Modernism and Postmodernism in Feminism: A Conceptual Study on the Developments of its Definition, Waves and School of Thought

  • Mohd Hafiz Abdul Karim Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM)
  • Ariff Aizuddin Azlan Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)
Keywords: feminism waves, liberal, marxist, socialist, radical, modernism, postmodernism


This study seeks to identify the relations of modernism and postmodernism in feminism by looking deeply on the development of its definitions, waves of feminism and framework in its specific schools of thought; liberal, classical Marxist, socialist and radical feminism. By adapting qualitative descriptive study, this study covers mainly secondary data from English language sources, be it from books, academic articles or any literatures pertaining to this topic, which obtained from various databases. This study argues that modernism and postmodernism is the worldviews that become the essence of feminism. By looking at the variations of how feminism is studied, e.g. definitions, waves and school of thought, this study concluded that there are several points indicating the relations that exist between modernism and postmodernism with feminism. Modernism can be seen in the relational approach of the liberal, classical Marxist and socialist feminism in the first wave, which are more centered on education, politics and economic participation. Meanwhile, the relation of postmodernism to feminism is exampled in the deconstructing approach of the radical feminism that began from the second wave shown in their individualist views on sex, sexuality, motherhood, childbirth, and language institution. By identifying modernism and postmodernism as the essence of feminism, it can provide a thorough understanding on how it relates to the construction and development of feminism itself. Besides that, it also delineates pathway and limitation especially in providing critiques to feminism. Moreover, it also helps to provide a new paradigm in looking at the feminism based on its essences that surpasses traditional dimensions of feminism studies that usually separate feminism discourse into specific variations.



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How to Cite
Abdul Karim, M. H., & Azlan, A. A. (2019). Modernism and Postmodernism in Feminism: A Conceptual Study on the Developments of its Definition, Waves and School of Thought. Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH), 4(1), 1 - 14. Retrieved from

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