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I'm a Danish student working on a project concerning the development of feminist ideology (ideologies) from the 1970s to the 1990s - including the debates on the upcoming of a 3rd wave. It is my impression that there have been some rather heated debates between debaters like Friedan and Faludi/Wolf - is there a tendency that two or more main ideologies are "competing" or at least severely disagreeing. Carolyn Summers (American philosopher) speaks of a divide between 'gender feminists', e.g. Faludi and another group. Do you recognize this divide and can you give me any references? Thanks for the help, Pia

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM. I believe that there is one feminist ideology--that is that all feminists believe in the movement toward the full social, political and economic equality of all people. Where feminists disagree--which is not to say that they don't agree on the former point--is in tactics and on varying degrees of priorities. For instance, some feminists prioritize legal equality (i.e. legislation, lobbying, etc..) while others prioritize social equality (changing the climate to such an extent that sexism isn't tolerated.)

There has been much categorizing of feminists into little boxes such as Wolf's term of "power feminists" and Christina Hoff Sommers (an anti-feminist feminist) term of "gender feminists"--the adjective meaning where their emphasis is. However, I view these divisions as divisive and prefer plain old vanilla feminist. Additionally, I think that these divisions ultimately undermine feminism. For instance, there were many types of civil rights activists--but, with the exception of Black Power, they were dividing themselves.

And also, I don't think you can classify these "differences" as generational divides. For instance, Susan Faludi and Naomi Wolf are of the same generation and they probably have less in common than Wolf and Friedan do--who are of different generations. So, don't focus on dividing feminism, but look at it as a common, cohesive movement made up of individual women--the individualism is what should and does shine through when you look at different tactics. Feminism needs these different approaches so as to fill it out.


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