Bad Feminist: Radical Feminism (definition)

There are so many different categories out there on feminism, different waves, and different fights. You would think with a movement like feminism, the fight would be inclusive and the same all throughout. But that’s not the case, especially with the subject of radical feminism.

Radical feminism has its roots in second wave feminism, their approach is to dismantle the patriarchy as a whole, instead of making adjustments to the current set rules.

An example of this ideology would be the writer Valerie Solanas. Although she is to be celebrated for her work the S.C.U.M manifesto, in which she explains the reasons for dismantling patriarchy and starting a matriarchal society for women, specifically “Dykes” to have the social and economic power, a Society for Cutting Up Men, which is what SCUM stands for (this is not to be confused with how a real life matriarchal society functions). Her manifesto has been perceived in various ways, and the incident in which she shot Andy Warhol, which seems to be blown out of proportion on further research, only to make her into a “Mad Bad and Sad Man Killer”, which in my personal view is far from the truth.

The SCUM manifesto, however, captures the roots of radical feminism with its anti patriarchal ideology. However, it fails to identify patriarchy and its full potential. In a way, Solanas and many radical feminists want a utopian world where all women fit, that is not  possible.

A criticism of both radical feminism and the scum manifesto is their biological essentialist views. This means they believe in two genders, Male and Female. Besides their fight to end the gender binary, they can seem very hypocritical in the way they treat those who don’t fit into the binary.

An example of this is the all time famous Germaine Greer, who started a media sensation with her comments on trans issues that were perceived to be very transmisogynistic. Greer like many radical feminists believes that to be a woman you need to be assigned female at birth. However, is this a relevant or even correct assumption to make? The intersectional and queer way of looking at gender identity would be, whoever identifies as a woman is a woman.

Radical feminism excludes women of trans experience, and therefore it sets a bar for what a woman is. It also allows a hierarchy in the movement, it allows for people to measure  their percentage of “womanliness” against each other, with things such as class and race as well as biological relevance. This is therefore not an intersectional approach to feminism.

Read more about Intersectional Feminism: