Feminism is a set of very varied social and political movements.. Partly because of its long historical trajectory and partly because of the diversity of ideological traditions within it, there are many types of feminism, some of which not only propose different strategies for pursuing their goals, but also have different objectives.
Next we will see the different main currents of feminism.
Main types of feminism
This classification of currents of feminism must be understood as a simplification, since There are many types of feminism and only the main branches appear here.
1. First wave of feminism
The first wave of feminism, which appeared between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, focused on the search for formal equality between men and women. That is to say, they fought for the right to vote for women, the non-discrimination of women in the laws and the possibility that they too could access property instead of being simple administrators of the domestic economy.
The type of feminism of this time is fundamentally liberal, and was based on the principles of the Enlightenment. It was a movement that was based on the idea that there was no valid reason to break the principle of equality defended by the intellectuals of the Enlightenment and discriminate against women.
Thus, the perspective of analyzing the reality of the first wave of feminism was based on individualism: women’s problems were not seen as something social, but as attacks on their individuality and their ability to accumulate private property.
2. Second wave of feminism
Starting with the second wave of feminism, which occurred between the 60s and the 90s, The number of types of feminism becomes more diversified by adopting influences from postmodern philosophy and for moving away from the individualism of liberal feminism.
In this new feminism, it is considered that the underlying problem that we want to root out (hence the name “radical”) is a social and historical phenomenon, that is, something that must be attacked from a collectivist perspective. This means that the dialectic inherited from Marxism is added to the influence of postmodern ideas.
In this generation of feminism, two main branches appear: the feminism of difference and that of equality. Both, however, are grouped into a category known as radical feminism, from which it is interpreted that the nature of discrimination against women does not depend on specific legal forms but is part of a historical system of economic, political and oppression. culture called patriarchy.
2.1. Equality feminism
From the feminism of equality The objective is set for women to be able to access the same status that only men occupy., among other things. Furthermore, it is understood that gender is a social construct that has historically served to convey oppression towards women through gender roles artificially assigned at birth.
Therefore, equality feminism emphasizes the idea that men and women are essentially human beings, beyond imposed genders. However, that does not mean that in practice the immediate goal of equality feminism is equality itself; Since it is understood that there is an imbalance between the sexes, positive discrimination can be defended in some areas, for example, as a temporary measure. For example, a minimum of female representation in parliaments can be required.
Historically, equality feminism has been greatly influenced by Marxismsince unlike the feminism of difference, it focuses on material aspects of the most basic human needs while starting from an analysis focused on social phenomena.
2.2. Feminism of difference
From the feminism of difference The goal is set to end the oppression of women without taking male status as a reference.. This type of feminism defends the idea of reclaiming feminine values (revised so that they are not dictated from a masculine perspective) and their difference from masculine ones.
Thus, distance is marked with respect to the idea of feminism understood as a movement that leads towards equality, since it is assumed that the feminine needs to have its own space to develop and to endure. This has meant that both from within feminisms and from outside them feminism of difference has been harshly criticized for being essentialist and fundamentally defend concepts and not people.
3. Third wave of feminism
The third wave of feminism started in the 90s and continues to the present day. If in the first wave of feminism an identity and interpretative nuance had already been introduced into feminism, Here this emphasis on subjectivities extends much further, making room for queer identities., to Muslim feminism and many other variants. The idea is to question the perspective of the Western, heterosexual white woman as a pillar of feminism.
In this generation there is a type of feminism that stands out for its difference from previous ones: transfeminism.
It is one of the types of feminism that draws on more than one of the most radical criticisms of gender binarism.: queer theory. According to this, both gender and what is considered to be the biological sex of people are social constructs.
Consequently, people with physical characteristics associated with femininity are no longer the main subject that must be emancipated through feminism, but empowerment must be achieved by all types of minorities, including people who experience their gender in a different way than the traditional one. and for this reason they are discriminated against: transsexuals with and without gender dysphoria, genderfluid, etc.
In this way, the feminism that is present in transfeminism no longer has the biological sex of people as a criterion that demarcates who is oppressed and who is not, and also incorporates identity matrices that have nothing to do with gender, like race and religion.
- You may be interested: “The 10 main types of sexual orientation”
Bocchetti, Alessandra (1996). What a woman wants. Madrid: Cátedra Editions.
Molina Petit, C. (1994). Feminist dialectic of the Enlightenment. Barcelona: Anthropos.
Varela, N. (2005). Feminism for beginners. Barcelona: Editions B.