Individualist feminism

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Individualist feminism, sometimes also grouped with libertarian feminism, is feminist ideas which emphasize individualism.[1]


Individualist feminists attempt to change legal systems to eliminate class privileges and gender privileges and to ensure that individuals have equal rights, including an equal claim under the law to their own persons and property. Individualist feminism encourages women to take full responsibility for their own lives. It also opposes any government interference into the choices adults make with their own bodies because, it contends, such interference creates a coercive hierarchy (such as patriarchy).[2][3] One central theme of individualist feminism revolves around the Free Love Movement, which indicates that a woman's sexual choices should be made by her and her alone, rather than by government regulations.[4]

Individualist feminism was cast to appeal to "younger women ... of a more conservative generation"[5] and includes concepts from Rene Denfeld and Naomi Wolf, essentially that "feminism should no longer be about communal solutions to communal problems but individual solutions to individual problems",[5] and concepts from Wendy McElroy and especially Joan Kennedy Taylor.

The Association of Libertarian Feminists, founded in 1973 by Tonie Nathan, the Libertarian Party's Vice Presidential nominee in 1972, is one of a number of different kinds of individualist feminist organizations.[6] It takes a strong anti-government and pro-choice stand.[7][8] Other libertarian feminist organizations include Mothers for Liberty, the Mother's Institute, the Ladies of Liberty Alliance, and Feminists for Liberty.[citation needed]

Wendy McElroy and Christina Hoff Sommers define individualist feminism in opposition to what they call political or gender feminism.[9][10]

See also




  1. ^ Association of Libertarian Feminists
  2. ^ McElroy, Wendy, ed. (2002). Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st century. Ivan R. Dee, Publisher. ISBN 978-1-56663-435-9. 
  3. ^ Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered (Prometheus, 1992) and What to Do When You Don't Want to Call the Cops: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Sexual Harassment by Joan Kennedy Taylor (New York University Press, 1999)
  4. ^ McElroy, Wendy. "Individualist Feminism: The Lost Tradition". FEE. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Siegel, Deborah, Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild (N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan, 1st ed. 2007 (ISBN 978-1-4039-8204-9)), p. 123 and see pp. 122–124 & nn. 32–34 (author Ph.D., writer & consultant on women's issues, & fellow, Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership).
  6. ^ [1] Archived August 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ [2] Archived December 26, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ [3] Archived December 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ McElroy, Wendy (2002). Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st century. Ivan R. Dee, Publisher. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-56663-435-9. 
  10. ^ Sommers, Christina Hoff (1995). Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 320. ISBN 0-684-80156-6. 

Further reading

  • Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered by Joan Kennedy Taylor (Prometheus, 1992)
  • Uncivil Liberty: An Essay to Show the Injustice and Impolicy of Ruling Woman Without Her Consent (1873) by Ezra Heywood one of the first individualist feminist essays, by Ezra Heywood
  • Voltairine de Cleyre: The Exquisite Rebel
  • Libertarian Feminism: Can This Marriage Be Saved?
  • "Feminism in Liberty" by Sharon Presley
  • Liberal Feminism, essay including discussion of libertarian feminism
  • Davies, S. (1987). Libertarian Feminism in Britain, 1860–1910. Libertarian Alliance Pamphlet, no. 7.

External links

  • Association of Libertarian Feminists
  • iFeminists
  • Pro Choice Libertarians
  • The Mother's Institute
  • Ladies of Liberty Alliance (LOLA)
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