What is liberal feminism and how does it differ from other feminist theoretical perspectives?  Provide a critique of liberal feminism.

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Liberal feminism concerns itself primarily with the ability of women to have equal access to economic and educational opportunities, as well as the right to make their own reproductive choices. Many of the advances for women that were achieved in the 1970s were through the work of liberal feminists who fought for the right to an abortion, an end to sex discrimination in employment, greater access to capital, equal access to education, affordable childcare, and improved wages and work conditions. 

The critique against liberal feminism is that it has mainly concerned itself with the concerns of white, middle-class women. Socialist feminism sought to broaden fairness and equality for women of different races and from lower socioeconomic strata. It focused less on private sphere issues and more on the public sphere. Its main argument was that true equality between the sexes could not be achieved in a capitalist society which thrived on inequality. Thus, for socialist feminists, capitalism was at the root of their oppression. Arguably, law professor Kimberle Crenshaw's theory of intersectionality -- that is, the notion that all forms of oppression are interconnected and should not be regarded distinctly -- arises out of socialist feminist views. 

On the other hand, radical feminists saw patriarchy (male-dominated society) as the root of all of women's problems. Patriarchy had allowed for the sexual exploitation of women, which was the focus of concern for radical feminists. Andrea Dworkin is most notable for raising the argument, in her essay "Intercourse," that sex renders women inferior, and that most -- if not all -- forms of sex amount to rape. She, along with Susan Brownmiller and Catherine MacKinnon, are well-known for their anti-pornography campaigns. Ironically, this stance linked radical feminism to the evangelical movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s, which also sought to ban the sale of pornography.

It is important to note that there has been a counterargument to radical feminist theories about sex. Sex-positive feminism embraces all sex, as long as it is safe and consensual. Sex-positive feminists also assert that there is no "right" or "wrong" response to pornography. Once again, the core value is consent. Some pornography is sex-positive, while other forms may not be.

Along with the classist critique against liberal feminism, sex-positive feminists have also accused some liberal feminists, notably Gloria Steinem, of taking on a patronizing view of women who choose sex work. Steinem, in the past, has spoken out against pornography, using Linda Lovelace of "Deep Throat" as an example of how the porn industry hurts women. Presently, she has been vociferously critical of those who argue for the decriminalization or legalization of prostitution, assuming that all women who enter the trade do so only out of desperation or coercion. 

This attitude among liberal feminists is one of the reasons why feminism has become distasteful to many young women today, particularly the young, white, middle-class women who were the faces of the movement forty years ago. Moreover, the prominence of radical feminists, such as Dworkin, allowed for conservatives to make the argument that feminism was really misandrist, or anti-male.

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