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Historical Movement Of The Waves Of Feminism From 1960 To Nowadays

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Throughout history, women have fought hard for equal rights, after centuries of oppression and discrimination. Women in the past did not have rights to an education, freedom of speech, to equal pay (Reference). To understand how feminism has changed from the 1960s to today, it is important to define what feminism is. “Feminism is a theory of how theorization of dominance and submission creates, gender, creates women and man in the social form in which we know”. To present, women and men should both have equal rights and opportunities. This report examines the changes of feminism through the different waves of feminism. The analysis of each wave of feminism includes the positive and negative changes derived from the movements. Though this question is answered by looking at the waves of feminism, the first wave of feminism will not be included in the analysis as it is a concept that emerged before the 1960s. Overall feminism has changed positively throughout history to provide a step closer to achieving equality among everyone.

Through the second wave of feminism otherwise referred to as the women liberation’s movement influenced economic, social, and political changes to society (Segal, 1999). The second wave of feminism “arose out of the upsurge of radical and socialist politics in the late 1960s” (Segal, 1999: 1-9). This period of time acknowledged women’s cultural and political inequalities were closely linked and inspired women to join forces to create the largest social movement known to America (Baxandall & Gordan, 2005). According to Julia Kristeva (1979), this movement was focused on critiquing all patriarchal practices to attempt to create a counter society focusing on women (Kristeva, 1979). The work of Betty Friedan’s book the feminine mystique was said to be a big catalyst, to influence the second wave of movement. This was because her book acknowledged the fact women were perceived as the second sex, although it was not argued that women were inferior to men during that time period. From a young age, women were all groomed to be housewives, the role of a housewife at the time, appeared to be described, as the female version of achieving the American dream (Friedan, 2010). Women were told to marry, become a housewife for the husband, and to birth and raise children, this gave women no free time. Although technology like washing machines, dishwashers helped spare time with housework for women to minimize the load (Friedan, 2010: Binard, 2017). The lives of these women were full of misery, and dissatisfaction, “Words like emancipation and career” (Friedan, 2010: 8) were not spoken of, it was considered unfeminine. This resulted in awareness to understand that many women are experiencing the same cause of dissatisfaction. Friedan’s creation resulted in 1966 to the National organization of women (NOW) to raise consciousness (Binard, 2017). The NOW organization aimed to change laws, on topics like abortion, equal pay, to create equality among genders on factors to fair rights to education (NOW, 2016). To cause awareness across the issue of equal pay, as men were receiving higher pay for the same jobs, it was unfair. The Ford women Dagenham strike in 1968, to cause awareness of the unjust fight for equal pay. Through media attention, this strike was able to catch the eye of Barbara Castle the minister of Employment, and cause an outrage reaction. The strike appeared to be successful in increasing women’s pay, though it was only up to 92% of what the men earned, this strike helped to create the 1970 Equal Pay Act (Binard, 2017). Another influence was women set up consciousness-raising groups, to campaign for women’s reproductive rights to allow abortion, equality among genders for education, employment and the lead to the creation of birth control pills, which allowed women to not only control their own body but allow more women to engage themselves in careers (Phillips & Cree, 2014).

Although the second wave of feminism helped millions of lives, this movement only focused on improving the lives of white middle-class women. A critique of the movement, it failed to acknowledge equality among racial and ethnic women, “Women liberations as exclusively white”. Racial women were not only discriminated against by their gender but their race. Activist Bell Hooks in her book: Ain’t I a woman: Black women and feminism, talked about the problems she faced during this time of women’s liberation, she felt as though she did not belong. Though this movement sought to provide equality to both genders. Black women were victims of sexual and racial oppression, with unequal rights to white women and black men.

