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A Brief History: The Three Waves of

Feminism
SEPTEMBER 22, 2015 BY CAROLINE DOREY-STEIN 12 COMMENTS

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While the roots of feminism are buried in ancient Greece, most recognize the movement
by the three waves of feminism. The third being the movement in which we are currently
residing.

The first wave (1830s early 1900s): Womens fight for equal contract and
property rights

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.

[Image from Pixabay]

The second wave (1960s-1980s): Broadening the debate


Coming off the heels of World War II, the second wave of feminism focused on
the workplace, sexuality, family and reproductive rights. During a time when the United
States was already trying to restructure itself, it was perceived that women had met their
equality goals with the exception of the failure of the ratification of the Equal Rights
Amendment (which has still yet to be passed).

Misconceptions

This time is often dismissed as offensive, outdated and obsessed with middle class
white womens problems. Conversely, many women during the second wave were
initially part of the Black Civil Rights Movement, Anti Vietnam Movement, Chicano
Rights Movement, Asian-American Civil Rights Movement, Gay and Lesbian Movement
and many other groups fighting for equality. Many of the women supporters of the
aforementioned groups felt their voices were not being heard and felt that in order to
gain respect in co-ed organizations they first needed to address gender equality
concerns.

Women cared so much about these civil issues that they wanted to strengthen their
voices by first fighting for gender equality to ensure they would be heard.

The third wave (1990s present): The micropolitics of gender equality

Today and unlike the former movements, the term feminist is received less critically by
the female population due to the varying feminist outlooks. There are the ego-cultural
feminists, the radicals, the liberal/reforms, the electoral, academic, ecofeminists the
list goes on.

[Image from Pixabay]

The main issues we face today were prefaced by the work done by the previous waves
of women. We are still working to vanquish the disparities in male and female pay and
the reproductive rights of women. We are working to end violence against women in our
nation as well as others.
We are still fighting for acceptance and a true understanding of the term feminism, it
should be noted that we have made tremendous progress since the first wave. It is a
term that has been unfairly associated first, with ladies in hoop skirts and ringlet curls,
then followed by butch, man-hating women. Due to the range of feminist issues today, it
is much harder to put a label on what a feminist looks like.

Quite frankly, it all comes down to the dictionarys very simple yet profound definition:
the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. If thats
what a feminist is who wouldnt want to be called that?

Learn more about how Feminism is defined: Feminism: Why Not Egalitarianism or
Humanism?
What Great Female Leaders in History
Can Teach Us About Todays Workplace
JULY 14, 2015 BY KEVIN ERDMAN LEAVE A COMMENT

We in the 21st century tend to view women in the workplace and womens leadership as
unique to the modern era. This is largely because of the influx of female workers during
and after WWII, and the increase of women graduating college and entering
professional careers since the mid-20stCentury.

However, human history is filled with innovative woman leaders who rocked their
respective epoch. They serve as shining examples of how we can move the womens
leadership movement forward today. Here is our list of great female leaders in history.
Mary Wollstonecraft | Author | 1759-1797

Our first historical female leader is often cited as the first feminist or mother of
feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft. Her most famous work, A Vindication for the Rights of
Women, is one of the pillars of feminism and the womens equality movement.

She lived and wrote at the tail end of the Age of Enlightenment. The ideals of humanism
and natural rights at the time were only being applied to men consider the American
Revolution, which established that only men had the right to vote.

Her work dealt with expanding the idea of individual liberties towards women. She
supported herself entirely on her own as her abusive father squandered the family
wealth before she came of age. Her life and work remain a tremendous influence today.

Lesson: When confronted with the double standards and limited options, you must
forge your own path.

Queen Elizabeth I | Queen of England | 1533-1603


Queen Elizabeth I is not only one of the greatest female leaders in history, she is one of
the greatest leaders, period. Though her ascension to the throne was tumultuous, her
44-year reign was a period of peace, prosperity and art. When first coming to power,
Elizabeth I successfully ended an active war with France and quelled many of the
religious disputes still stemming from her fathers break with the Catholic Church.

During her reign, the British Navy defeated the infamous Spanish Armada. Her love of
the arts helped spur an artistic renaissance in England, with notable playwrights and
poets William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and Edmund Spenser all producing
work under her reign. Despite using potential marriage alliances as a political device,
Elizabeth I never married, earning her the title The Virgin Queen.

More importantly though, she never shared her regal power with a husband and king.
As one of the greatest European monarchs, Elizabeth I has been honored in literature,
song, and film; she continues to inspire women and heads of state alike. Her most
lasting legacy is her commitment to improving the lives of the people of England. The
period of her reign is often called the Golden Age.

Lesson: Taking over management in a difficult time creates the opportunity to establish
lasting success, but at times compromise and strong will are necessary to achieve it.

Katherine Graham | Publisher, Chairwoman of the Board, CEO | 1917-2001


American publisher Katherine Graham was the first female CEO of a Fortune 500
company in history. Following the death of her husband and Washington Post president,
Philip Graham in 1962, Katherine took the reins of the paper. She ascended to de facto
publisher in 1963, president in 1967, official publisher in 1969, CEO in 1972, and held
the title Chairwoman of the Board from 1973-1997.

She guided the paper through the Watergate Scandal, which led to President Richard
Nixons resignation when Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein broke the story.
Graham was very involved with the day-to-day operations of the paper and was
considered a working publisher. In addition to Watergate, the paper investigated
Vietnam and other controversial issues of the day, earning the reputation of the second
most respected paper in the country.

As the first and only female Fortune 500 CEO, Graham often felt that she had no role
models to look up to. She also felt that many of her male staffers and competitors did
not respect her because she was a woman. Her ascension to power coincided with the
Womens Liberation movement and she took it upon herself to promote gender equality
at the newspaper. In 1997, she published her memoir, Personal History, which won the
Pulitzer Prize in 1998. She won numerous honors in life and in death and is considered
to be one of Americas greatest publishers in the 20 th century.

Lesson: Striving towards an objective standard of excellence regardless of others


expectations changes expectations over time.

Hatshepsut | Queen/Pharaoh | 1508 BCE 1458 BCE


Hatshepsut came into power as Queen of Egypt when she married her half-brother,
Thutmose II. Following his death, she started acting as Queen Regent while holding the
throne for her stepson Thutmose III, who was only an infant. However, around 1473
BCE she took on the full powers as Pharaoh co-ruling with her stepson and nephew.
The move caused many objections and she relied on her heritage and allies to secure
her position.

She reinvented how the process of ascending to power worked in order to effectively
rule her nation. Not as concerned with military conquest as other pharaohs of the time,
she focused her time and energy on expanding Egypts trade, arts and construction. Her
reign saw Egypt grow in power and influence. At her orders, artisans and craftsman
portrayed her as a male pharaoh. This is likely due to the lack of precedent for artistic
regalia depicting a female pharaoh.

