There are overlaps among many feminist ideologies and for most people there is also no one-size-fits-all feminism. I like to think of feminism as a spectrum similar to gender.

Below are the most widespread forms of feminism, but it is by no means an exhaustive list. In examining where your values and beliefs align it’s important to remember that your views will shift overtime with more knowledge and experience. That’s ok, in fact, that’s a significant part of growing as a person.

Presently I identify as a womanist simply because it’s the closest ideology to accurately representing my beliefs, research and experiences. However, it doesn’t encompass all of my thoughts on what feminism should be or is about either.

Labels simply help us understand a person in general terms. Discussions help us better understand the individual in specifics. Don’t get caught up in the labels and be open to letting yourself grow and change over time.


This is also commonly referred to as White feminism. Which is a nod to the typical exclusion of marginalized groups within this feminism, not the race of the feminist who ascribes to this ideology.

Mainstream feminists don’t like generalizing language and reject terms that suggest all members of a group are the same. Racial oppression is usually uncomfortable for you to talk about.

Likely because it often brings up feelings of personal guilt and responsibility for issues around systemic and institutional racism. If you are white, it’s important to you that people acknowledge you are not personally racist.

The language people use should always be civil and their ability to control their emotions is important during discourse. You learn mostly from WW who may or may not identify as activists. However, overall, you have little left to learn about feminism.

Western women don’t need feminism because we already have the same rights as men. But feminism is definitely needed elsewhere in the world. For example, rape culture in the West is a myth. But, rape culture does exist for women outside of the West.

However, false rape accusations are becoming a widespread issue facing Western men. As a woman you struggle to relate to other women. You find them to typically lack the same depth of personality and complexity that men have.


As a liberal feminist, which is interchangeably referred to as reformist feminism, you support bodily autonomy for women. You’re pro choice because you believe women being able to control their body helps free them from certain forms of oppression.

You believe the current systems needs significant reform. But that it does not need abolishment as it is possible to make these systems function equitably. Reforming the legal framework of society is the ideal vehicle through which to promote equality.

There are great examples of how legislation has created equity for women. Including obtaining the right to vote and the right to education. People control their own access to rights and consequently everyone is responsible for advocating for their own rights.

On an individual level, everyone can create equality through their personal interactions with men and women. Sexual harassment is a pervasive problem within society and serves as proof that we live in a rape culture.

The best way to change this culture is through laws better protecting women. And holding rapists and harassers accountable for their crimes.

You believe the wage gap is a problem that negatively impacts all women. Also, that women are entitled to provide for their family just as much and in all the same ways men do, including financially.

Domestic violence is a serious issue that disproportionately impacts women. It needs to be eradicated to allow women equal opportunities to men. In couples involving a man and woman with children, the man should be equally responsible for parenting.

Black and womanist

The terms Black feminist and womanist are also used interchangeably. As a Black feminist or womanist you believe that systems of racism, sexism and classism are linked and cannot be viewed separately.

The gender roles of Black men and women do not match those of their white counterparts due to racism. Therefore dismantling gender roles is a second priority to racism and classism for you.

It’s not enough to not be racist. People have to be actively anti-racist in order to remove mechanisms of oppression like institutional and systematic racism.

Safe spaces for marginalized groups, especially ones that face multiple layers of oppression such as black women, are critical in working towards equality. Concepts like colour blindness are more harmful than they are helpful.This is because they disregard the element of racism that exists in social issues.

Even if all other forms of privilege are the same, the oppression that WW face is different than the oppression Black women face due to race. For example Black women experience sexualization in early childhood and fetishization of their race throughout their life. Which white women do not, on a systemic level.

Another example would be mainstream media. It perpetuates racism through tropes that dark skin is inherently masculine. And dark skinned women are best suited for positions of servitude.

Media also reinforces Eurocentric beauty standards, which enforces colourism and is inherently racist. Neither of these behaviours within media negatively or directly impact white women. But they do negatively and directly impact Black women.


As a cultural feminist you believe that women should be encouraged to develop their own values as current societal values are merely a reflection of male values. Your focus lies with building a women’s culture within society where men are not permitted.

