Liberal feminism: Individuality and oppositions in Wollstonecraft and Mill

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The essay explores liberal feminism by matching Wollstonecraft's and J.S. Mill's works against radical feminist criticism. Though censured by radicals for perceiving society in binary terms modeled on the male-female distinction, liberal feminists subscribe to a worldview that is variegated and dynamic. Liberal feminism does not oppose nature to culture or individuality to society, but rather sees the ability to achieve autonomous personhood as dependent on social conditions. This insight underpins liberal feminism's attitude to the status of women: to form as rational agents, humans have to be provided with social safeguards such as education and the vote. Far from being starkly individualistic, this agenda is based on liberal feminism's perception of individual rationality as a social product.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-810
Number of pages17
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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