Following her death, Thutmose III ordered any depictions of her life and legacy
removed, likely out of fear it would inspire other female leaders. It was not until the
hieroglyphics on the walls of Deir el-Bari, her largest construction project and tomb,
were deciphered in 1822 that her story as added to the history of Egyptian Pharaohs.

Lesson: At times it is necessary to reinvent the status quo in order to earn the title one
deserves and effectively do ones job.

Elizabeth Blackwell | Medical Doctor | 1821 1910


Elizabeth Blackwell achieved the distinction of becoming the first female to earn a
medical degree in the United States. Born in England, she moved to America at the age
of 11 when her father emigrated to fight for the abolition of slavery. Despite her studies
mostly focusing on history and metaphysics and an early aversion to medicine, she
eventually decided to pursue a medical degree. However, in order to achieve this,
Blackwell had to improvise a pathway to earning her degree.

After studying medicine independently for one year she applied to numerous medical
schools in Philadelphia and New York. She was accepted to Geneva Medical College in
western New York. The faculty of the school allowed the student body to vote on her
admittance, with the stipulation that if even one student voted no, they would not admit
her. They voted yes unanimously considering it a joke.

She graduated and earned her medical degree two years later in 1847. For much of her
career she experienced difficulty finding work on account of her gender, but she
eventually opened her own practice in New York City. A staunch supporter of the Union
and the abolition of slavery, she also gave aid and trained nurses during the Civil War.
During her career she also worked with other female doctors and wrote numerous
books including Medicine as a Profession For Women in 1860, Address on the Medical
Education of Women in 1864 and Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to
Women in 1895.

Lesson: Trailblazing a new standard reaches its greatest contribution when the newly
forged path opens new roads for others to follow.

Throughout history women have not only held important leadership positions but thrived
in them, even when women in general were not allowed to be leaders. The lives and
struggles of those women in power provide great insights into what it takes to overcome
traditional barriers to womens leadership. We hope you feel inspired by these great
female leaders in history.
Equal Means Equal: Passing the
Equal Rights Amendment
AUGUST 4, 2015 BY CAROLINE DOREY-STEIN LEAVE A COMMENT

Most everyone has heard of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) a proposed
amendment to the US Constitution designed to guarantee equal rights for women. Did
you know it was first introduced to the Congress in 1923 and reappeared in revised
plans in 1972 only to die due to an insufficient number of state ratifying it.

On Thursday, July 9th, The Carter

Center hosted a virtual round table titled Equal Means Equal: Passing the Equal
Rights Amendment. Dr. Faye Williams, National President of the Congress of Black
Women; Jessica Neuwirth, President of the ERA Coalition; and Kamala Lopez, Director
of Equal Means Equal the upcoming documentary about womens rights in the U.S.
discussed the necessity of the ERA.

To start, each woman voiced their opinion on why the amendment will help women.

Jessica Neuwirth broke the ice with the 1994 case of Christy Brzonkala, a Virginia Tech
freshman who was allegedly assaulted and raped repeatedly by two male students.
Despite one of the offenders admitting having sexual contact with her even though
shed said no twice, a state grand jury did not find enough evidence to charge either
man with a crime. The Chief Justice stated that a civil remedy for crime of violence
motivated by gender could be justified neither by the Commerce Clause nor by the
14th Amendment. Both of these sections of the Constitution had been used to support
the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) thus frustrating advocates of the case which
was thrown out. We need the Equal Rights Amendment, Neuwirth argued, because the
14th Amendment does not recognize womens rights as it is limited to state action.
Like her fellow speakers, Kamala voiced her frustration and

puzzlement over the fact that there are 1 in 4 women attacked on campus during their
time in college. How do we let this happen? She asks repeatedly. Lopez presented the
major goal of her film project Equal Means Equal during the roundtable discussion. Her
purpose, she explained, was to grab the attention of younger generations who were not
as aware of gender inequality through media: the key to reaching people. Sharing
jarring facts, such as failing to test seat belts on women dummies resulting in a
significantly larger amount of female deaths in car accidents, was her tactic for raising
awareness in young adults

Gender bias was another major topic as it

is culpable for influencing important decisions. The U.S. mens soccer world cup, for
example, had 40x higher pay out than the womens AND they lost. Faye Williams
questions why the mens team doesnt stand up for the women and then about the
discrepancies in salaries in general.
The core reason against passing the Equal Rights

Amendment is, quite simply, fear. Neuwirth speaks about Americans who do not want
women in combat, the addition of unisex bathrooms and gay marriage. To rise above
the opposing side and strengthen the amendment coalition, Dr. Williams suggested
supporting each others causes using the example of white women who complain about
womens issues but do not support other races issues citing the recent Mckinney,
Texas incident. If black women are being attacked and not supported by fellow females,
how are they supposed to feel united with each other and pass the ERA?

The hour ended just as the discussion picked up momentum. Here were three women
who all wanted the same thing equality for women in the world yet hail from three
different places. Neuwirth, a lawyer, is passionate about the injustice of the Christy
Brzonkala case. Kamala, a film director, wants to educate younger generations about
gender bias. And then theres Williams, the President of the National Congress of Black
Women, who is horrified by all the inhumane hate crimes that continue to transpire.
What moves each of these women to advocate for the ERA is a personal connection
with which they identify as being a part of. This discussion enabled not just the viewers
but the speakers as well to listen to each others words and reasons for action. Like Dr.
Williams said, we need to support each others causes. This is how we can fight to
eliminate treating women unjustly. The first step is for women to help themselves,
through advocating their own rights in their personal and professional lives and then to
reach out to other women in need.

Through passing the Equal Rights Amendments and making the United States a gender
progressive nation, we will be in a more stable position to help other countries that are
mistreating their female citizens.
Four Waves of Feminism
207 ? 8 3

Martha Rampton
Sunday, October 25, 2015
This piece was originally published in the Fall 2008 issue of Pacific magazine. Martha Rampton is a professor
of history and director of the Center for Gender Equity at Pacific University. Her specialty is the early
medieval period with an emphasis on social history and the activities and roles of women. She holds an MA
in medieval history from the University of Utah and a doctorate in medieval history from the University of
Virginia.

It is common to speak of three phases of modern feminism; however, there is little consensus as to how to
characterize these three waves or what to do with women's movements before the late nineteenth century.
Making the landscape even harder to navigate, a new silhouette is emerging on the horizon and taking the
shape of a fourth wave of feminism.

