Feminism is known as a movement of women, by women and for women. In a world where Aristotle considers female as a deformed male and men keep on dominating society. Women needs to fight against this domination, discrimination, and subordination to get their rights. All schools of feminist thought begin with the common assumption; women are vulnerable. Feminism solely stands for gender equality, independence, and empowerment to women.
Term Feminism originated in the 1880s in France, in the 1890s in Great Britain, and 1910 in the US. It is the amalgamation of two French words, “femme” and “ism,” which means women and political positions. It refers to political activism initiated by women.
The movement of modern women’s foremothers is Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen. They stand for the self-esteem, intelligence, and fundamental human rights of the female sex. The movement took excited in the late 19th century when the women’s tolerance against oppression became unbearable. Before the suffragette movement in the USA and England, women hold an unsatisfactory position. They were not allowed to vote and were considered politically incompetent to men. They were denied their fundamental rights and were restricted in every field, either socially, politically, or culturally. The feminist perspective that exists till today believes that women must be treated equally in society.
TYPES OF FEMINIST
Back in the late 19th century, feminists fought for their rights with vast unity. But over time, feminists divided into many types. The two main types are; Liberal Feminist goal is about equality in male dominant society, while Radical Feminist aims to dismantle the patriarchal structure.
Waves of Feminism
The famous journalist Rosemary Cadden, Women’s Suffrage Centenary Secretariat, defines the three waves as below,
1. The First Wave as Shrieking Sisterhood
2. The Second Wave as Women’s Liberation
3. The Third Wave as Glass Ceiling
THE FIRST WAVE OF FEMINISM
The title first wave of Feminism and the second wave of Feminism was coined by Journalist Marsha Lear of the New York Times in 1968.
The first wave of Feminism began in 1848, 1920. It was led by suffragists such as Susan Anthony, Margaret Sangar, Anna Shaw, and Elizabeth Stanton.
The battle for suffrage began in 1848 and continued till 1920. The first wave revolved around the suffrage movement where women fought for their right to vote and around the inequalities where women fought for their preliminary rights, i.e., education, marriage, property rights, employment, and health care.
Wollstonecraft is known as the mother of Feminism because she was the first to publish the book name, “A Vindication of women’s rights” in 1792, advocating women’s education rights. Another great philosopher Rosa Luxemburg also wrote many articles supporting women’s rights and universal suffrage.
The Abolitionist Movement
Back in 1800, the control of women in their life was minimal. They were far from education, political, social, and cultural rights. Similarly at the time, they cannot get higher studies and married at an early age with or without their consent. Women from the high class could exercise authority, limited to their houses, but still, they have no property rights. Women from the subordinate class were treated worse, and their position was the same as that of a slave.
In addition, the movement to end slavery begins in the early 20th century with the Abolitionist Movement. It was the first significant organized women’s resistance to sexism and patriarchy. As a result, in 1838, Angelina Grimke became the first American woman to speak before a legislative body, and in 1841 Lydia Child became the first female editor of a newspaper, The National Anti-Slavery.
Seneca Falls Convention 1848
In New York, the Seneca Falls Convention in Serena Falls was held in July 1848. Elizabeth and Mott organized it. The motive behind this was to connect women worldwide over the communal cause of equal rights. Elizabeth Cady read the Declaration of Sentimental modelled on the Declaration of independence. Whereas over 200 people signed the document and demanded equal rights.
The 19th Amendment 1920
The struggle of hard work of suffragists women was succeeded, as voting rights to women were given in the USA’s 19th amendment. However, Australia was the first country to give women voting rights in 1902 and the right to become a parliament member. New Zealand gave women voting rights in 1893, Finland in 1906, Norway in 1913, while the USSR in 1917.
THE SECOND WAVE OF FEMINISM
The second wave aroused with the slogan, “I am woman, hear me roar.”
While the first wave emphasizes achieving equal rights and opportunities for women and men, the second wave aim was to acquire the woman’s legal and social equality and assist for the termination of prejudice and misogyny. During the 1960s, man’s interference was necessary for financial matters. Women had limited financial access, the military also closed their doors for women based on their gender. Virginia Woolf, in 1938, wrote a letter to Three Guineas supporting women’s education and professional status. So that, the main focus of second wave of feminism was to fight for women’s reproductive rights and get rid of patriarchal society.
Simon de Beauvoir
The French Simon de Beauvoir, published in French 1949 and English in 1952, that ablaze activism by raising her voice against generation’s sexual discrimination. Similarly, the famous quote of the book “One is not born, but rather becomes a woman” describes how a woman is relating to man and not relating to her. based on the view that “existentialism precedes essence,” de Beauvoir reasoned that an Individual belongs to himself only and has absolute control over its destiny and fate. Above all, the patriarchal society has resulted in men producing all the cultural representations. Women now read themselves in terms of masculine definition and are ultimately losing their identity. Thus word thinks that women are just born to do household task, the home’s gendered world has crippled women’s ability to engage in the world. This book also highlighted the day to day frustrations experienced by housewives.
