Liberalism in general is a theory that has been utilized by various groups and sectors for many years. During the time of political freedom, one of the most common branches of liberalism is Liberal Feminism. It is known that liberal feminism is one of the first theoretical views utilized by women in order to assert their rights during the time of limitation. The book “Liberal Feminism” discusses various types of views regarding feminism.
There is an assumption made by author Susan Wendell which states that the current view of liberal feminism has been drawn far from the “real” feminism which was first adopted during the time it was first recognized. According to the general liberalists’ view, an individual has the right to create a rational over various types of aspects due to the right given to him or her by the state. Moreover, an individual has the ability to weigh his or her judgment regarding morality and the likes; therefore, autonomy is attained which then leads to the concept of self fulfillment.
However, the concept is not entirely true to the general concept it had provided in the first parts of the theoretical discovery of liberalism. As stated in the book, “Liberals claim that the ‘right’ must be given priority over the ‘good’” (Tong 11). Through such claim, the liberals present that individualistic rights are true to its statements. Conversely, it must be noted that the concept of liberalism presents an individualistic perspective, yet it also states that an individual has a greater responsibility to other groups of individuals.
Therefore, a person must not deprive others of their own right. Such rights are: religious freedom and other fundamental beliefs that an individual has. However, although such thought is seen as a positive concept, it does complicate the aspects of having a just society. While every person has his or her own right to anything, there must be considerations regarding the other individuals who also have the same right.
As the author of the book stated, “it will be a challenge to create political, economic, and social institutions that maximize that individual’s freedom without jeopardizing the community’s welfare” (Tong 12). The book also contains discussions of the types of liberal feminism. There are a variety of liberal feminists, including the classical and the libertarian liberal feminist. In the perspective of the classical liberals, it is the state that is required to take the responsibility for protecting the civil freedom such as right to property and right to vote, among others.
Instead of prying with free market, the state must be accountable for providing every individual with the same opportunity as the others for the purpose of determining the accumulations in the market which he or she had done. In comparison, the welfare liberals view that there must be a focus on economic inequalities and government interventions in terms of various subjects such as: “ legal services, school loans, food stamps, low cost housing, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and Aid to Families with Dependent Children” (Tong 12) which can lessen the possibilities of inequity in terms of markets.
Both welfare and classical-liberal types of feminism could be distinguished within the concepts of liberal feminism, although modern liberal feminists seemingly favor welfare liberalism. One example is Susan Wendell who supports the “major economic re-organization and considerable redistribution of wealth, since one of the modern political goals most closely associated with liberal feminism is equality of opportunities” (Tong 12-13) which is the perspective of both welfare and classical liberal feminism.