20 Pages

Pages from a Gender Diary

Basic Divisions in Feminism
WithAnn Snitow

Liberal feminists refused the idea that biology should structure women's public and sometimes even their private roles. Radical feminists saw the creation and maintenance of gender difference as the means by which patriarchs controlled women. Culture offers a variety of rewards to women for always giving attention to others first. Some difference-feminists would argue that women have a special morality, or aesthetic, or capacity for community that it is feminism's responsibility to maximize. Difference theory tends to emphasize the body; equality theory tends to deemphasize the body and to place faith in each individual's capacity to develop a self not ultimately circumscribed by a collective law of gender. The biggest complaint against a feminist demand of "equality" is that political construction means women must become conceptual men, or rather that to have equal rights they will have to repress their biological difference, to subordinate themselves in still new ways under an unchanged male hegemony.