Lesson 4 - Many have sounded the death knell of feminism,...

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Many have sounded the death knell of feminism, and feminism has been declared obsolete, irrelevant and passé. Is there a third wave of feminism? Today, feminism is much less a single, orchestrated social movement and is instead an eclectic mix of women and men organizing around a variety of issues. So while it worked for second wave feminists to fight for equality on all fronts and for all women, third wavers have recognized that that sort of movement is no longer useful in today's society. What, then, is feminism today? It's not surprising that so many young women struggle with the feminist label. And it's not because young women don't appreciate the suffragists of the first wave or the women's libbers of the second wave. It's also not because they are scared of being labeled man-haters, lesbians, witches, or any of the numerous stereotypes our media hurls at feminist women. Oftentimes, young women and men believe that being a “feminist” today requires all of us to be too perfect, too good, too much of an activist, a champion, a constant advocate. As Rebecca Walker (a popular third wave feminist) writes, “For many of us it seems that to be a feminist in the way that we have seen or understood feminism is to conform to an identity and way of living that doesn't allow for individuality, complexity, or less than perfect personal histories. We fear that the identity will dictate and regulate our lives, instantaneously pitting us against someone, forcing us to choose inflexible and unchanging sides, female against male, black against white, oppressed against oppressor, good against bad.” Third wave feminists want a different sort of feminism. We grew up in a time of bisexual, interracial, transgender, multiculturalism—we know that things are never either/or, and we want our feminism to reflect that. Third wave feminism is much more nuanced and individual and alternative. Many believe that the third wave of feminism started with the Riot Grrrl movement of the early to mid-1990s which spoke out about gender inequality through zines, web sites, and song lyrics. This new wave of feminism grew out of an analysis of everyday life, continuing and building on the feminist tradition of allowing
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This note was uploaded on 02/03/2010 for the course WMNST 001 taught by Professor Jenniferbeindorf during the Spring '07 term at Penn State.

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Lesson 4 - Many have sounded the death knell of feminism,...

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