Sociology Index


Marxist Feminism

Socialist Feminism is a perspective that examines women's social situation as shaped by both patriarchy and patriarchal gender relations and by the class structure of capitalism.

Socialist Feminism sees gender and class oppression as inseparable and rather than working for the equality of women within a liberal, democratic capitalist society. Socialist Feminism argues for the equality of women within a society that is not dependent upon the exploitation of one group by another, that is, a classless society.

What is Socialist Feminism? By Barbara Ehrenreich - Is Socialist Feminism a fad seized on by a few disgruntled feminists and female socialists, a temporary distraction? - I want to try to cut through some of the mystery which has grown tip around socialist feminism. A logical way to start is to look at socialism and feminism  separately. How does a socialist, more precisely, a Marxist, look at the world? How does a feminist?

To begin with, Marxism and feminism have an important thing in common: they are critical ways of looking at the world. Both rip away popular mythology and "common sense" wisdom and force us to look at experience in a new way. Both seek to understand the world in terms of antagonisms. They lead to conclusions which are jarring and disturbing at the same time that they are liberating. There is no way to have a Marxist or feminist outlook and remain a spectator. To understand the reality laid bare by these analyses is to move into action to change it. "What is socialist feminism?" article published in WIN Magazine in 1976.

Transforming socialist-feminism: the challenge of racism - Kum-Kum Bhavnani and Margaret Coulson - Feminist Review (2005) 80, 87–97.

Feminism and the socialist tradition … undone? - Angela McRobbie
Abstract: This article proposes that Butler's recent writing encourages understanding of an intersection of forces, specifically the undoing of feminism and the socialist tradition. There is also a crisis in the politics of hegemony through processes of disarticulation, as queer politics breaks its earlier ties with socialist feminism through narrowly presenting claims of entitlement in terms of being, for or against, marriage.

Fighting the Feminization of Poverty: Socialist-Feminist Analysis and Strategy - Wendy Sarvasy, Judith Vanallen 
Socialist feminism provides a necessary corrective to the strict feminization of poverty analysis by incorporating analyses of race and social class differences among women, of internal family politics shaped by the familistic ideology, and of the contradictory role of the welfare state.

Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women's Movement
Chicago Women's Liberation Union, Hyde Park Chapter [1972].
We choose to identify ourselves with the heritage and future of feminism and socialism in our struggle for revolution. From feminism we have learned the fullness of our own potential as women, the strength of women. We have seen our common self-interest with other women and our common oppression. Having found these real bonds as women, we realize we can rely on each other as we fight for liberation. Feminism has moved us to see more concretely what becomes of people shaped by social conditions they do not control. We find our love and hate focused through our feminism, love for other women bound by the same conditions, hate for the oppression that binds us. A great strength we find in feminism is the reaffirmation of human values, ideals of sisterhood: taking care of people, being sensitive to people's needs and developing potential."

The Retreat of Marxism and Socialist Feminism: Postmodern and Poststructural (Poststructuralism) Theories in Education - Jean Anyon - Anyon uses her personal history as a contributor to the resurgence of progressive scholarship in the late 1970s and early 1980s to critique recent work in education. Anyon argues that Marxist thought has failed to develop and has been largely abandoned by critical scholars, many of whom now seek empowerment for teachers and students through postmodern and poststructural ideas. Anyon undertakes an analysis of these new theories, and of their instantiation in educational scholarship that claims to use them to foster empowerment and change. Anyon assesses the political possibilities and consequences of these theories and the practices they entail.