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Radical Feminism- Redstockings
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By: Cindy Verdieu
Radical Feminist believe it is a theoretical perspective that focuses on the theory of patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex relationships based on male supremacy that oppresses women. Radical feminism challenges and overthrows patriarchy by opposing gender roles and the oppression of women. Radical feminism targets the patriarchal root of inequality between men and women. However, their message extends to the inequality of men also.
According to Jone Johnson Lewis, “radical feminism” is a philosophy emphasizing the patriarchal roots of inequality between men and women, or, more specifically, social dominance of women by men. Radical feminism views patriarchy as dividing rights, privileges and power primarily by gender, and as a result oppressing women and privileging men” (Lewis).
The Lesbian Avengers was formed in 1992 in New York City, by six lesbian activist Ana Simo, Sarah Schulman, Maxine Wolfe, Anne-Christine d’Adesky, Marie Honan, and Anne Maguire. The Lesbian Avengers do not have national chapters, but consist of many groups around the world. The Lesbian Avengers are known for going after what they want with direct action and street theater tactics. This activist group began because they wanted to identify and promote lesbian issues. The Lesbian Avengers are known for being a radical group, they have particular sayings that they say such as “eat fire” while chanting. “The fire will not consume us - we take it and make it our own.” The Lesbian Avengers also chanted “Ten percent is not enough! Recruit! Recruit! Recruit!” In Washington, 1993 the group organized a “Dyke March” for all lesbians and gays, over 20,000 lesbians attended. Currently, the “Dyke March still goes on annually in many cities.
The Lesbian Avengers can be viewed as a radical feminist group because during the time lesbians were tired of just focusing on issues such as AIDS and abortion while their own problems were not being solved. They were tired of the ways society and the media viewed them. That being said, radical feminist go to the root of their problems which is what the Lesbian Avengers did. They wanted to help themselves and other lesbians, gays and bisexuals to be able to express themselves and feel accepted. “Organizationally, radical feminists form nonhierarchical, supportive, women-only spaces where women can think and act and create free of constant sexist put-downs, sexual harassment, and the threat of rape and violence. The heady possibilities of creating woman-oriented health care facilities, safe residences for battered women, counseling and legal services for survivors of rape, a woman’s culture, and a woman’s religion and ethics forge the bonds of sisterhood” (Lorber 142).
The Lesbian Avengers felt that they were always being ignored, that they weren’t being heard the way they should be, "When a lesbian walks into a room of gay men, it's the same as when she walks into a room of heterosexual men ... You're listened to and then politely ignored" (Salholz). Radical feminist put in perspective that due to patriarchy women tend to be viewed at the “other” to the male norm which is why they feel women are oppressed and not taken serious. The Lesbian Avengers weren’t being heard so they set their own priorities and worked on the issues that were important to them.
Every year in Boston and many other cities they have the “Dyke March” it is always in June. Next year 2013 the “Dyke March” will be held on Friday June 14th, it is always the day before the Gay Pride celebration. The Dyke March began in Boston in 1995 and has remained committed to allowing this march to continue. The march consist of influential speakers and artists, great performances and community organizations there.
The Mission: "Our top priority is to provide a dynamic and welcoming space for participants of all sexualities, genders, races, ages, ethnicities, sizes, economic backgrounds, and physical abilities. We strive to create a place where political and social change can be expressed and inspired."
Lewis, Jone J. "Radical Feminism." About.com Women's History. Web. 22 July 2012. <
"Lesbian Avengers." Lesbian Avengers. Web. 24 July 2012. <
"Boston Dyke March." Boston Dyke March. Web. 26 July 2012. <
Lorber, Judith. Gender Inequality: Feminist Theories and Politics. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. Print.
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