Re: radical feminism/cultural feminism

Sat, 20 Apr 1996 01:22:29 -0400

Jeff Kosiorek wrote
>To the extent that you can blame one incident for a vast change in
>ideology, what are your opinions on blaming the shift from radical
>feminism to cultural feminism on the Roe v. Wade decision. My thinking is
>that radical feminism embraced the idea that the 'personal is political',
>while cultural feminists did not stress that.

Jeff, this confused me. How do you define radical feminist and cultural
feminist? My take would be that cultural feminism is a more global term
referring to the shift in the women's movement to a critical view of the
society that is grounded in feminist values, celebrating in effect
"difference." (vs. the earlier phase of the women's movement that tended to
deny difference between the genders). A different kind of breakdown might be
between RADICAL FEMINISM (patriarchy in all its manifestations is the root
source of oppression, domination, etc. --often separatist in its impulses),
LIBERAL FEMINISM (which could be either phase one --no gender difference-- or
phase two --cultural feminism; equal "rights," comparable worth, affirmative
action, etc.), and FEMINIST RADICALISM (a view, grounded in feminist
values/perspective that joins with others to confront all sources of
oppression & domination, including class (capitalism), racism, etc.). I think
I came to this kind of breakdown with help from works like Hester Eisenstein's
Contemporary Feminist Thought; Josephine Donavan's Feminist Theory; and
Rosemarie Tong's Feminist Thought. Of course there are other "feminisms" like
Marxist, Post-modern, Existential, and Eco-. Some overlap with what I'd call
feminist radicalism.

How, then, would what you're saying wrt Roe v. Wade & personal-is-political fit
in here?

Does this make sense to people? Other views?

Ted Morgan