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IS THERE ANY CONSISTENCY AMONG THE VARIOUS FEMINISMS OR IS FEMINISM INCOHERANT?
Without fear of contradiction one can successfully collate the feminist philosophy, both as a progressively forward-looking movement, and an evolving, multitude of openly pro-feminine theories. Indeed 'core feminist theory' dictates, that feminism should persist in the sole pursuit of "equality, amongst men and women, on political, economic, and social grounds". This essay hopes to carefully outline the historical backdrop for the conception of feminist ideology. This essay shall subsequently endeavour to determine the likelihood of prevailing homogeneous issues, amongst a variety of feminist oriented viewpoints. Consequently the aim of this study shall be to accurately highlight possible consistencies and conforming arguments, within the aggregate feminist schools of thought.
Contrary to popular belief the historically ongoing and widespread restrictive practise against women, is not a purely modern concept. This rather inept and presently unacceptable form of severe discriminatory behaviour has its roots, as with many notable political issues, in Ancient times. In the Athenian Polis, for example, women were entirely and deliberately excluded from public life, confined instead to the traditional Greek Oilcos or household. The female role in the city-state was effectively predetermined to be that of irrelevance and thus, women attracted little in the way of recognition for matters not concerning the family. Textual literature of the time would further indicate an orchestrated attempt to legitimatise such activity, presenting the exclusion of women, as both rightful and necessary. The Greek philosopher Aristotle, for example, has also been attributed to the gradual and prolonged historical subjection of women. Through his testimonies of the "weak and!
inert matter of the female gender", he related women to negative and unreliable 'dualisms', emphasising the need for form (man) to transcend matter (woman).
This fundamentally important Ancient patriarchy has laid a solid foundation for modern feminist discussion, which draws on the totality of oppression and exploitation, to which women have been subjected, from the very cradle of western political thought. The supremacy of men and the subjection of women in most if not all societies, has been a significant catalyst in the characterisation of feminist ideology, which acknowledges the different treatment of both genders, and strives to eliminate such vast differentiation. Holistically, feminist theory and practise is highly diverse with distinctive branches of opinion and interpretation, each pioneered by one or more leading political or literal figures, respectively. Liberal Feminism has long been considered the original feminist perspective, and before the emergence of other contentious schools of thought, this view was understood to represent feminism in its entirety.
A firm liberal-based argument stems from the work of Mary Wollstonecraft, who in 1792 wrote the first great feminist treatise, 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman'. In this universally renowned text Wollstonecraft writes a substantial collection of liberally progressive sentiments, and addresses the legal, economic and educational problems for women per se. She writes that independence and social equality for women is a rare and virtually non-existent concept, and a woman who wants to overcome these challenges, has specific restrictions and obstacles to face. In an ideal world the absent equalities and rights of a woman would be fairly distributed and judicially upheld, but this is not an ideal world, she adds. Ultimately she argues that the equal rights that are applied to men should be extended to include women. An equally significant aspect of the book focuses on the responsibilities of a woman, first to herself (as a rational creature), and then to the state, as a citi!
zen and as a mother. Wollstonecraft places a great of emphasis on a woman's right to an education, especially since "the progress of all society depended on the fact that both sexes be equally educated". She explains that women should move away from their traditional emotional stereotypes, and adopt education as the fundamental access to
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Mary Wollstonecraft, J S Mill, Engels, Emily Pankhurst, Targeting Rosseau, Germaine Greer,
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class treatment, UK,
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