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Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that calls for a radical re-ordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts, while recognizing that women's experiences are also affected by other social divisions such as in race, class, and sexual orientation. The ideology and movement emerged in the 1960s.
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Radical feminists view society fundamentally as a patriarchy in which men dominate and oppress women. Radical feminists seek to abolish the patriarchy in a struggle to liberate women and girls from a perceivedly unjust society by challenging existing social norms and institutions. This struggle includes opposing the sexual objectification of women, raising public awareness about such issues as rape and other violence against women, challenging the concept of gender roles, and challenging what radical feminists see as a racialized and gendered capitalism that characterizes the United States and many other countries. According to Shulamith Firestone in The Dialectic of Sex (1970): "[T]he end goal of feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally." While radical feminists believe that differences in genitalia and secondary sex characteristics should not matter culturally or politically, they also maintain that women's special role in reproduction should be recognized and accommodated without penalty in the workplace, and some have argued compensation should be offered for this socially essential work.
Radical feminists locate the root cause of women's oppression in patriarchal gender relations, as opposed to legal systems (as in liberal feminism) or class conflict (as in Marxist feminism). Early radical feminism, arising within second-wave feminism in the 1960s, typically viewed patriarchy as a "transhistorical phenomenon" prior to or deeper than other sources of oppression, "not only the oldest and most universal form of domination but the primary form" and the model for all others. Later politics derived from radical feminism ranged from cultural feminism to syncretic forms of socialist feminism (such as anarcha-feminism) that place issues of social class, economics, and the like on a par with patriarchy as sources of oppression.
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