Liberal Feminism Research Papers
History or philosophy research papers can look at liberal feminism in light of either the United States history and record on feminism or from a philosophical standpoint. What ever view you need discussed in a research paper on liberal feminism, the writers at Paper Masters can help you write it.
The most individualized portion of the larger field of feminist theory, liberal feminism focuses on women’s ability to maintain equality through individual actions and choices. Many advocates of liberal feminism argue that society portrays women as less capable than men, both intellectually and physically. As a result of this shibboleth, women are discriminated against in many areas of society.
Liberal feminism reemerged during the 1960s as many women drew parallels with civil rights struggle against racial discrimination and sex discrimination. It was during this period that many organizations, including the National Organization for Women (NOW) were formed. In the United States, liberal feminism, under the umbrella of NOW, pushed for the Equal Rights Amendment.
At a basic level, liberal feminism holds the following beliefs:
- The belief that freedom is a fundamental value of society
- Women should have access to the same levels of freedom as men.
- Under liberal feminism, freedom is personal autonomy, the ability of a person to live one’s life according to one’s own desires.
Society often fails to provide women with some basic levels of personal and political autonomy. Liberal feminism promotes the idea that there are basic enabling conditions that allow a woman to live a life of personal autonomy. Those conditions including living a life free from the threat of violence, free from patriarchal limits, and access to options.
Liberal tradition views are more open in defining equality and believe in civil, personal and social liberties as well as political and economic liberties. Historically liberal groups have worked to extend these liberties to all peoples, establishing equality. The liberal tradition more easily allowed for the modification of institutions and structures that did not coincide with ideals of liberty. Under this view the nation is important most in how it is an extension of the ideals of the individuals which it incorporates.
Feminism is generally considered to fit within the larger framework of liberalism. Feminists historically have supported the liberation and equality of all persons within the population. Their work on suffrage was so communal that men of color were given the right to vote before white women. Besides supporting equality, feminists, being women, have traditionally been the staunchest supporters of social programs that affect women and children specifically.
These are considered to be traditionally liberal principles. And yet, the more extreme feminists would support programs such as affirmative action hiring principles that promote women and minorities over others. Radical feminists have also been detrimental to women’s issues at times by supporting actions that undermine traditional female roles such as mothering. These actions go against the liberal tradition, and while not conservative, still challenge the tenets of liberalism.
As liberalism bases rights on gender-neutral logic and respects the individual, it is only natural that feminists would lean toward that tradition. In an extremely theological perspective, the liberal tradition says that there is not difference between individuals, and therefore the same energy that fuels the feminist embrace of liberalism can also challenge it. For undeniably there are some differences between men and women. It is when the feminist individual crosses this line to brusquely that difficulty results.