Radical feminists are a part of a specific subset of feminism which values dismantling the traditional patriarchal power structure and gender roles that keep women oppressed. Radical feminist theory analyzes the power structures that oppress the female sex. Radical feminists inspect the roots of women's oppression, and believe that oppression is rooted in male domination. Radical feminism centers women and acknowledges that the biological reality of being female is tied to women's historical and ongoing oppression.
Current "pop culture" feminism is known as liberal feminism. Radical feminists criticize liberal feminism as essentially being women working within the confines of patriarchal systems. Radical feminists are not interested in working within patriarchal systems; radical feminists want to liberate women from patriarchal systems.
Liberal feminism claims to be intersectional; this claim is criticized by radical feminists who consider liberal feminism to be hypocritically Eurocentric. Radical feminists recognize the commonalities of women’s oppression across classes, cultures, and countries by acknowledging that being female has been used to control and oppress women throughout the world for centuries. Radical feminists view liberal feminism as a movement diluted by too many issues that do not focus on the wellbeing of women as a sex-based class.
Liberal feminism is sometimes referred to as "choice feminism" by radical feminists. Choice feminism generally considers anything a woman does to be feminist, because it is her "choice." Radical feminists question the choices of women to better understand the root cause of the choice, as many choices can be made that are coercive or forced. Why are women primarily the sex who choose to wax, shave, or epilate their body hair? Why are women the sex who choose to wear a hijab, niqab, burka, or chador? Why are women primarily the sex who choose to spend time and money purchasing and applying makeup products? Why are women primarily the sex who choose to become prostitutes?
It seems difficult to support the notion that the root of women's oppression is due to being female in a patriarchal system and also believe in gender ideology. Radical feminists do not support enforcing stereotypical expressions of "gender," as in, how a person chooses to appear to society based on the cultural norms of their biological sex, because that would be part of suppressing a woman's right to choose how to dress and act in society.
Conservatives may call female supporters of gender ideology "radical feminists," possibly because they consider anything the opposite of conservative as "radical," misunderstanding the "radical" to be "extreme," but that does not make one a radical feminist.
This may be a misconception of the word "radical" in the term "radical feminism." "Radical" refers to the Latin radix meaning "root," not "radical" as in "extreme."
Whether or not the values of radical feminism are "extreme" would be up to the interpretation of the individual. Conservatives may consider radical feminist values of supporting abortion and birth control "extreme," but to radical feminists, these values are part of a woman's right to her bodily autonomy. Liberals may consider radical feminist's anti-prostitution, anti-porn, and anti-kink values "extreme," but to radical feminists, these practices promote the objectification, commodification, and abuse of women.
Radical feminism does not adhere to religious ideology. Some radical feminists may be religious, some may not. Some radical feminist women may be spiritual and not identify with a specific religion. Many radical feminists criticize most organized religions for upholding patriarchal ideologies, so it may be common to see more non-religious radical feminists.
Radical feminism does not adhere to any particular political party. Some American radical feminists criticize both United States dominant political parties for not really caring about the rights, health, and safety of women. Conservative values tend to disenfranchise women, like restricting access to abortion and birth control, which are a part of women's right to bodily autonomy, so radical feminists criticize conservative parties in regard to their anti-choice stances. Radical feminists also criticize liberal parties due to their willingness to dismantle women's sex-based rights in favor of transgender ideology and for attempting to legalize the abuse of women with stances like supporting prostitution.
Both major conservative and liberal parties have differing sexist values that get called out by radical feminists; conservative values tend to be overtly sexist and regressive, while liberal values tend to be covert in how they harm women. Liberals who are critical of radical feminist values tend to label radical feminists as "conservative" in some sort of "if you're not with us, you're against us" attitude. In general, there is no mainstream political party that fully encompasses radical feminist ideology.
Radical feminism's core beliefs have existed long before transgenderism. Many radical feminists do not support gender ideology, considering it sexist and regressive, and do not include "transwomen" (biological men who identify as women) in feminism, causing some transgender activists to claim radical feminists are transphobic. Radical feminists disagree with the notion that because a movement does not uphold transgender ideology that it is "transphobic." Fighting exclusively for women's sex-based rights is not transphobia.