Some thinkers have sought to locate the roots of feminism in ancient Greece with Sappho (d. c. 570 BCE), or
the medieval world with Hildegard of Bingen (d. 1179) or Christine de Pisan (d. 1434). Certainly Olympes de
Gouge (d. 1791), Mary Wollstonecraft (d. 1797) and Jane Austen (d. 1817) are foremothers of the modern
women's movement. All of these people advocated for the dignity, intelligence, and basic human potential of
the female sex. However, it was not until the late nineteenth century that the efforts for women's equal
rights coalesced into a clearly identifiable and self-conscious movement, or rather a series of movements.

The first wave of feminism took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, emerging out of
an environment of urban industrialism and liberal, socialist politics. The goal of this wave was to open up
opportunities for women, with a focus on suffrage. The wave formally began at the Seneca Falls Convention
in 1848 when three hundred men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women. Elizabeth Cady
Stanton (d.1902) drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration outlining the new movement's ideology and political
strategies.

In its early stages, feminism was interrelated with the temperance and abolitionist movements and gave
voice to now-famous activists like the African-American Sojourner Truth (d. 1883), who demanded: "Ain't I a
woman?" Victorian America saw women acting in very "un-ladylike" ways (public speaking, demonstrating,
stints in jail), which challenged the "cult of domesticity." Discussions about the vote and women's
participation in politics led to an examination of the differences between men and women as they were then
viewed. Some claimed that women were morally superior to men, and so their presence in the civic sphere
would improve public behavior and the political process.

The second wave began in the 1960s and continued into the 90s. This wave unfolded in the context of the
anti-war and civil rights movements and the growing self-consciousness of a variety of minority groups
around the world. The New Left was on the rise, and the voice of the second wave was increasingly radical.
In this phase, sexuality and reproductive rights were dominant issues, and much of the movement's energy
was focused on passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing social equality
regardless of sex.

This phase began with protests against the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City in 1968 and 1969.
Feminists parodied what they held to be a degrading "cattle parade" that reduced women to objects of
beauty dominated by a patriarchy that sought to keep them in the home or in dull, low-paying jobs. The
radical New York group called the Redstockings staged a counter pageant in which they crowned a sheep as
Miss America and threw "oppressive" feminine artifacts such as bras, girdles, high-heels, makeup and false
eyelashes into the trashcan.
Because the second wave of feminism found voice amid so many other social movements, it was easily
marginalized and viewed as less pressing than, for example, Black Power or efforts to end the war in
Vietnam. Feminists reacted by forming women-only organizations (such as NOW) and "consciousness
raising" groups. In publications like "The BITCH Manifesto" and "Sisterhood is Powerful," feminists advocated
for their place in the sun. The second wave was increasingly theoretical, based on a fusion of neo-Marxism
and psycho-analytical theory, and began to associate the subjugation of women with broader critiques of
patriarchy, capitalism, normative heterosexuality, and the woman's role as wife and mother. Sex and gender
were differentiatedthe former being biological, and the later a social construct that varies culture-to-culture
and over time.

Whereas the first wave of feminism was generally propelled by middle class, Western, cisgender, white
women, the second phase drew in women of color and developing nations, seeking sisterhood and solidarity,
claiming "Women's struggle is class struggle." Feminists spoke of women as a social class and coined
phrases such as "the personal is political" and "identity politics" in an effort to demonstrate that race, class,
and gender oppression are all related. They initiated a concentrated effort to rid society top-to-bottom of
sexism, from children's cartoons to the highest levels of government.

One of the strains of this complex and diverse "wave" was the development of women-only spaces and the
notion that women working together create a special dynamic that is not possible in mixed-groups, which
would ultimately work for the betterment of the entire planet. Women, due whether to their long
"subjugation" or to their biology, were thought by some to be more humane, collaborative, inclusive,
peaceful, nurturing, democratic, and holistic in their approach to problem solving than men. The term eco-
feminism was coined to capture the sense that because of their biological connection to earth and lunar
cycles, women were natural advocates of environmentalism.

The third wave of feminism began in the mid-90's and was informed by post-colonial and post-modern
thinking. In this phase many constructs were destabilized, including the notions of "universal womanhood,"
body, gender, sexuality and heteronormativity. An aspect of third wave feminism that mystified the mothers
of the earlier feminist movement was the readoption by young feminists of the very lip-stick, high-heels, and
cleavage proudly exposed by low cut necklines that the first two phases of the movement identified with
male oppression. Pinkfloor expressed this new position when she said that it's possible to have a push-up bra
and a brain at the same time.

The "grrls" of the third wave stepped onto the stage as strong and empowered, eschewing victimization and
defining feminine beauty for themselves as subjects, not as objects of a sexist patriarchy. They developed a
rhetoric of mimicry, which appropriated derogatory terms like "slut" and "bitch" in order to subvert sexist
culture and deprive it of verbal weapons. The web is an important tool of "girlie feminism." E-zines have
provided "cybergrrls" and "netgrrls" another kind of women-only space. At the same time rife with the
irony of third-wave feminism because cyberspace is disembodied it permits all users the opportunity to
cross gender boundaries, and so the very notion of gender has been unbalanced in a way that encourages
experimentation and creative thought.

This is in keeping with the third wave's celebration of ambiguity and refusal to think in terms of "us-them."
Most third-wavers refuse to identify as "feminists" and reject the word that they find limiting and
exclusionary. Grrl-feminism tends to be global, multi-cultural, and it shuns simple answers or artificial
categories of identity, gender, and sexuality. Its transversal politics means that differences such as those of
ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, etc. are celebrated and recognized as dynamic, situational, and
provisional. Reality is conceived not so much in terms of fixed structures and power relations, but in terms of
performance within contingencies. Third wave feminism breaks boundaries.

The fourth wave of feminism is still a captivating silhouette. A writer for Elle Magazine recently interviewed
me about the waves of feminism and asked if the second and third waves may have failed or dialed down
because the social and economic gains had been mostly sparkle, little substance, and whether at some point
women substituted equal rights for career and the atomic self. I replied that the second wave of feminism
ought not be characterized as having failed, nor was glitter all that it generated. Quite the contrary; many
goals of the second wave were met: more women in positions of leadership in higher education, business
and politics; abortion rights; access to the pill that increased womens control over their bodies; more
expression and acceptance of female sexuality; general public awareness of the concept of and need for the
rights of women (though never fully achieved); a solid academic field in feminism, gender and sexuality
studies; greater access to education; organizations and legislation for the protection of battered women;
womens support groups and organizations (like NOW and AAUW); an industry in the publication of books by
and about women/feminism; public forums for the discussion of womens rights; and a societal discourse at
the popular level about womens suppression, efforts for reform, and a critique of patriarchy. So, in a sense, if
the second wave seemed to have dialed down, the lull was in many ways due more to the success of the
movement than to any ineffectiveness. In addition to the sense that many womens needs had been met,
feminisms perceived silence in the 1990s was a response to the successful backlash campaign by the
conservative press and media, especially against the word feminism and its purported association with male-
bashing and extremism.

However, the second wave only quieted down in the public forum; it did not disappear but retreated into the
academic world where it is alive and wellincubating in the academy. Womens centers and
womens/gender studies have became a staple of virtually all universities and most colleges in the US and
Canada (and in many other nations around the word). Scholarship on womens studies, feminist studies,
masculinity studies, and queer studies is prolific, institutionalized, and thriving in virtually all scholarly fields,
including the sciences. Academic majors and minors in womens, feminist, masculinity and queer studies
have produced thousands of students with degrees in the subjects. However, generally those programs
have generated theorists rather than activists.

Returning to the question the Elle Magazine columnist asked about the third wave and the success or failure
of its goals. It is hard to talk about the aims of the third wave because a characteristic of that wave is the
rejection of communal, standardized objectives. The third wave does not acknowledge a collective
movement and does not define itself as a group with common grievances. Third wave women and men
are concerned about equal rights, but tend to think the genders have achieved parity or that society is well
on its way to delivering it to them. The third wave pushed back against their mothers (with grudging
gratitude) the way children push away from their parents in order to achieve much needed independence.
This wave supports equal rights, but does not have a term like feminism to articulate that notion. For third
wavers, struggles are more individual: We dont need feminism anymore.

But the times are changing, and a fourth wave is in the air. A few months ago, a high school student
approached one of the staff of the Center for Gender Equity at Pacific University and revealed in a somewhat
confessional tone, I think Im a feminist! It was like she was coming out of the closet. Well, perhaps that is
the way to view the fourth wave of feminism.

The aims of the second feminist movement were never cemented to the extent that they could survive the
complacency of third wavers. The fourth wave of feminism is emerging because (mostly) young women and
men realize that the third wave is either overly optimistic or hampered by blinders. Feminism is now moving
from the academy and back into the realm of public discourse. Issues that were central to the earliest
phases of the womens movement are receiving national and international attention by mainstream press
and politicians: problems like sexual abuse, rape, violence against women, unequal pay, slut-shaming, the
pressure on women to conform to a single and unrealistic body-type and the realization that gains in female
representation in politics and business, for example, are very slight. It is no longer considered extreme, nor
is it considered the purview of rarified intellectuals to talk about societal abuse of women, rape on college
campus, Title IX, homo and transphobia, unfair pay and work conditions, and the fact that the US has one of
the worst records for legally-mandated parental leave and maternity benefits in the world.

Some people who wish to ride this new fourth wave have trouble with the word feminism, not just because
of its older connotations of radicalism, but because the word feels like it is underpinned by assumptions of a
gender binary and an exclusionary subtext: for women only. Many fourth wavers who are completely on-
board with the movements tenants find the term feminism sticking in their craws and worry that it is hard
to get their message out with a label that raises hackles for a broader audience. Yet the word is winning the
day. The generation now coming of age sees that we face serious problems because of the way society
genders and is gendered, and we need a strong in-your-face word to combat those problems. Feminism no
longer just refers to the struggles of women; it is a clarion call for gender equity.

The emerging fourth wavers are not just reincarnations of their second wave grandmothers; they bring to
the discussion important perspectives taught by third wave feminism. They speak in terms of
intersectionality whereby womens suppression can only fully be understood in a context of the
marginalization of other groups and gendersfeminism is part of a larger consciousness of oppression along
with racism, ageism, classism, abelism, and sexual orientation (no ism to go with that). Among the third
waves bequests is the importance of inclusion, an acceptance of the sexualized human body as non-
threatening, and the role the internet can play in gender-bending and leveling hierarchies. Part of the reason
a fourth wave can emerge is because these millennials articulation of themselves as feminists is their
own: not a hand-me-down from grandma. The beauty of the fourth wave is that there is a place in it for all
together. The academic and theoretical apparatus is extensive and well honed in the academy, ready to
support a new broad-based activism in the home, in the workplace, and in the streets.

At this point we are still not sure how feminism will mutate. Will the fourth wave fully materialize and in
what direction? There have always been many feminisms in the movement, not just one ideology, and there
have always been tensions, points and counter-points. The political, social and intellectual feminist
movements have always been chaotic, multivalenced, and disconcerting; and let's hope they continue to be
so; it's a sign that they are thriving.

Pacific University Center for Gender Equity


Gender and Sexuality Studies Minor
THE 1960S-70S
AMERICAN FEMINIST
MOVEMENT:
BREAKING DOWN
BARRIERS FOR
WOMEN

T
he 1960s-70s American Feminist Movement
Vision and Motivation

In 1960, the world of American women was limited in almost every respect, from family
life to the workplace. A woman was expected to follow one path: to marry in her early
20s, start a family quickly, and devote her life to homemaking. As one woman at the
time put it, "The female doesn't really expect a lot from life. She's here as someone's
keeper her husband's or her children's."[1] As such, wives bore the full load of
housekeeping and child care, spending an average of 55 hours a week on domestic
chores.[2] They were legally subject to their husbands via "head and master laws," and
they had no legal right to any of their husbands' earnings or property, aside from a
limited right to "proper support"; husbands, however, would control their wives'
property and earnings.[3] If the marriage deteriorated, divorce was difficult to obtain, as
"no-fault" divorce was not an option, forcing women to prove wrongdoing on the part of
their husbands in order to get divorced.[4]
The 38 percent of American women who worked in 1960 were largely limited to jobs as
teacher, nurse, or secretary.[5] Women were generally unwelcome in professional
programs; as one medical school dean declared, "Hell yes, we have a quota...We do
keep women out, when we can. We don't want them here and they don't want them
elsewhere, either, whether or not they'll admit it."[6] As a result, in 1960, women
accounted for six percent of American doctors, three percent of lawyers, and less than
one percent of engineers.[7] Working women were routinely paid lower salaries than
men and denied opportunities to advance, as employers assumed they would soon
become pregnant and quit their jobs, and that, unlike men, they did not have families to
support.
In 1962, Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique captured the frustration and even
the despair of a generation of college-educated housewives who felt trapped and
unfulfilled. As one said, "I'm desperate. I begin to feel I have no personality. I'm a server
of food and a putter-on of pants and a bedmaker, somebody who can be called on when
you want something. But who am I?"[8] Friedan stunned the nation by contradicting the
accepted wisdom that housewives were content to serve their families and by calling on
women to seek fulfillment in work outside the home. While Friedan's writing largely
spoke to an audience of educated, upper-middle-class white women, her work had such
an impact that it is credited with sparking the "second wave" of the American feminist
movement. Decades earlier, the "first wave" had pushed for women's suffrage,
culminating with the passage of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to
vote in 1920. Now a new generation would take up the call for equality beyond the law
and into women's lives.
Goals and Objectives

