Mikhail Bakunin opposed patriarchy and the way the law "[subjected women] to the absolute domination of the man". He argued that "[e]qual rights must belong to men and women" so that women could "become independent and be free to forge their own way of life". Bakunin foresaw the end of "the authoritarian juridical family" and "the full sexual freedom of women". On the other hand, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon viewed the family as the most basic unit of society and of his morality and believed that women had the responsibility of fulfilling a traditional role within the family.
Since the 1860s, anarchism's radical critique of capitalism and the state has been combined with a critique of patriarchy. Anarcha-feminists thus start from the precept that modern society is dominated by men. Authoritarian traits and values—domination, exploitation, aggression and competition—are integral to hierarchical civilizations and are seen as "masculine". In contrast, non-authoritarian traits and values—cooperation, sharing, compassion and sensitivity—are regarded as "feminine" and devalued. Anarcha-feminists have thus espoused creation of a non-authoritarian, anarchist society. They refer to the creation of a society based on cooperation, sharing and mutual aid as the "feminization of society".
Anarcha-feminism began with late 19th and early 20th century authors and theorists such as anarchist feminists Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre and Lucy Parsons. In the Spanish Civil War, an anarcha-feminist group, Mujeres Libres ("Free Women"), linked to the Federación Anarquista Ibérica, organized to defend both anarchist and feminist ideas. Stirnerist Nietzschean feminist Federica Montseny held that the "emancipation of women would lead to a quicker realization of the social revolution" and that "the revolution against sexism would have to come from intellectual and militant 'future-women'". According to this Nietzschean concept of Federica Montseny's, women could "realize through art and literature the need to revise their own roles". In China, the anarcha-feminist He Zhen argued that without women's liberation society could not be liberated.
Virginia Bolten and La Voz de la Mujer
Cover of La Voz de la Mujer
, pioneering Argentinian anarchist feminist publication
In Argentina, Virginia Bolten is responsible for the publication of a newspaper called La Voz de la Mujer (English: The Woman's Voice), which was published nine times in Rosario between January 8, 1896 and January 1, 1897 and was briefly revived in 1901. A similar paper with the same name was reportedly published later in Montevideo, which suggests that Bolten may also have founded and edited it after her deportation. La Voz de la Mujer described itself as "dedicated to the advancement of Communist Anarchism". Its central theme was the multiple natures of women's oppression. An editorial asserted: "We believe that in present-day society, nothing and nobody has a more wretched situation than unfortunate women". They said that women were doubly oppressed by both bourgeois society and men. Its beliefs can be seen from its attack on marriage and upon male power over women. Its contributors, like anarchist feminists elsewhere, developed a concept of oppression that focused on gender. They saw marriage as a bourgeois institution which restricted women's freedom, including their sexual freedom. Marriages entered into without love, fidelity maintained through fear rather than desire and oppression of women by men they hated were all seen as symptomatic of the coercion implied by the marriage contract. It was this alienation of the individual's will that the anarchist feminists deplored and sought to remedy, initially through free love and then more thoroughly through social revolution.