Women's Liberation

Feminism Glossary Definition

Definition: Women's liberation encapsulates the ideas of feminist advocacy, women's equality and rejection of male supremacy. Women's liberation as a movement works for social and economic rights while seeking ways to free women from oppression and gender discrimination. The phrase women's liberation became widespread during the 1960s and eventually became an umbrella term for many aspects of 1960s and 1970s feminism.

The central idea of women's liberation is the concept of freeing women, as a whole, from the sex discrimination and injustice that have existed throughout historical and modern societies.

In response to the term women's liberation, many social critics have asked, "Liberation from what?" While women's liberation has sometimes been (mis)understood to mean liberation from men, most feminists actually call for liberation from the structures of patriarchal society that disadvantage women as a class. Many feminist theorists point out that an inherently discriminatory society is harmful to all of humanity - men, women and children.

Women's liberation was often shortened to "women's lib" and popularly referred to that way by voices in national media and by many individual women themselves. This glib "women's lib" abbreviation has been seen as a typical backlash reaction against feminism, because it seeks to trivialize feminist concerns while reframing the debate, in this case, from the serious idea of liberation to a more fanciful sounding concept.

See also: Women's Liberation Movement

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Napikoski, Linda. "Women's Liberation." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2016, thoughtco.com/womens-liberation-3528927. Napikoski, Linda. (2016, March 3). Women's Liberation. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/womens-liberation-3528927 Napikoski, Linda. "Women's Liberation." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/womens-liberation-3528927 (accessed November 21, 2017).