The feminist movement of the 1960s and '70s originally focused on dismantling
workplace inequality, such as denial of access to better jobs and salary inequity, via
anti-discrimination laws. In 1964, Representative Howard Smith of Virginia proposed to
add a prohibition on gender discrimination into the Civil Rights Act that was under
consideration. He was greeted by laughter from the other Congressmen, but with
leadership from Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan, the law passed with the
amendment intact.[9]
However, it quickly became clear that the newly established Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission would not enforce the law's protection of women workers, and
so a group of feminists including Betty Friedan decided to found an organization that
would fight gender discrimination through the courts and legislatures. In the summer of
1966, they launched the National Organization for Women (NOW), which went on to
lobby Congress for pro-equality laws and assist women seeking legal aid as they battled
workplace discrimination in the courts.[10]
As such, Betty Friedan's generation sought not to dismantle the prevailing system but to
open it up for women's participation on a public, political level. However, the more
radical "women's liberation" movement was determined to completely overthrow the
patriarchy that they believed was oppressing every facet of women's lives, including
their private lives.[11] They popularized the idea that "the personal is political" that
women's political inequality had equally important personal ramifications,
encompassing their relationships, sexuality, birth control and abortion, clothing and
body image, and roles in marriage, housework and childcare.[12] As such, the different
wings of the feminist movement sought women's equality on both a political and
personal level.

Leadership

The feminist movement was not rigidly structured or led by a single figure or group. As
one feminist wrote, "The women's movement is a non-hierarchical one. It does things
collectively and experimentally."[13] In fact, the movement was deeply divided between
young and old, upper-class and lower-class, conservative and radical. Betty Friedan was
determined to make the movement a respectable part of mainstream society and
distanced herself from what she termed the "bra-burning, anti-man, politics-of-orgasm"
school of feminism; she even spent years insinuating that the young feminist leader
Gloria Steinem had sinister links to the FBI and CIA.[14]Younger feminists, for their part,
distrusted the older generation and viewed NOW as stuffy and out of touch: "NOW's
demands and organizational style weren't radical enough for us." [15]
When these divides were combined with a reluctance to choose official leaders for the
movement, it gave the media an opening to anoint its own "feminist leaders," leading to
resentment within the movement. Meanwhile, in this leadership vacuum, the most
assertive women promoted themselves as leaders, prompting attacks from other
women who believed that all members of the movement should be equal in status. [16]
Nonetheless, women like Gloria Steinem and Germaine Greer attracted media attention
through both their popular writings and their appealing image. They played a key role
representing feminism to the public and the media providing attractive examples of
women who were feminists without fitting the negative stereotypes of humorless, ugly,
man-hating shrews.[17]
Civic Environment
In large part, the success of the feminist
movement was driven by a favorable
confluence of economic and societal
changes. After World War II, the boom of the
American economy outpaced the available
workforce, making it necessary for women
to fill new job openings; in fact, in the 1960s,
two-thirds of all new jobs went to women.[18] As such, the nation simply had to accept
the idea of women in the workforce. Meanwhile, as expectations for a comfortable
middle-class lifestyle rose, having two incomes became critical to achieving this
lifestyle, making women's participation in the workforce still more acceptable. [19]
But many of these women were relegated to low-paying clerical and administrative
work. What opened the door for women to pursue professional careers was access to
the Pill reliable oral contraception. Knowing that they could now complete years of
training or study and launch their career without being interrupted by pregnancy, a
wave of young women began applying to medical, law, and business schools in the early
1970s. At the same time, the Pill made the "sexual revolution" possible, helping to break
down the double standard that allowed premarital sex for men but prohibited it for
women.

Feminist leaders were also inspired by the Civil Rights movement, through which many
of them had gained civic organizing experience. At the same time, black women played
a key role in the Civil Rights movement, especially through local organizations, but were
shut out of leadership roles.[20]Meanwhile, the women's anti-war movement was joined
by a new generation of more radical young women protesting not only the Vietnam war
but also "the way in which the traditional women's peace movement condoned and
even enforced the gender hierarchy in which men made war and women wept." [21] On
college campuses, women joined in the leftist student movement, but their efforts to
incorporate women's rights into the New Left were ignored or met with condescension
from the male student leaders; at one New Politics conference, the chairman told a
feminist activist, "Cool down, little girl. We have more important things to do here than
talk about women's problems."[22] As a result, women split off from the movements that
marginalized them in order to form their own movement.
At the same time, the FBI viewed the women's movement as "part of the enemy, a
challenge to American values," as well as potentially violent and linked to other
"extremist" movements.[23] It paid hundreds of female informants across the country to
infiltrate the women's movement.[24] While this infiltration intensified paranoia and
eroded trust among activists, it did not change the course of the movement as it
continued to fight for equal rights.[25]
Message and Audience
The women's movement used
different means to strive for
equality: lobbying Congress to change
laws; publicizing issues like rape and
domestic violence through the media;
and reaching out to ordinary women
to both expand the movement and raise
their awareness of how feminism could
help them.

