Feminism/Marxism

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Marxist feminism is a sub-type of feminist theory which focuses on the dismantling of capitalism as a way to liberate women and states that capitalism, which gives rise to economic inequality, dependence, political confusion and ultimately unhealthy social relations between men and women, is the root of women's oppression.

Feminist theory (or radical feminism) emerged in the 1970s stating that modern society and its constructs (law, religion, politics, art, etc.) are predominantly the product of males and therefore have a patriarchal character. According to people who subscribed to this view, the best prescription for women's oppression would be to replace the patriarchy with a gender equal culture or to have a separation of the sexes. Some feminists at this time felt the emphasis on criticising a perceived patriarchy was too narrow and/or misguided and so there soon emerged feminists who began analysing women's situation from a class based Marxist/socialist perspective.

According to Marxist theory, in capitalist societies the individual is shaped by class relations; that is, people's capacities, needs and interests are seen to be determined by the mode of production that characterises the society they inhabit.

Marxist feminists see gender inequality as determined ultimately by the capitalist mode of production and the major social divisions as class related. Women's subordination is seen as a form of oppression (rather than an illiberal discrimination) which is maintained (like racism) because it serves the interests of capital and the ruling class. Marxist feminists have also extended traditional Marxist analysis by looking at domestic labour as well as waged work.

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