File Name: first second and third wave feminism .zip
Over time, the wave metaphor became a way to describe and distinguish between different eras and generations of feminism. In sum, the wave metaphor suggests the idea that gender activism in the history of the United States has been for the most part unified around one set of ideas, and that set of ideas can be called feminism.
The wave metaphor can be reductive. It can suggest that each wave of feminism is a monolith with a single unified agenda, when in fact the history of feminism is a history of different ideas in wild conflict.
And the wave metaphor can suggest that mainstream feminism is the only kind of feminism there is, when feminism is full of splinter movements. The MeToo generation gap is a myth.
Why women are worried about MeToo. Video: women are not as divided on MeToo as it may seem. But the wave metaphor is also probably the best tool we have for understanding the history of feminism in the US, where it came from and how it developed. Here is an overview of the waves of feminism in the US, from the suffragettes to MeToo. For 70 years, the first-wavers would march, lecture, and protest, and face arrest, ridicule, and violence as they fought tooth and nail for the right to vote.
As Susan B. The first wave basically begins with the Seneca Falls convention of The whole thing was organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who were both active abolitionists. They met when they were both barred from the floor of the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London; no women were allowed.
Anthony eventually established itself as a movement specifically for white women, one that used racial animus as fuel for its work. Were they truly not going to be granted the vote before former slaves were? And as the movement developed, it began to turn to the question of reproductive rights. In , Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the US, in defiance of a New York state law that forbade the distribution of contraception.
She would later go on to establish the clinic that became Planned Parenthood. In , Congress passed the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. In theory, it granted the right to women of all races, but in practice, it remained difficult for black women to vote , especially in the South.
The 19th Amendment was the grand legislative achievement of the first wave. Although individual groups continued to work — for reproductive freedom, for equality in education and employment, for voting rights for black women — the movement as a whole began to splinter. It no longer had a unified goal with strong cultural momentum behind it, and it would not find another until the second wave began to take off in the s.
Sojourner Truth Remarks by Susan B. Anthony at her trial for illegal voting There were prominent feminist thinkers before Friedan who would come to be associated with the second wave — most importantly Simone de Beauvoir, whose Second Sex came out in France in and in the US in — but The Feminine Mystique was a phenomenon.
It sold 3 million copies in three years. Women were right to be unhappy; they were being ripped off. Instead, it was revolutionary in its reach. It made its way into the hands of housewives, who gave it to their friends, who passed it along through a whole chain of well-educated middle-class white women with beautiful homes and families. And it gave them permission to be angry.
And once those 3 million readers realized that they were angry, feminism once again had cultural momentum behind it.
It had a unifying goal, too: not just political equality, which the first-wavers had fought for, but social equality. The phrase cannot be traced back to any individual woman but was popularized by Carol Hanisch. Wade guaranteed women reproductive freedom. The second wave worked on getting women the right to hold credit cards under their own names and to apply for mortgages. It worked to outlaw marital rape, to raise awareness about domestic violence and build shelters for women fleeing rape and domestic violence.
It worked to name and legislate against sexual harassment in the workplace. The second wave cared about racism too, but it could be clumsy in working with people of color. Earning the right to work outside the home was not a major concern for black women, many of whom had to work outside the home anyway. In response, some black feminists decamped from feminism to create womanism.
Even with its limited scope, second-wave feminism at its height was plenty radical enough to scare people — hence the myth of the bra burners. Despite the popular story, there was no mass burning of bras among second-wave feminists. But women did gather together in to protest the Miss America pageant and its demeaning, patriarchal treatment of women.
That the Miss America protest has long lingered in the popular imagination as a bra-burning, and that bra-burning has become a metonym for postwar American feminism, says a lot about the backlash to the second wave that would soon ensue. In the s, the comfortable conservatism of the Reagan era managed to successfully position second-wave feminists as humorless, hairy-legged shrews who cared only about petty bullshit like bras instead of real problems, probably to distract themselves from the loneliness of their lives, since no man would ever want a shudder feminist.
Another young woman chimed in, agreeing. That image of feminists as angry and man-hating and lonely would become canonical as the second wave began to lose its momentum, and it continues to haunt the way we talk about feminism today.
It would also become foundational to the way the third wave would position itself as it emerged. The Second Sex , Simone de Beauvoir The Feminine Mystique , B e tty Fried a n MacKinnon Gilbert and Susan Gubar Black Women and Feminism , bell hooks Sister Outsider , Audre Lorde But generally, the beginning of the third wave is pegged to two things: the Anita Hill case in , and the emergence of the riot grrrl groups in the music scene of the early s.
And for the young women watching the Anita Hill case in real time, it would become an awakening. Early third-wave activism tended to involve fighting against workplace sexual harassment and working to increase the number of women in positions of power.
Aesthetically, the third wave is deeply influenced by the rise of the riot grrrls, the girl groups who stomped their Doc Martens onto the music scene in the s.
The word girl here points to one of the major differences between second- and third-wave feminism. There should be no more college girls or coeds: only college women, learning alongside college men. But third-wavers liked being girls. They embraced the word; they wanted to make it empowering, even threatening — hence grrrl.