Early in the women's liberation movement, which was deeply rooted in the New Left,
activists took an aggressive approach to their protests. Protests against sexism in the
media ranged from putting stickers saying "Sexist" on offensive advertisements to
holding sit-ins at local media outlets, all the way to sabotage of newspaper offices.
[26] This approach sometimes crossed the line into offensiveness, as at the 1968
demonstration outside the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, where activists
protested objectification of women by waving derogatory signs like "Up Against the Wall,
Miss America." While the event attracted widespread media coverage (and launched the
myth that feminists burned bras), the approach was alienating. As a result, many
activists resolved to "stop using the 'in-talk' of the New Left/Hippie movement" and
strive to reach ordinary women across the country.[27]
"Consciousness-raising groups" became an effective way to do so; in small groups in
local communities, women explored topics such as family life, education, sex, and work
from their personal perspectives. As they shared their stories, they began to understand
themselves in relation to the patriarchal society they lived in, and they discovered their
commonalities and built solidarity; as one said, "[I began to] see myself as part of a
larger population of women. My circumstances are not unique, but...can be traced to the
social structure."[28]
Meanwhile, in their campaigns for the legalization of abortion, activists testified before
state legislatures and held public "speak-outs" where women admitted to illegal
abortions and explained their reasons for abortion; these events "brought abortion out
of the closet where it had been hidden in secrecy and shame. It informed the public that
most women were having abortions anyway. People spoke from their hearts. It was
heart-rending."[29] The "speak-out" was also used to publicize the largely
unacknowledged phenomenon of rape, as activists also set up rape crisis centers and
advocacy groups, and lobbied police departments and hospitals to treat rape victims
with more sensitivity. [30] To publicize date rape, the annual "Take Back the Night"
march on college campuses was launched in 1982.[31]
Activists also defined and campaigned against sexual harassment, which was legally
defined as a violation of women's rights in 1980; they also redefined spousal abuse as
not a tradition but a crime, lobbied for legal change, and set up domestic violence
shelters.[32] The women's health movement set up a new goal of creating a women-
centered health system, rather than the existing system that was often insensitive to
women's needs; activists educated themselves on the female body, began giving
classes in homes, daycares, and churches, set up women's clinics, and published the
reference book Our Bodies, Ourselves.[33]
Meanwhile, the women's movement was producing a huge number of journals in local
communities across the country. While these journals were produced largely for
members of the movement, Gloria Steinem's Ms. Magazine, founded in 1971, expanded
the audience to the general public at a national level. It publicized the problems
ordinary women faced, published inspirational stories of successful women, and covered
grassroots activist efforts across the country.[34]
At the same time, the movement used class action lawsuits, formal complaints,
protests, and hearings to create legal change.[35] By the late 1970s, they had made
tangible, far reaching gains, including the outlawing of gender discrimination in
education, college sports, and obtaining financial credit[36]; the banning of employment
discrimination against pregnant women[37]; the legalization of abortion[38]and birth
control[39]; and the establishment of "irreconcilable differences" as grounds for divorce
and equalization of property division during divorce.[40] Members of the women's
movement were invigorated by these successes; as one said, "I knew I was a part of
making history...It gave you a real high, because you knew real things could come out of
it."[41]
The August 1970 Women's Strike for Equality, a nationwide wave of protests, marches,
and sit-ins, captured this spirit of optimism. However, it soon gave way to a backlash
exemplified by the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a proposed
constitutional amendment that would protect women's rights. It swiftly passed Congress
in 1972 and was ratified by 30 states by the end of the following year. Still, it was
unable to gain the 8 additional ratifications necessary by the 1982 deadline. At first
there was widespread public support for the ERA by a margin of at least two to one in
theory, at least.[42] In practice, the public was still very conservative when it came to
men's and women's roles, and a growing backlash against the changes feminism
represented coincided with a backlash against gay rights and abortion rights, as led by
the newly ascendant conservative movement, particularly the Christian right wing.
Moreover, the women's movement failed to communicate the benefits of the ERA; by
the time it passed Congress, many of the inequalities in the country's laws had already
been addressed, and it was hard for the public to see what positive impact the
amendment could have.[43] The ERA's opponents, on the other hand, painted a vivid
picture of the terrible effects the ERA could have on the country. They attacked it as a
plot to dismantle the foundations of American society, especially the family, and
denounced the ERA's "hidden agenda": "taxpayer funding of abortions and the entire
gay rights agenda."[44] The ERA's leading opponent, Phyllis Schlafly, denied that women
were discriminated against at all; rather, she said, they enjoyed a sanctified position in
American society through the "Christian tradition of chivalry," which the ERA would
destroy.[45] While the ERA failed, and the backlash against feminism has continued, the
struggle for women's rights has also continued, leaving a lasting impact on American
society.
Outreach Activities
Due to the cross-cutting nature of the women's movement, which included women who
were already members of other movements, it was naturally suited to build links with
these movements. For instance, some members of the feminist movement traveled
abroad to meet Vietnamese women who were against the war in that country, in an
effort to build sisterly anti-war solidarity.[46] Meanwhile, feminists with roots in the labor
movement launched local groups to organize women workers, improve their working
conditions, and fight for their equal rights on the job.[47] Black feminists targeted such
issues as child care, police repression, welfare, and healthcare, and founded the
National Black Feminist Organization in 1973.[48]
By the end of the 1970s, activists burned out, and the women's movement fragmented
but the services they founded, such as rape crisis centers, women's shelters, and
health clinics, were integrated into the mainstream as cities, universities, and religious
organizations provided program funding.[49] Today the gains of the feminist movement
women's equal access to education, their increased participation in politics and the
workplace, their access to abortion and birth control, the existence of resources to aid
domestic violence and rape victims, and the legal protection of women's rights are
often taken for granted. While feminists continue to strive for increased equality, as
Betty Friedan wrote, "What used to be the feminist agenda is now an everyday reality.
The way women look at themselves, the way other people look at women, is completely
different...than it was thirty years ago...Our daughters grow up with the same
possibilities as our sons."[50]
Learn More
News & Analysis
Carabillo, Toni, Judith Meuli, and June Bundy Csida. "Part II [Timeline]." Feminist
Chronicles: 1953-1993. Feminist Majority Foundation. 2009.
CWLU Herstory Project. "Classic Feminist Writings." The Chicago Women's Liberation
Union.
"Documents from the Women's Liberation Movement: An Online Archival Collection."
Special Collections Library, Duke University. 1997.
Freeman, Jo. "From Suffrage to Women's Liberation: Feminism in Twentieth Century
America." Published in Women: A Feminist Perspective, ed. Jo Freeman. Mountain View,
Calif: Mayfield, 5th ed, 1995, pp. 509-28.
Freeman, Jo. "The Revolution for Women in Law and Public Policy." Published in Women:
A Feminist Perspective ed. Jo Freeman. Mountain View, Calif: Mayfield, 5th ed., 1995, pp.
365-404.
Hanisch, Carol. "The Personal is Political." Notes from the Second Year: Women's
Liberation. February 1969.
"Living the Legacy: The Women's Rights Movement, 1848-1998." National Women's
History Project. 2002.
Middleton, Ken. "Discovering American Women's History Online." James E. Walker
Library, Middle Tennessee State University. 2010.
National Women's History Project Resource Center. 2009.
Steinem, Gloria. "After Black Power, Women's Liberation." New York Magazine. 4 April
1969.
"Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000." Center for the
Historical Study of Women and Gender, SUNY Binghamton; Alexander Street Press.
2011.