The differences between men and women are psychological and socially constructed more-so than inherent. Male-defined constructs of women devalue women and women have limited their potential throughout history because of patriarchy.

You believe that women should be modest in their attire and conservative in their sexuality to obtain the respect of men. And that trans women blur the lines of gender and appropriate the female body, which in itself is a type of rape.

You feel that female traits should be celebrated and that these traits are superior to a male’s. The social burden placed on women is more complex and significant than even the burden of slavery.

Women are bonded through their womanhood and it transcends other issues such as race, class and sexuality.

Your focus is on reshaping lifestyle rather than politically focused as other branches of feminism are. Capitalism is a useful vehicle to help women overcome patriarchal barriers through female entrepreneurship.


As an eco feminist you believe that men exploit women and the environment. They do this by historically treating both like property. In this way it’s possible to draw parallels between the domination over nature by humans and the domination over women by men.

Women are connected to the environment through shared experience. They can heal nature because of their ability to nurture and this shared experience.

In fact, healing nature provides women the ability to claim power in a patriarchal society. You support the notion that egalitarianism can be obtained through a connection with nature.

Labour, power and property are both the framework of capitalism and the oppressors of women. You feel that capitalism only destroys the environment and that it has caused a divide between culture and nature. Material goods should be consumed as ethically as possible, with the goal of overturning capitalism entirely.

Male perspectives have largely and incorrectly deemed female knowledge and natural growth as “unproductive.” Patriarchal views on productively have led to medical childbirth which has stunted the development of midwifery and natural birth.

You believe that feminism is about ending oppression for everyone, this includes animals. Consequently, humans do not have a right to harm or kill animals for food or goods.

You view control over other bodies as a patriarchal pursuit and therefore using animals for our own means is wrong.

Post colonial

If you’re a post colonial feminist (also called third world feminist) you believe that personal attributes such as race, gender and class are core influencers in the fight for equality. And that there are long-lasting economic, political, and cultural effects of colonialism that still exist today.

To expand on that, you believe that experiences such as migration and slavery have reverberating impacts throughout society. However, behaviours like suppression, resistance, representation and difference all create lasting change in our culture.

White privilege exists throughout the world because of colonialism and evidence of this would be to point to the global existence of ethnocentric beauty standards.

You believe that colonialism has imposed Western gender norms in many countries throughout the world, to the disadvantage of the women directly impacted. Additionally, colonialism has erased incalculable portions of Indigenous, Native American, Aboriginal Peoples and First Nations’ culture.

As a post colonial feminist you feel that non-White non-Western women live unique gendered realities. Traditional practices and roles taken up by women in post colonials nations can and often do look different than Western norms.

You support the statement that it’s important to fight gender oppression within one’s own cultural models of society.


As a postmodern feminist you believe that gender is performative and constructed through social norms. Gender is not binary and sex and gender do not have a relationship.We are socialized to assume gender based on a person’s sex.

Therefore, historical accounts using gendered language are inherently inaccurate because they assume the individual’s gender based on their sex.

You believe we should be cautious of censorship, even of language such as hate speech, because it limits our freedom of expression and ability to communicate. In fact, the government should not be given the power to censor because it limits and controls both discourse and access to information.

You feel that censoring industries like pornography will likely result in an increase in demand, similar to the effects of prohibition. As a post modern feminist, you support the idea that most women wear makeup not because they want to, but because it’s socially expected of them.

Also, that women are more likely to be stay at home caregivers because it is expected of them due to their gender, not because it is necessarily what they willingly choose.

Because they are socialized not to show softer emotions, men cry significantly less often than women. Quite frequently, our desire to fit in and be accepted forces us to adhere to gender norms we don’t agree with.


As a radical feminist you believe that the male controlled capitalist hierarchy that exists is the main form of oppression women face and capitalism has to be dismantled in order for equity to be obtained.

In general, patriarchal gender relations are the main cause of inequality and society presently exists as though the male experience is the norm and everyone else’s experience is “other.”

You believe that bodily autonomy is a human right and medical options such as abortion should be legal. And you also view in vitro fertilization as a form of female empowerment and equality because pregnancy can occur without sexual contact, providing women with complete control over their bodies.

