Capitalism and Marxist Feminism

I’m assuming that the initial question posed (…), “how do both Marxist and Socialist feminism broaden concepts of inequality?“, is in comparison to inequalities noted by liberal feminism. Liberal feminism regards inequalities based on gender specifically, but Marxist feminism extends the influences of inequalities to include “the economic structure and the material aspects of life” (Lorber 52). In other words, class becomes a large component to feminist criticisms. Whereas, socialist feminism extends the factors of inequalities to not only include class but race as well (Lorber 75). Overall, intersectionality becomes a large component in socialist feminism.

Personally, I gravitate towards the concepts regarded by Socialist feminists. Inequalities can better be observed through the acknowledgement of not only gender, but class and racial ethnicity as well. I wonder if I experienced an example of this at work today while training a young male international student. Recently, training has included a module where a team member guides the trainee throughout the store as they ask customers about their shopping experience. I’ve done this numerous times with female trainees of different ethnicity and one white male trainee and have always been happily accepted by the customers. But today, as the new trainee approached customers, four of the customers were quick to keep distance and say no. We only needed five surveys completed. I became aware of how in a public service sector, I had a source of privilege as a white woman as compared to the racial ethnic, male trainee. 

I also want to respond to [the] question: “do you think we can destroy the gendered and racial inequalities caused by capitalism without destroying capitalism itself, or is it necessary to destroy capitalism to do so?

Ultimately, I think we can destroy the gendered and racial inequalities caused by capitalism through destroying capitalism itself if we regarded positions in power/work to be infinite. From my understanding, a capitalist society is socially constructed by the people and not the state to maximize profit, thusly positions tend to have finite power. Yet, there is the power to create jobs to dismantle present inequalities. There is the power to create jobs that allow women to be mothers, as well as breadwinners. There is the power to allow men to be homemakers as well as breadwinners. In other words, there is the power to raise humanity to equal, high status without threatening the class of another. Yet, it becomes difficult to recognize the process as well as what these positions can be.

Evelyn Nakano Glenn notes through a Marxist feminist perspective that interdependence is established between White women and racial ethnic women. White women gain their power through the subordination of racial ethnic women. Noted, “this analysis suggests that if these special forms of exploitation were to cease, White women as well as men would give up certain privileges and benefits” (Nakano Glenn 64-65). Ultimately, to me, this notion suggests that power becomes limited, similar to a pulley system; as one increases, the Other decreases to maintain the harmony within power. 

Similarly, Leslie McCall writes “those who have been concerned with gender inequality have been the most likely to recognize the strategic importance of certain kinds of ‘new’ employment arrangements that have long been the domain of women” (77). Usually, people in power tend to stay in power because they don’t want to lose that position. This means that they will feel threatened if someone were to raise to power as well. This is a concept I learned in Philosophy in Science Fiction in regard to Machiavelli, The Prince. I believe this concept ties in well with teachings in past feminist courses that power is often seen as a finite source, when in reality, it’s infinite.

Courtesy of Hickerson, S. (2018, September 26). Re: Feminizing Equalities [Online discussion group]. Retrieved from


Lorber, J. (2012). Gender Inequality: feminist theories and politics. (5th edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

McCall, L. (year). Essay Title. In Lorber, J. (2012). Gender Inequality: feminist theories and politics. (5th edition) (p.p. 95-102). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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