Books
Baxandall, Rosalyn and Linda Gordon, eds. Dear Sisters: Dispatches from the Women's
Liberation Movement. New York: Basic Books, 2000.
Brownmiller, Susan. In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution. New York: Dial Press, 2000.
Collins, Gail. America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines.
New York: Harper Collins, 2004.
Collins, Gail. When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from
1960 to the Present. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009.
Coontz, Stephanie. A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at
the Dawn of the 1960s. New York: Basic Books, 2011.
Davis, Flora. Moving the Mountain: The Women's Movement in America Since 1960. New
York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.
Faludi, Susan. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. New York:
Anchor, 1991.
Freedman, Estelle. No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women.
New York: Ballantine Books, 2003.
Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York: Norton & Company, 1963.
Helgesen, Sally. Everyday Revolutionaries: Working Women and the Transformation of
American Life. New York: Doubleday, 1997.
Hooks, Bell. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Cambridge: South End Press,
1984.
Jones, Jacqueline. Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family,
from Slavery to the Present. New York: Basic Books, 2009.
Kessler-Harris, Alice. Out to Work: The History of Wage-Earning Women in the United
States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.
Rosen, Ruth. The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed
America. New York: Penguin, 2006.
Schneir, Miriam. Feminism in Our Time: The Essential Writings, World War II to the
Present. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.
Siegel, Deborah. Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Girls Gone Wild. New
York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Multimedia
Reichert, Julia and Jim Klein. Growing Up Female. 1971.
Footnotes
[1]
Coontz, Stephanie. A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women
at the Dawn of the 1960s. New York: Basic Books, 2011. 42.
[2] Coontz, Stephanie. "When We Hated Mom." New York Times. 7 May. 2011.
[3] A Strange Stirring 46.
[4]
Collins, Gail. When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women
from 1960 to the Present. New York: Little, Brown & Company, 2009. 43.
[5]
"100 Years of Consumer Spending: 1960-61." Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2006. PDF.
[6]
Collins 38.
[7]
Ibid.
[8]
Collins 117.
[9]
Ibid. 149-160.
[10]
Ibid. 165-168.
[11]
Ibid. 368-9.
[12]
Rosen, Ruth. The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed
America. New York: Viking Penguin, 2000. 196.
[13]
Collins 388.
[14]
Sullivan, Patricia. "Voice of Feminism's 'Second Wave.'" Washington Post. 5 Feb. 2006.
[15]
Rosen 84, 88.
[16]
Ibid. 227-9.
[17]
Ibid. 154, 217.
[18]
Collins 194.
[19]
Ibid. 199.
[20]
Ibid. 238.
[21]
Ibid. 367.
[22]
Ibid. 372-3.
[23]
Rosen 245-6.
[24]
Ibid. 241.
[25]
Ibid. 259-60.
[26]
Ibid. 162.
[27]
Ibid. 161.
[28]
Ibid. 197, 248.
[29]
Ibid. 158.
[30]
Ibid. 182.
[31]
Ibid. 184.
[32]
Ibid. 186-7.
[33]
Ibid. 176.
[34]
Ibid. 211, 216.
[35]
Ibid. 88-90.
[36]
Title IX of the Education Amendments (1972); the Equal Credit Opportunity Act
(1974).
[37]
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (1978).
[38]
The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision (1973).
[39]
The Eisenstadt v. Baird Supreme Court ruling (1972).
[40]
The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act (1970), passed by the U.S. Uniform Law
Commission, which strongly influenced state laws.
[41]
Rosen 200.
[42]
Daniels, Mark R., Robert Darcy, and Joseph W. Westphal. "The ERA Won At Least in
the Opinion Polls." PS: Political Science and Politics 15:4 (Autumn 1982), American
Political Science Association.
[43]
Collins 444.
[44]
Schlafly, Phyllis. "'Equal rights' for women: wrong then, wrong now." Los Angeles
Times, 8 April 2007.
[45]
Collins 451.
[46]
Rosen 137-8.
[47]
Ibid. 268-9.
[48]
Ibid. 282-4.
[49]
Ibid. 270.
[50]
Friedan, Betty. Life So Far: A Memoir. New York: Touchstone, 2000. 375.
What was the Second Wave Feminist
Movement?

Women's Liberation March in Washington, D.C. in 1970

Today, feminism is an ideology/theory that most people fail to fully


understand. Feminism has been described as having three separate waves.
The first wave of feminism started in the mid-19th Century and culminated
with the women's suffrage movement. Second wave feminism started in the
late 1950s moved into the 1980s. Historians and feminist/gender scholars
describe todays feminist theory, ideology and social/political movement as
the third wave of feminism. The second wave of feminism started after the
women were forced out of the workplace after end of World War Two and
essentially ended with the failure to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
Second-wave feminism splintered after criticism grew that the movement had
focused on white women to the the exclusion of everyone else.

Lead up to the Second Wave


The women's movement before the 1920s was characterized by the suffrage
movement that led to women gaining the right to vote. From the 1890s and
early part of the 20th century, much of the women's movement focused on
general societal inequalities and, such as poor working and housing
conditions, while also focusing on social ills such as alcoholism and
prostitution. Black women in the Southwest of the United States, during the
1930s, for instance, joined labor unions such as the International Ladies'
Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) to protest poor wages and work
environments they had to endure. [1] Apart from this general social activism
and gaining the right to vote, gender-specific topics, including equality in work
and pay, were not major focus areas.

In the 1940s, women gained increasing employment as men left overseas to


fight in World War II. In fact, it was World War II that can be argued as the
major trigger for the second wave feminist movement that occurred after the
war. During the war years, the labor unions that had grown in the 1930s
became even stronger as women became increasingly employed, particularly
in manufacturing jobs required to support the war effort. During the 1940s,
new work benefits became available to women, including maternity leave,
daycare, and counseling. These benefits developed more substantially in
Europe, as many countries there were devastated by war, where much of the
male population was reduced.[2] Nevertheless, in the United States, women's
participation in the labor force in World War II created a feeling among many
women, after the war ended, that they also deserved the same types of rights
as men in jobs they filled. This was highlighted by the fact that many men who
came back and retook their old jobs from women who were doing them during
the war also were given higher salaries, further highlighting this inequality. [3]

In the 1950s, the economy began to expand and the height of the red scare or
anti-communist sentiment began to diminish feminist
organization. [4] However, by the early late 1950s and 1960s, as more
prolonged prosperity took hold, there was greater interest to explore new
ideas and movements emerged, including the civil rights movement, that
began to question establish social constructs such as segregation and
inequality in the work place. By the early 1960s, the social atmosphere began
to be conducive for a major feminist movement. [5]
Ideology that Shaped the Movement

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

After World War II, some writers began to question how women in society
were perceived and the role they played, particularly as the war had shown
women made valuable contributions and in many cases performed tasks
equally to me. In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir published The Second Sex, a
groundbreaking book that questioned how society viewed women and the role
in which they played. In her work, Beauvoir writes, One is not born, but
rather becomes, a woman. This quote represent how society fosters the idea
of what a woman should do and act, where gender roles are learned and forced
upon women. [6] Where World War II showed that women could break out of
their gender roles as was required; the book questioned then why should
women's roles that saw them as secondary to men in the workplace and home
be perpetuated when this was clearly not the case during the war.