The third wave of feminism surfaced in the 1980-the 1990s, in response to the critiques of the second wave of feminism. The first theorist to coin the term third wave of feminism was Rebecca Walker in 1992 (Aragon, 2005). The wave was aimed include to people from wider social backgrounds than to exclude to tackle issues like violence and discrimination. Kimberlee Crenshaw 1989 coined the term intersectionality, after the inequality faced, as women that had rights due to the second wave of feminism were white, and middle class. The term intersectionality is used as an analytic tool, to understand complexities in the world. Aspects of humanity like race, gender are interwoven to cause a bigger inequality. This wave of feminism was aimed to destroy the stereotyped role assigned to gender and acknowledged the diversification of women’s perspectives and interests. An outcome of this wave was the Queer theory which supported the intersections of gender and sexuality that did not map in the simple binary of ‘men’ and ‘female’. This theory created a platform for lesbians, gays, transsexuals, and trans genders. This theory helped the influence of transfeminism which believed that people should be given the right to construct their own gender.

A critique of this wave of feminism is it lacks structure as this wave does not have a sole purpose to fulfill like the previous waves of feminism. The second wave of feminism sought to achieve gender equality through equal pay and education. The third wave did not have a cohesive aim and was compared to be an extension of the second wave of feminism.

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The fourth wave of feminism was regarded as the post-2000s movement, with a big user of social media, the aims of the feminist movement concentrated on sexual assault and ending violence against women. This wave of feminism sought to battle the problems of sexism, misogyny, and body shaming, through the use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The second and third waves of feminism were believed to be the influencing factors of the fourth wave of feminism. However, the internet was a profound difference to the change from the third-wave to the fourth wave of feminism. As feminists were able to unite from all over the world to create a global community for women to join forces and fight for equal rights around the world to become activists (Munro, 2013).

This wave of feminism is about empowerment allowing women to have the same equality as men. Women using social media were able to seek justice using social media to speak against their abusers (Phillips & Cree, 2014). Women in this period of feminism were able to stick together, to have a powerful voice to stand up for what’s right. A campaign that was a big influence from the feminism movement is the #Me Too campaign, to tackle sexual assault and harassment, to encourage people to speak about their experience through a strong sense of community. The hashtag gives people a voice all over the world, it is a symbol of hope and support (MeToo, 2018).

Although this wave of feminism provided many positive aspects to society. Women are still being objectified and still seen as the inferior sex. The social media platforms used to encourage feminism, also provides a platform for negativity, hatred across women. An example of a misogynist today is Donald Trump, he used social media platforms like Twitter, not only to state sexist comments about women but to positively talk about sexual assaulting others. When it was discovered he was elected for the position of President, it led to a feminist protest against Donald Trump. Feminists feared the renewal of laws on the rights of women like the right to abortion.

Through recent years the rise of feminism, influenced, females to endless possibilities, there are more females in stem-related subjects and careers. This has caused a positive influence as it allows employees of a business to be stimulated by the diverse atmosphere, to expand new ideas and competitive environment, to additional, encourage younger generations of girls to aspire to chase their dreams and go into stem related careers.

In conclusion, the historical movement of the waves of feminism, were years full of hard work and strength, leading to the progressive and misfortune narratives of the social movement. Overall, feminism has changed for the positive since the 1960s, as through time it had the influence to later generations of people, to create a life different from the one before, to deter expectations and perceptions on people’s lives. In Past events, women had come from a time where they would have to marry, to be set financially in life. Where women were told, the only job they should be doing is looking after their husband and kids. Women were victimized by intersected inequalities like gender, race, and sexual orientation. In recent times women can choose to do what they want and go down whichever career pathway they choose. Discrimination across genders is minimized, although misogyny is still on the rise. Women have fought hard to come to the society we live in today, yet the battle of feminisms is not at its final stages, as to live in a world free of opinions, full equality among the sexes, will be difficult to achieve, but after ancestors fighting hard for rights, with the use of social media many positive changes are yet to be discovered.

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Historical Movement Of The Waves Of Feminism From 1960 To Nowadays. (2021, September 06). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/historical-movement-of-the-waves-of-feminism-from-1960-to-nowadays/
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Historical Movement Of The Waves Of Feminism From 1960 To Nowadays. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/historical-movement-of-the-waves-of-feminism-from-1960-to-nowadays/> [Accessed 29 Nov. 2022].
Historical Movement Of The Waves Of Feminism From 1960 To Nowadays [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 06 [cited 2022 Nov 29]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/historical-movement-of-the-waves-of-feminism-from-1960-to-nowadays/
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