This episode presents the political option and theoretical background of radical feminism in the historical context of its appearance and specifies this context within the late 1960s in American universities. This was also the period of the second wave of the feminist movement.
Radical feminism states that the roots of women’s inequality lie in patriarchal structures, embedded in society. This feminist standpoint voiced demands to have a right to decide about one’s body, to determine one’s own reproductive choices (including the right to abortion), and also the right to one’s own choices of sexuality and gender identity and put heteronormativity on the feminist agenda while promoting the rights of lesbian women. Importantly, radical feminism was engaged in a struggle for the right to a life with no violence. Radical feminists drew attention to violations of these rights, especially sexual harassment, and rape.
Most of these issues were relegated to the private sphere, and radical feminists coined a phrase, which became a symbol of their engagement: Personal is Political.
Radical feminism also addressed the importance of symbolic representation, especially gender-sensitive language, and encouraged women to artistically express themselves through literature, art, and music.
This text was written by Hristina Cvetinčanin Knežević and read by Daša Duhaček
References for further reading:
Brownmiller, Susan. Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, Fawcett Columbine, New York, 1975.
Millett, Kate. Sexual politics.University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 1969.
Rich, Adrienne. „Compulsory heterosexuality and lesbian existence.“ Signs: Journal of women in culture and society 5, no. 4 (1980): 631-660.