You agree with the statement that all men benefit from the patriarchal oppression of women, but that traditional gender roles are inherently oppressive to everyone. A part of obtaining equality would mean that men are contributing an equal amount of domestic labour.

At the same time, women will never have equality until rape culture is eradicated. You believe that the consumption of pornography negatively impacts society. Pornography permits the harm and exploitation of girls and women.

As a radical feminist you also believe that prostitution isn’t an empowering profession as it is typically entered through coercion or due to socioeconomics.

It also disproportionately impacts girls and women of color and the trans community because of issues like racism, sexism, classism, colonialism and capitalism. Prostitution reaffirms the notion that women’s primary function is to please men sexually and also normalizes the sexualization of women.

Both pornography and prostitution allow men to be dominate over women and no one can truly consent to their own oppression. You believe that women are entitled to experience and explore their own sexuality in ways that are comfortable for them.

You also believe that men are complex beings and it’s wrong to claim that men simply cannot control themselves sexually. And that toxic masculinity has a damaging impact on male sexuality and pressures boys and men into sexual situations they’re not comfortable with.


If you’re a socialist feminist you believe that women are oppressed due to capitalism and that capitalism negatively impacts everyone involved. You also believe that the entire system of capitalism needs to be dismantled because inequality is inherently part of its design.

You agree with the notion that there are more labour demands placed on women than men in both the workforce and the home. And that marriage, domestic labour, prostitution and childcare are some of the most common ways in which women are exploited.

Gender and class are connected and can be seen in societal norms such as a women’s class status being tied to her husband’s occupation.

In general, women are financially dependent on men and this prevents them from being entirely free and independent. The wage gap hinders women’s ability to be completely self reliant.

At the same time, reparations are needed to help support financial equality for black people in America. It’s important to remember that generational wealth (not skill or experience) is the reason why men are dominantly the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.


As a standpoint feminist you agree that due to oppression, women view and experience the world differently than men. However, the experience of women cannot be generalized because race, class, education, sexuality etc all create unique experiences for each woman.

History has largely been documented from a male perspective and therefore only takes a portion of reality into account. In order to have a comprehensive body of knowledge, it’s critical to obtain the perspectives of those who are often excluded from contributing information.

You believe that there is no true concept of essential truth because the perspective of women is absent. There is value in the situational knowledge that women possess. Therefore, policy that impacts a specific group should be written by consulting and collaborating with that group.

Mansplaining is a great example of how women’s perspectives, accomplishments and experiences are not viewed as equal to men’s. It’s important to normalize women speaking as frequently as men -and without interruption- as often as men because this is a key step towards equality for everyone.

You agree that it is often the case that oppressed people view an issue more objectively. They’re able to do so because they have to consider not only their own perspective, but also the perspective of the oppressor.

Each form of marginalized group (ie: black women, black women with disabilities, black women with disabilities who are poor) has a unique set of needs to liberate them from their oppression.


As an intersectional feminist you feel that everyone has a unique experience with oppression based on their race, sex, class, ability, education, sexuality, religion etc. As a result, it is possible for someone to hold privilege in one area while being oppressed in another.

You agree with the statement that it is not possible to treat any particular form of oppression in isolation. Oppression does not exist in a vacuum. This is why allyship is an integral part of obtaining equality. It’s valuable to learn about the experiences and oppression of other people.

Gender is not necessarily the primary form of oppression a woman faces, however, differences among oppressed groups must be identified in order for social and institutional changes to be implemented.

The disproportion between the domestic labour contributions of women and men is inherently sexist and oppressive. You feel that women and men are both entitled to bodily autonomy. This includes issues such as abortion, circumcision and surrogacy.

Erasure within areas of sexuality (ie: bisexual erasure) and race (ie: whitewashing history and colorism in media) is possible when forms of oppression are viewed compartmentally.

You also believe that institutional racism impacts BIPOC differently than it does WP and leads to different experiences within systems such as education, medicine and law.

You feel that white privilege does not mean that WP’s lives are easier, but that they’re not made harder specifically because of their race.

The Next Step

There are other feminist ideologies that are more specific to race and sexuality. To learn more, research:

Asian American feminism

Native American feminism

Chicana feminism

Colombian feminism

Lesbian feminism

Trans feminism