuals would not possess an excess of power, and their conduct with any other member of the society would be compensated equally. Instead, I think that we can improve women’s position in the society by sharing the economical and financial power with them. I understand that a concentrated power in the hands of woman or a man would still ultimately result in its abuse; however, I think that such abuse would be double sided and will result in an equilibrium between both sides.
One of the “scary” thought that entered my brain was related to our discussion in class. I distinctly remember that you stated that there is a professional union for graduate students, and that the union is watching over interests of the graduate students. I know that there is an organization for lobbying purposes. What scares me is that most groups that desire the change in the country have representatives and lobbyists. In other word, if you need thing changed and maintained your way, make a special interest group. Similarly, the feminist movement would have a special interest group that would lobby and influence the state and federal senate to their point of view. The scary part is whether it is right. I know that such propaganda and influence is necessary in the U.S. government. I am still though scared to think that this is the only way to change our society. Whether lobbyists are the only output of our intentions on a national wide scale. I know that it is used and effective, but I am still scared. If this is the only way to move us, people, to the better or worst, then my fears have very good foundations.