A lot of people don't know the difference between these two major subsets of feminism, so I've decided to summarize each one and evaluate where my own beliefs stand. Feel free to respond and discuss below.
- the most mainstream brand of feminism.
- commonly associated with the third wave.
- popularized in the media by corporations (H+M), celebrities (ex. Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Emma Watson) and social media (ex. Buzzfeed, Tumblr).
- largely focused on individuality and choice.
- strives to create equal opportunities between men and women (ex. equal pay, maternity leave laws) by reforming and reclaiming current social systems and structures (ex. government, religion, gender).
- believes that gender inequality is damaging to both women and men (ex. toxic masculinity).
- places an emphasis on sex positivity (ex. pro-sex work, pro-porn, pro-BDSM, anti-slut shaming, anti-kink shaming).
- considers men who believe in the equality of the sexes to be feminists.
- defines women by their self-proclaimed identity.
- sees gender as a fluid identity and is supportive of transgender activism.
- believes that trans women are entitled to female-only spaces.
- criticized for failing to recognize and combat misogyny on a systemic level, 'reducing womanhood to a feeling and/or stereotypes' and 'dumbing down' feminist ideas to appeal to men (ex. rebranding female objectification in porn and prostitution as an empowering choice of a woman embracing her sexuality).
- more underground; less socially accepted. Often mischaracterized as "extremist" feminism due to containing the word radical.
- commonly associated with the second wave.
- generally not embraced by corporations, celebrities, and social media.
- argues that men maintain power and privilege over women through a class hierarchy called patriarchy.
- strives to eliminate the patriarchy, and even bring about political separatism from men (ex. women-only communes) by overthrowing current social systems and structures.
- believes that patriarchy is solely harmful to women, and that men only benefit from such an institution.
- places an emphasis on fighting violence against women (ex. anti-porn, anti-prostitution, anti-BDSM).
- considers men who believe in the equality of the sexes to be merely feminist allies.
- defines women by their biology.
- sees gender as an oppressive social structure, is critical of transgender activism and supports gender abolitionism and gender-nonconformity.
- believes that women are entitled to female-only spaces free of all males including trans women.
- criticized for excluding men and trans women from the movement, 'reducing womanhood to a vagina' and promoting separatism of the sexes which has widely been deemed unrealistic.
I used to be one of the biggest libfems on this site, but now I'm realizing how hollow some of the talking points I used to parrot were and I'm slowly moving to the radical side. They have sufficient answers to all of the things I used to be confused about, and was told to just brush over and not question. I don't agree with all aspects of either the liberal or radical school of feminism, but right now I'm on the fence between both. Shame on me for not realizing earlier how harmful some of my former ideas (mostly relating to the sex-positive movement) actually are to women. I feel like I got so wrapped up in being accepting of everything that I ended up letting some things slide that were actually detrimental to the cause I'm passionate about in the first place. Liberal feminism was great for me to discover as a beginner to social issues but it's not really doing anything to improve the well-being of women on a larger scale like radical feminism is, and one could even argue that it's harming women in the long run. I'm guessing that this opinion won't be very popular on this forum because people see the word radical and immediately grab their pitchforks, but here goes anyway.