Radical feminism does not encourage acts of violence against transgender-identifying people. Disagreeing with transgender ideology is not an act of violence. Refusing to advocate for transgender ideology is not an act of violence. Pointing out sexism and misogyny within the transgender community is not an act of violence.
SWERF stands for Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminist. Female sex workers are included under radical feminism, because radical feminists care about the safety, health, and wellbeing of all women. Radical feminists reject the notion that women's bodies can be bought and sold. Any transaction nullifies consent; one cannot buy consent. Sex within pornography and prostitution is paid rape. "Sex work" is rape with restitution. Radical feminists tend to support the Nordic Model, which decriminalizes all women who are prostituted, provides support services to help women exit, and makes buying women for sex a criminal offense, in order to reduce the demand that drives sex trafficking.
Radical feminists acknowledge that women of all ethnicities experience different forms of female oppression based on their specific cultural backgrounds. Radical feminists consider the root of all these womens' oppression as based on being female in a patriarchal system.
The ways pain and suffering are inflicted on all these women differ from culture to culture, but one thing remains the same: their suffering was caused by patriarchal systems. Radical feminists care about freeing all women from the oppression they face under all patriarchal systems. All women are included under radical feminism.
Sex refers to a person's biological sex: female or male. Gender refers to stereotypical characteristics assigned to female and male humans within a society. There tends to be confusion around the terms "sex" and "gender" because "gender" is sometimes used as a "polite" way of referring to biological sex.
Being gender critical is not related to being homophobic. Homophobia is the dislike of or prejudice against gay people. Being gay is not a gender; being gay is a sexuality. Gender critical people have issues with the concept of gender and people being forced into gender stereotypes.
Being gender critical does not mean one hates transgender-identifying individuals. Being gender critical means one does not believe in gender ideology and rejects regressive sex-based stereotypes. Being critical of sex-based stereotypes is not transphobia. Acknowledging that a man who pretends to be a woman by fulfilling sexist stereotypes is still a man is not hatred or an act of violence. Disagreeing with transgender ideology is not an act of violence. Being gender critical is not an act of violence.
No. This misconception may be due to the existence of people who do not support the transgender movement and believe in gender roles. For example: a person who does not support transgender ideology because they think men doing activities like wearing dresses, having long hair, and wearing makeup is "wrong," is not gender critical. This person still believes in regressive sexist stereotypes.
No. Not supporting transgender ideology and being gender critical are not the same thing. Because there is backlash against transgender ideology within some religious or conservative communities, there is confusion on if religious or conservative people are therefore gender critical. A religious or conservative person could be gender critical, but just because someone does not support transgender ideology does not mean they are also gender critical.
For example: a man who does not support transgender ideology and also thinks that women should be stay at home mothers, is not gender critical; he only does not support transgender ideology. A gender critical person would criticize the notion that women must be stay at home mothers.
No, transgender people reinforce the gender binary. A man doing stereotypically feminine things—wearing makeup, styling his hair, waxing his legs, wearing a dress, wearing heels, painting his nails—is indeed going against gender stereotypes; gender critical people do not have an issue with that. However, when that same man claims that by doing all these activities, he is now a woman, he ends up reinforcing gender stereotypes. Women are not women because they sometimes conform to sexist stereotypes; they are women because they are adult female humans. "Woman" is not a costume anyone can put on. Transgender people, by trying to get others to accept that conforming to sexist stereotypes is what makes one a man or a woman, are essentially reinforcing sexism.
If transgender people only wished to go against sexist stereotypes and personally believe they were "born in the wrong body," there would not have been an issue. Transgender people started demanding others around them "affirm their identity." "Transwomen" (biological men who pretend to be women) started demanding access to women-only spaces, like bathrooms, locker rooms, and domestic shelters. "Transwomen" began competing in women's sporting events, beating out female competitors due to their physical advantages from being born male. Transgender activists began writing children's books about transgender ideology and teaching elementary school children that "they may be born in the wrong body." Transgender people can choose to deny physical reality as much as they want for themselves, they are free to do so. When transgender people's choices of denying reality began infringing on others, when transgender ideology began to involve teaching children to despise their own healthy bodies, and when transgender ideologists began demanding others also deny physical reality, transgenderism became a societal problem.
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