Diversity in Contemporary Feminism

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By definition, an ideology is a "set of beliefs held by a particular group" (Oxford English Dictionary 449). Termed "isms," some espouse benevolent and socially acceptable tenets, such as altruism, while others, like racism, reflect societal evils. Many "isms" have evolved into movements, and attempt to promote change by congealing the tenets of many into a single, employable ideology.


The works reflect the priorities and opinions of four feminist authors, revealing some consistent ideas of and goals for the feminist movement, yet also manifesting different perspectives on how feminist ideology can and should be defined and realized.
To begin, a recurrent thread in, and indeed the prominent thrust of all four readings, is the need to challenge and undermine the heterosexual value system embedded in our society. In "Lesbian Ethics," Sarah Hoagland succinctly explains heterosexualism as a "way of living" that accepts a balance between men "dominating and de-skilling women" and women "consequently valuing an ethics of dependence" (452). As such, men are always in the role of either protector or predator, thereby creating a self-perpetuating system of men preying on women, the victims, who thus require the protection of men (Hoagland 452-53). And, the woman who bravely attempts to break this vicious pattern by refusing to play the feminine role, such as the active feminist, is perceived as having surrendered her need for protection, thereby subjecting herself to the attacks of her predators (Hoagland 453-54). ...
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