Explain conflict feminist theory.

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Conflict feminist theory could denote the idea that feminism can be looked at as a conflict theory. Just as Marxism is concerned with social, political, and class conflicts, feminism is concerned with those same issues but as they apply to the conflict between men and women and the inequality that results from it. 

Conflict in feminism could also refer to the many different theories of feminism and any possible conflicts between them. For example, some feminists focus on gender as a performance, some focus on economic causes of gender inequality, and some focus mostly on language and literature. Conflicts may arise as to what the causes of inequality are and how to approach them: radically or gradually. 

Some feminists subscribe to and encourage a united feminism; focusing on the shared beliefs of each theory. However, many theorists find this idea of a monolithic, united feminism unappealing because it supposes that the notion of "feminine" or "woman" can be boiled down to one thing. In historical patriarchal discourse (the language and institutions governed and manipulated by men), women have been relegated to a specific role: woman's place in the home, obedient to her husband, etc. So, feminists who are opposed to a united feminist theory are so opposed because a single theory is too simplistic; and it speaks to that single, simplistic role in which men have historically categorized women. 

So, the conflicts in feminism could refer to the basic conflict of inequality: that between women and men. It could also refer to conflicts among the different theories of feminism. Finally, it could refer to the conflict between the theorists in favor of diverse feminist ideas and those theorists who support a united feminist theory. 

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