Feminism in 2020

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LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 20: An activist participates in the Women’s March Los Angeles 2018 on January 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images)

Elana Sparks, Staff Writer

There are four different types of feminism: socialist feminism, Marxist feminism, radical feminism, and liberal feminism. Out of these forms of feminism, liberal has become the most mainstream. Liberal feminism focuses on reforming the system we are currently in through the framework of liberal democracy. Liberal feminists bend rules currently in place instead of abolishing the root cause of inequality. Sadly, that is the bare minimum when it comes to abolishing the system that socially and economically oppresses women. 

Liberal feminists depend on performative activism to make a change. Of course, it is good to tackle the issues of the wage gap and gender roles, although much of these problems are surface-level. What is needed is a dive into the patriarchal system itself. Why does the patriarchy still exist in the present? It is the product of social-cultural norms, laws, policies, and the unequal distribution of money and power. 

The existence of a patriarchy has always been a controversial debate topic, however, it is obvious that in many instances men have more advantages over women: for example, sexism in the workplace. Many theories exist on why occupational sexism exists, one of those being the social role theory. Women’s traditional roles have historically been in the home, therefore, it creates stereotypes and expectations on women. When women entered the workplace, the stereotypes still lingered.

While liberal feminists do acknowledge the existence of sexism in the workplace, what have they done to solve it? Nothing. They occasionally bring attention to the subject through social media activism, but they do not take action. 

Purplewashing is a tactic that liberal feminists commonly use. It is the practice of presenting something as feminist to cancel out its negative aspects. Purplewashing is frequently used as an advertising strategy by falsely labeling something as feminist: a perfect example of performative activism. Billie, a women’s razor company, relies on purplewashing. Its ads give an illusion of free choice. While that gives women a feeling of empowerment, in reality, it only contributes to the exploitative nature of purplewashing.

Liberal feminists contribute little to the feminist movement. They compromise with the system and wait until other more motivated feminists do what they cannot. Liberal feminists have good intentions at heart, however, they do not act on them. Whether it be consciously, or subconsciously, they hold up the status quo. What we need is an immediate change in our society.