Feminism as a theory and worldview first emerged in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when in the wake of the bourgeois revolutions constitutions with catalogues of fundamental rights were passed. However, women were limited in their ability to carry these basic rights. On the other hand, Olympe de Gouges protested in France. Thus, in 1791, in 17 articles, she compared the 17 articles of the Declaration of Human and Civil Rights relating only to men to her women’s rights, which contained the famous sentence:
Towards the middle of the 19th century, the first wave of feminism and women’s movement emerged in many countries in Europe, the United States and Australia. British women’s rights activist Josephine Butler has been opposed to the Contagious Diseases Acts since 1869, where prostitutes were state-supervised but the suitors were not controlled. Only the women, but not their male clients, were therefore responsible for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Not only in the UK, but also in other countries, such a double standard was fought. The abolitionist movement internationally and internationally questioned social and sexual conventions that had never been discussed publicly before.
Long before the dawn of the New Women’s Movement, Simone de Beauvoir had extensively analyzed the female situation in 1949 in her highly acclaimed work Le Deuxième Sexe (literally: the second sex, 1951 under the German title The Other Sex ). De Beauvoir’s initial questions are: What is a woman? Why is the woman the other? The philosophical background of their investigation is existentialism; it fills the gap left by the socialist approach to understanding the situation of women. The diversity of the sexes, which at the same time serves as justification for the oppression of women, is, according to de Beauvoir, not natural but cultural. The construction of women as the opposite sex can only be explained by the prevailing morals, norms and customs of a culture. In her book, Beauvoir calls on women not to be content with their status as a supplement to the man and to claim their equality in society in every respect. She campaigned for a demystification of motherhood and the right to abortion. The other sex is considered the standard work and starting point of the feminist philosophy.
Kate Millett impressed with her work sexual politics (1969, dt. Sexual Politics, 1970) critical discourse of radical feminism in the 1970s and 1980s. For the first time, the relationship between man and woman is understood as a relationship of domination and analyzed under this perspective. Kate Millett looks at patriarchy as the fundamental situation of exploitation and oppression, since it appears as a constant in almost all social formations, even in socialist ones. It is therefore above the class contradiction. Although Millett also described herself as a socialist, she demanded to combat the patriarchy immediately and immediately, without waiting for a socialist revolution that is not on the agenda. In this fight, men and women are irreconcilably opposed. In other parts of her book, she analyzes the anthropological and religious myths that justify the oppression of women. She also criticizes writers like D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller and Norman Mailer which she accuses of contributing to the humiliation and subjugation of women with her patriarchal eroticism. She addressed another important issue of feminism in the 1970s, namely, its position on sexuality and pornography.
Equality and difference are central categories in feminist discourse. Equality feminist theories are primarily critical of domination. They analyze the social reality of the sexes and examine the social construction of equality and inequality. Inequality feminism (also Egalitarian feminism or social feminism), the representatives of a fundamental equality of the sexes and justify the differences existing between the sexes mainly with social power structures and socialization of the people. This idea was first introduced by Simone de Beauvoir in The Other Gender (1949), according to which the woman is regarded as the “other” and social construct of the men.
In the 1970’s, numerous spiritual, esoteric or neo- naganist tendencies, influenced by feminism and sometimes even matriarchal ideas, arose, worshipping the “Great Goddess ” in her three forms as a maiden, mother and wise old woman. Some authors interpret this as a gynocentric approach. The historical witch hunt is interpreted from the point of view that it applied to all women. The witch hunt has destroyed women’s gynaecology. Depending on the current, witches are also the last followers of a religion of the Great GoddessRoger that. The simultaneous self-identification as a witch or magician is related to the attempt to reappropriate this knowledge. Influential representatives of spiritual feminism are the US American Starhawk ( The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess, 1979) and in Germany Luisa Francia and Ute Schiran. Starhawk’s ideas influenced the ritual practice of spiritual feminism in Germany.
Socialist feminism starts from a fundamental equality of the sexes and is sceptical of theses of a natural gender difference. He sees women’s oppression caused by two cooperative structures: capitalism and patriarchy. In the second women’s movement, he organized himself hierarchically and usually in line with a party, according to the Democratic Women’s Initiative. He is above all committed to women’s rights as a whole and regards them as a condition or element for overcoming the capitalist system. He also raises the question of unpaid home and reproduction work and their function for the system of capitalist production. Socialist or Marxist feminism is often associated with the labour movement.
The influences between feminist positions and the history of anarchism have so far been little researched and confined to a few outstanding individuals. For example, for the beginnings of anarchism in the mid to late 19th century, Virginie Barbet and André Léo combine anarchist and feminist positions. Louise Michel (1830-1905) was best known for her work during the Paris Commune. In the United States, feminist Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927) represented anarchist positions within the First International. An outstanding figure of American anarchist Emma Goldman (1869-1940). It stands for a systematic connection between feminism and anarchism, which also distinguished her private life. Personal and political freedom for women belonged to her – a central idea of feminism in the second half of the 20th century. In 1906 she wrote in the anarchist journal Mother Earth: “Emancipation should enable the woman to be human in the truest sense of the word.” Emma Goldmann focused on the “natural qualities of women”, on “boundless love” and motherly feelings. At the same time she fought for the revolution as Clara Zetkin, but was one of the first to criticize the Russian Revolution; she branded slavery and campaigned for freedom. While Goldman at least temporarily advocated violence as a political tool, Clara Gertrud Wichmann (1885-1922) introduced the principle of non-violence into political discourse in Europe. In the Spanish Civil War in 1936 the feminist anarchist women’s organization Mujeres Libres was founded. The Anarcha-feminism is an embossed in the 1970s flow of radical feminism, which expands it by elements of anarchist theory and practice.
Judith Butler, author of The Discomfort of the Sexes, and other feminist deconstructionist and post-feminist commentators, build on Beauvoir’s egalitarian feminism and go one step further: both the biological sex and the gender are social constructs Therefore, gender must be rejected as a classification unit.
Feminism has helped improve women’s equality with men in Europe and the United States. Since the emergence of the first feminist ideas almost two centuries ago and the resulting women’s movement, the situation of women has changed radically. In particular, the introduction of women’s suffrage in most European countries at the beginning of the twentieth century marked a turning point that significantly expanded women’s participation in women’s political and social lives. With the departure of rigid family structures, especially in the second half of the 20th century, the mission statements and lifestyles of many young women changed with traditional masculinity and outdated femininity images did not match anymore. The legal recognition and public scandalisation of gender-based violence against women promoted broad, gender-sensitive awareness of both personal attacks on women and subtle societal violence. At an international level, and based on the United Nations World Conference on Women held since 1975, women increasingly in the Third World have also developed platforms and initiatives that are increasingly interlinked internationally, leading to worldwide attention to the issue of Women’s Human Rights excited.