were a product of the very system to be replaced, hence a ‘revaluation of all values’ was required. Connecting these arguments was a belief in the real moral equality and value of men and women. This belief in the ‘metaphysical’ equality of all human beings existed side by side the beliefs that the two sexes are biologically different and the belief that because social systems change over time, the human subject - who is a result of such social processes - their abilities and characteristics, also changes. This theory of the changing human subject, constituted through her social relations, inaugurated a break from the ‘abstract individualism’ of liberalism and existentialism and this would, in the end, remove from the feminist project its ability to defend its humanist moral position. The growing distance, the gap, between second wave feminism and third wave feminism, described by Ann Brooks, seems premised on a very rough description of the variety of positions within radical feminist as essentialist and ahistorical.
These questions, perplexed second wave feminists during the 70s and, when trying figure a path through, arguments concerning the nature of patriarchy and the causal origin of oppression became paramount. Socialist and Marxist feminists were not inured from such arguments raging within the women’s movement. Fundamentally they wished to analyse the material structures of patriarchy and capitalism but had to first decide whether or not patriarchy should be analysed as a set of social institutions distinct from capitalism, with its own history and its own causal origins. If capitalism could be defined as the appropriation and exploitation of labour by one class of another then could patriarchy be defined as the appropriation of labour and sexuality by one class, men, of another, women. If so, what is the relationship, specifically what is the relationship between production and reproduction? Is male dominance the creation of capitalism or is capitalism one expression of male dominance? Marxist feminists attempted to identify gender relations in the context of production and reproduction as understood within historical materialism; women were important in the struggle as workers not as women. Dual systems theorists argued that patriarchy and capitalism are two distinct systems that only contingently intersect: capitalist patriarchy.