And as it developed, that trend would continue: The third wave would go on to embrace all kinds of ideas and language and aesthetics that the second wave had worked to reject: makeup and high heels and high-femme girliness. In part, the third-wave embrace of girliness was a response to the anti-feminist backlash of the s, the one that said the second-wavers were shrill, hairy, and unfeminine and that no man would ever want them. And in part, it was born out of a belief that the rejection of girliness was in itself misogynistic: girliness, third-wavers argued, was not inherently less valuable than masculinity or androgyny.
And it was rooted in a growing belief that effective feminism had to recognize both the dangers and the pleasures of the patriarchal structures that create the beauty standard and that it was pointless to punish and censure individual women for doing things that brought them pleasure. Third-wave feminism had an entirely different way of talking and thinking than the second wave did — but it also lacked the strong cultural momentum that was behind the grand achievements of the second wave.
Even the Year of Women turned out to be a blip, as the number of women entering national politics plateaued rapidly after Wade belongs to the second. Depending on how you count the waves, that might be changing now, as the MeToo moment develops with no signs of stopping — or we might be kicking off an entirely new wave. The Beauty Myth , Naomi Woolf Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics , bell hooks Feminists have been anticipating the arrival of a fourth wave since at least , when a letter writer to the Wilson Quarterly opined that the fourth wave was already building.
While a lot of media coverage of MeToo describes it as a movement dominated by third-wave feminism, it actually seems to be centered in a movement that lacks the characteristic diffusion of the third wave.
It feels different. By , the idea that we had entered a fourth wave was widespread enough that it was getting written up in the Guardian. Like all of feminism, the fourth wave is not a monolith. It means different things to different people. But these tentpole positions that Bustle identified as belonging to fourth-wave feminism in do tend to hold true for a lot of fourth-wavers; namely, that fourth-wave feminism is queer, sex-positive, trans-inclusive, body-positive, and digitally driven.
Bustle also claims that fourth-wave feminism is anti-misandry, but given the glee with which fourth-wavers across the internet riff on ironic misandry , that may be more prescriptivist than descriptivist on their part.
It has begun a radical critique of the systems of power that allow predators to target women with impunity. The Purity Myth , Jessica Valenti How to Be a Woman , Caitlin Moran Bad Feminist , Roxane Gay And there certainly are second-wave feminists pushing a MeToo backlash.
Die a hero or live long enough to become a villain, etc. But some of the most prominent voices speaking out against MeToo, like Katie Roiphe and Bari Weiss , are too young to have been part of the second wave.
Roiphe is a Gen X-er who was pushing back against both the second and the third waves in the s and has managed to stick around long enough to push back against the fourth wave today. Weiss, 33, is a millennial. Other prominent MeToo critics, like Caitlin Flanagan and Daphne Merkin , are old enough to have been around for the second wave but have always been on the conservative end of the spectrum.
The issues that divided early suffragettes still plague women today. For all the forward progress that has been made, women's rights activists have also taken steps backwards. Feminism, as a movement, has not done a good job at being inclusive of minorities. Women of color have been left on the peripheries while feminism has largely catered solely to white viewpoints. Feminism is spoken of in waves - first wave feminism encompasses the suffragettes of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century - the women who fought for the right to vote. Second wave feminism generally encapsulates the period from the s to the s. This period runs concurrent with anti-war and civil rights movements and the dominant issues for feminists in this time period revolved around sexuality and reproductive rights.
However, empowered by the constant connectivity of the internet and the strength of the MeToo movement, a new wave of feminists are speaking out in record numbers against discrimination. A new era for feminism has begun, full of passion, social-influencing power, and demanding change. Often taken for granted, women in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, realized that they must first gain political power including the right to vote to bring about change was how to fuel the fire. Their political agenda expanded to issues concerning sexual, reproductive and economic matters. The seed was planted that women have the potential to contribute just as much if not more than men.
History and theory of feminism The term feminism can be used to describe a political, cultural or economic movement aimed at establishing equal rights and legal protection for women. Feminism involves political and sociological theories and philosophies concerned with issues of gender difference, as well as a movement that advocates gender equality for women and campaigns for women's rights and interests. Although the terms "feminism" and "feminist" did not gain widespread use until the s, they were already being used in the public parlance much earlier; for instance, Katherine Hepburn speaks of the "feminist movement" in the film Woman of the Year. According to Maggie Humm and Rebecca Walker, the history of feminism can be divided into three waves. The first feminist wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the second was in the s and s, and the third extends from the s to the present. Feminist theory emerged from these feminist movements.
The third wave of feminism emerged in the mids. Although they benefitted significantly from the legal rights and protections that had been obtained by first- and second-wave feminists, they also critiqued the positions and what they felt was unfinished work of second-wave feminism. The third wave was made possible by the greater economic and professional power and status achieved by women of the second wave, the massive expansion in opportunities for the dissemination of ideas created by the information revolution of the late 20th century, and the coming of age of Generation X scholars and activists.
Feminism, a belief in the political, economic and cultural equality of women, has roots in the earliest eras of human civilization. Years later, during the Enlightenment , writers and philosophers like Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Mary Wollstonecraft , author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman , argued vigorously for greater equality for women. Women's History. Indeed, many women leaders of the abolitionist movement found an unsettling irony in advocating for African Americans rights that they themselves could not enjoy. Many attendees thought voting rights for women were beyond the pale, but were swayed when Frederick Douglass argued that he could not accept the right to vote as a Black man if women could not also claim that right.
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