Betty Friedan, a liberal feminist, published a book in 1963, namely “the Feminine Mystique,” which defines the notion that women were lonely meant to be wives and mothers. After that, this publication set-off the second wave of Feminism that persisted until the 1980s and drastically changed society’s treatment of women.
Green and Judith little
On the other hand, the Australian Feminist Green wrote the book “The Female Eunuch” in 1970. She described the hatred of women against men and themselves. She also highlighted the internalized misogyny faced by them.
Another book named “Feminist Philosophy and Science Fiction” was written by Judith Little. She highlighted the hypocrisy of America. Judith Little said that the second wave of Feminism exploited the hypocrisy of American society. America preaches freedom and equality, and yet, coercion, hierarchy, and patriarchy flourished during the era. According to Judith Little, “People deserve to be treated as beings who can reason, make choices, and determine their plans and life.’ For Little, the perfect world is where women would be free to reach their potential, and they would be viewed as having the same potential as men.
Civil Right Movement and Feminism
The women’s Liberation Movement grew alongside the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. The second wave of Feminism demanded more than just voting rights. It focused on the goal of equal rights and opportunities for both sexes. The Civil Rights Movement, started by Martin Luther King for black Americans’ rights, made women realize that they were deprived of the rights they were agitating on others’ behalf.
Personal is Political
The feminist writer Carol Hanisch first coined, “The personal is political” this term was to inspire women to contribute actively in politics regarding the issues that affected them and make sure that representatives pay heed to women’s lives laws.
The word personal includes all those things one experiences as a woman in-home and workplace, and political refers to politicize these unique things. Emotional problems are political problems, and women’s issues on an individual level must be discussed on a political level. Also, all those issues must be considered as a political issue.
This concept was summarized by Charlotte Bunch concisely as “there is no private domain in a person’s life that is not political, and there is no political issue that is not ultimately personal.”
Accordingly, the second wave of Feminism resulted in the execution of the institution of sexual harassment laws and the passing of the title IX, which legally and officially summoned women in athletics.
likewise, other achievements include the formation of JFK’s Commission on the Status of Women and The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the passing of The Equal Pay Act and The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Nebraska passed the first law against marital rapes in 1976 and the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
The Third Wave of Feminism
Anita Hill Case 1991
In the year 1991, the third wave initiated with the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas by the Supreme Court. It gain attraction when Anita Hill, a law professor at the University of Oklahoma, share about her sexual harassment while being the EEOC head. Feminists were re-energized with enraged when Thomas was nominated as the Supreme Court Justice by the Senate. There was a drastic increment of women’s involvement in politics due to the Hill-Thomas controversy. The media witness the 1992 election as the “Year of Women” since, in the United States Senate 11 and the House of Representatives, 24 women won the seats.
Furthermore, In Rebecca Walker’s essay, this feminism reinforcement is mention as “Becoming the Third Wave,” published in the January 1992 edition of Ms. Magazine. In this article, she stated, “I am not a post-feminism feminist. I am the Third Wave.‘
FEATURES OF THIRD WAVE FEMINISM
Recognizing differences among women: Transversal Politics
All of a sudden, the second wave was criticized for being rested on the assumption that gender was the critical status around which all oppression was organized. Achieving gender equality without simultaneously achieving race and class equality is to achieve very little for those whose class or ethnicity is the primary source of oppression. The third wave not only focuses on the right to use power, family relationships, reproductive rifts, but also focus on economic independence -all of which vary by class and race. The third wave is similar to the second wave of Feminism. Still, it looks at it from the view of ‘all’ rather than merely the white middle-class women who seemed to oppress black women like white men.
Additionally, The third wave accepts diversity and is dedicated to developing alliances with men or any other groups who work against various kinds of harassment.
Engaging in everyday resistance
According to Jennifer, “our politics emerge from our everyday lives.” Third-wave feminist motivates the third wavers to challenge the racist comments in the workplace and be willing to reject class privileges.
Being Media Savvy
Third wavers learned new technologies and development from every means, i.e., news, channels, and blogs. The Mom-rising movement was to change the government’s policies regarding maternity leave, flexible work hours, and health care for children. Moreover, this movement relies on cyberspace mobilization to increase their memberships and keep their members updated. Third-wave feminist uses mass and social media to advance their ideas.
Embracing Aesthetic and Consumerism
The third-wave feminists have emerged as resilient, empowered, and eschewing discrimination. They now define beauty for themselves as a subject, not as objects of bigot patriarchy.
Third-wave Feminism kept its focus on individual identities, deals, and strategies. Rocker Gladen declares personal empowerment as a starting point for societal change. Thus, these feminists do not reject political activism but emphasize individualism. This effect will not instigate political change but rather solely creates changes in social norms.
Hence media, mainly, social media was used third-wave feminists to build on and go beyond the notions and endeavours of prior feminist movements to make Feminism more inclusive, individualistic, and involved with everyday life.
Feminism is a movement of women, by women and for women. Early struggles for Feminism started back in the 19th century, and there are three significant waves of Feminism. In conclusion, all three waves of Feminism, women have gained different majors rights by advocating and creating social pressure.