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A Look At Feminism Then and Now

By Cierra Simmons
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Topics to be discussed
Three waves of feminism
Riot Grrrls Feminism misconceptions

Four types of feminist

Mens Rights Movement Hot button feminist vocabulary

Waves of Feminism
First Wave
Think womens rights to vote

Second Wave
Think bra burning

Third Wave
Think modern feminism

First Wave
The First Wave of feminism lasted from the 19th to the early 20th century and is believed to have ended in 1920 when the 19th Amendment guaranteeing womens suffrage was ratified.
The main focus was on womens suffrage, or womens right to vote. The beginning of difficult relationship between feminists and people of color was at this time, as white feminists told POC, who were also fighting for their rights, that there wasnt enough room in their agenda for both fights.

Second Wave
Responsible for the infamous Bra Burning protests.
Dominant issues were sexuality and reproductive rights. More than just middle class white women, POC and poorer women joined the cause.
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Third Wave
Third Wave feminists, or modern feminists, have started taking back their bras and make up as well as the language that second wave feminists declared tools of oppression by a misogynistic society.
More inclusive and very against the us vs. them mentality. Issues range from rape culture to abortion, gender rights and identity, LGBTQI rights and family issues. Attempts at greater intersectionality. Slut Walks and protests at hot button issues and online discussions are the most prominent activities used to promote their agenda.

Riot Grrrls
An underground feminist punk rock movement that started in the mid 90s.
Grrrls address issues such as
Rape, domestic abuse, sexuality, racism, patriarchy, and female empowerment

Primarily associated with music (bands such as Bikini Kill, Jack Off Jill, Bratmobile) but also a commonly used term for radical feminists.

Riot Grrrls at a Slut Walk


Misconceptions About Feminists

All feminists hate men.
All feminists are lesbians. Men cant be feminists.

Feminism isnt needed anymore.

Misconceptions About Feminism

Four Types of Feminist

Conservative feminism criticizes feminism which encourges women to seek out male models of career ambition and public achievement as female goals. They assert that this is denying women's need for intimacy, family, and children. The fear is that equality means death to the family.
Liberal feminism sees all people as equal, therefore there should be equality for all. They see sexism as dysfunctional because it deprives society of one-half of it's creative work force. They think that oppression exists because of our socialization process.

Four Types of Feminism (cont.)

Radical Feminism sees the oppression of women as fundamental and unavoidable in present society. Other forms of oppression come from male dominance. The purpose of this oppression is to obtain psychological ego satisfaction, and strength and self-esteem.
Socialist Feminism links women's oppression to the class structure. Sexism is a way of rewarding the working class male; it gives them control over women. Women's work is less valued because it does not produce exchangeable goods.

Mens Rights Movement

A countermovement to feminism.
Many legitimate issues such as child custody rights, divorce, and false rape allegations. However many of these issues are covered in modern day feminism.

MRAs (mens rights acitvists) often come across as belligerent online trolls.
Most modern day feminists find MRAs laughable and the movement is generally regarded as misogynistic.

Hot Button Feminist Vocab

Misogynist The hatred or dislike of women or girls.
Pro-Choice the stance that women are capable of making reproductive choices for themselves, especially those regarding birth control and abortion.

Rape Culture A culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape.

In Conclusion
Feminism has come a long way since its days fighting for suffrage.
While many argue that there is no need for feminism any longer, statistics showing exceptionally high levels of violence towards women and unequal numbers of women in higher paid positions claim there is still plenty to fight for. Misconceptions about feminism ought not be taken at face value.