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Semantee Chattopadhyay
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First-wave feminists believed that political equality will bring social, economic, and educational equality. But this assumption was proven wrong later. There were and educational inequalities. Therefore, the need for second-wave feminism arose. The first wave of feminism was launched by the women who were united at the one page or group. But the second wave of feminism was launched by two different groups of women. They were different from each other based on their approach which formed the groups-
1. Liberal approach
2. Radical approach
Liberal approach: It was the revival of the demands of the first wave feminists. The scope of these demands was expanded to social, economic and educational equality. This approach begins with the publication of Betty Frieden’s Landmark book, “The Feminine Mystique”. This book was published in 1963. She proposed that public spaces should be opened for women. There should be equally educational and economic opportunities. Betty Frieden established the National organisation for women (NOW) in the year 1966. The main target and demand of this organisation were to end social and economic discrimination based on sex. This organisation launched a movement “Equal Rights Amendment” in the US Constitution.
Radical approach: As a movement, the radical approach began in 1968 and continued till the 1980s. This approach began from the protest against the Miss America beauty contest held in 1968. Protestors claimed that such contests objectified women. Radical approach feminists shifted the focus from discrimination to oppression.
The second sex was the book of Simon de Beauvoir which was published in 1949. For the first time in history, this book argued that the problem of women is deep-rooted. The problem was rooted in the culture and institutions of society. News, terms, theories and concepts should be developed to understand the real problem. The work of Simon was further developed in the 1970s by Kate Millet “sexual politics” and Shulamith Firestone “The Dialectics of sex”.
The key features of second-wave feminism were:
1. Second-wave feminism focused on the operation and said that women all over the world face expression. Based on this shared experience, women constituted a united group, social class or sisterhood. Experience of male dominance and oppression is shared.
2. Second-wave feminism believes that the issues of women cannot be resolved through legislation. A Revolution is needed for this purpose.
3. Women cannot accommodate in a society that is based on the principles made by men. A different theory is needed. The qualities and nature of women are superior to men. Women should celebrate their distinct nature rather than abandoning it.