After a period of time, the movement gained greater traction through more
authors in the 1960s. Betty Friedan was perhaps one of the most influential
writers at this time. After conducting a survey of her classmates, Friedan
noticed that many of her classmates were unhappy in their marriages where
their lives revolved around childcare and housework. This prompted her to
write The Feminine Mystique in 1963 where she questioned white, middle
class ideals of family life and motherhood, particularly as domestic life had
stifled women and their aspirations. In her book, Friedan includes interviews
with women who were unhappy in their home life, debunking the ideals of the
1950s that often showed a happy family with men at work and women focused
on housework. The book fundamentally questioned if the 1950s ideals were in
the best interest of women.[7]

The book and politics in the 1960s led to some initial victories for the
emerging second wave women's movement. This includes the establishment of
the National Organization for Women, where Friedan joined the organization,
and the first great legislative victory, which was the passage of the Equal Pay
Act of 1963. This made it law for women to have an equal right to equal pay for
the same jobs that men did. It made it now possible for women to now not be
prevented from joining the labor force due to depressed wages. [8] Other
changes, including the introduction of the contraceptive pill and introduction
of abortion in Europe began to have political ramifications. The pill, on the
one hand, allowed women to delay childbirth and establish careers in many
cases. Abortion also gave women greater choices about rearing children. [9]

In 1969, Katy Millett wrote Sexual Politics and wrote about the patriarchal
structure of society that controls sex, sexual expression, and ultimately politics
and the narrative of political discourse. Sex and gender oppression are
common because of political discourse found in society. Millets argued that
before any other type of oppression existed, elite men first oppressed people
based on sex and gender, extending later to race and class. [10]

In the 1970s, the second wave feminist movement expanded and continued to
gain momentum. Carol Hanisch published an essay in 1970 titled "The
Personal is Political. Hanisch argued that everything was political, including
division of household labor, gender roles, and other day-to-day activities. If a
women decided to have an abortion and get a job as a woman in a male
dominated industry, then that decision has political consequences and became
politicized in society. Women had to bring their private, household problems
into the public sphere because issues were politicized and had consequence far
outside of an individual. [11]
One Movement or Two?
Increasingly in the 1960s and 1970s, second wave feminism diverged into two
separate ideological movements: Equal rights feminism and radical feminism.
Within equal-rights feminism, the objective sought equality with men in
political and social spheres, where legislation and laws such as legalization of
abortion and efforts to make women more established on the workforce equal
to men were the primary goals. [12]Radical feminism, on the other hand,
wanted much more radical change to society that fundamentally saw it as
patriarchal and needed to be altered if women were to escape it oppression.
[13]
There were age and racial differences within the wider feminist movements
at the time. The equal-rights feminists were largely white, older in age, and
most came from affluent backgrounds. Radical feminists were made up
younger white affluent women, and minority women of all ages who were
active in the Civil Rights movement as well. [14]

Minorities
Women of color found themselves underrepresented in both the racial and
gender movements that were simultaneously fighting for greater equality.
While Black, Latina/Chicana, Asian, and Native American women were active
in feminist agendas at the time, there were tensions within the broader
feminists movements because a large percentage of the leaders were white and
the agenda had some stark racial contrasts. Some non-white feminists
criticized the wider feminist movement for failing to be equal in the
movement's representation and incorporating racial and other issues. [15]

Across the United States, minority women began the fight against racial and
gender oppression by creating their own organizations. Some had already
existed due to greater women participation in the workforce during the 1940s,
such as the National Council of Negro Women. Other organizations developed
during the 1960s and 1970s, including the Third World Womens Alliance. The
Third Women's World Alliance worked to expose the relation between race,
sex, sexuality, gender, and class oppression. [16] Such views by minority women
proved to be influential in the third wave of feminism that emerged later in
the 1970s and into today, as broader racial and social inequality issues are now
incorporated by feminist movements.
Conclusion
The second wave feminist movement proved to be a major social transition
for Western countries and the United States from the 1960s and later. Major
social change, such as women's participation in the labor force, and increased
prosperity forced a major social awareness movement that questioned the
roles of gender in society. Major works of literature began to question
perceived traditional gender roles and exposed social problems created by
such roles on women. Two movements emerged within the broader second
wave feminist movement, which were the more mainstream and radical
elements of feminism. While one worked to change society from within, using
legislation and social pressure, the other, radical movement questions
fundamentally if society's hierarchical and patriarchal nature were the main
problem. Both these movements made major contributions, however, through
their influence on society in general, where today many things we take for
granted, such as women in the workforce, only became increasingly acceptable
after the 1960s.

Today, a woman delaying raising a family is not often questioned by society for
such a choice, but this was not the norm in the pre-1960s US and parts of
Europe. Later, the merger of racial and other social inequality was seen as part
of wider social struggles in society. Ultimately, the second wave feminist
movement gave women the opportunity to start conversations about how their
social inequality and begin to think about gender, identity, sexuality, race, and
class as all equally important factors. The so-called third wave, more greatly
focused on gay/lesbian and racial issues, in fact can be argued to be informed
by the second wave rhetoric that had emerged late in the 1970s as race and
broader social inequality issues emerged.

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Second-wave feminism
During the 1960s, influenced and inspired by the Civil Rights Movement,
women of all ages began to fight to secure a stronger role in American
society.
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Overview
During the 1960s, influenced and inspired by the Civil
Rights Movement, women of all ages began to fight to secure
a stronger role in American society.
As members of groups like the National Organization
for Women (NOW) asserted their rights and strove for
equality for themselves and others, they upended many
accepted norms and set groundbreaking social and legal
changes in motion.
Title VII is the section of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 that prohibited discrimination in employment on the
basis of gender.

From the Civil Rights Movement to


Women's Liberation
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement was
creating a climate of protest as activists claimed rights and
new positions in society for people of color.

Women filled significant roles in organizations fighting for civil


rights like the Student National Coordinating Committee
(SNCC) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
However, women often found that those organizations
enlightened as they might have been about racial issues or
the war in Vietnamcould still be influenced by patriarchal
ideas of male superiority.

Two members of SNCC, Casey Hayden and Mary King,


presented some of their concerns about their organizations
treatment of women in a document entitled On the Position
of Women in SNCC, which argued that SNCC practiced
discrimination against women similar to the discrimination
practiced against African Americans by whites. Stokely
Carmichael, field organizer and future chairman of SNCC,
responded that the appropriate position for women in the
movement was prone.

Photograph of Casey Hayden and an unidentified man at the


Freedom Summer training in 1964.
1964 photo of Casey Hayden (right), who joined colleague Mary King in
critiquing the Student National Coordinating Committee's treatment of
women. Image credit: SNCC Digital Gateway

Nevertheless, the Civil Rights Movement contributed


materially to women's rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1964,
which prohibited discrimination in employment on the basis
of race, color, national origin, and religion, also prohibited
discrimination on the basis of sex in Title VII. Ironically,
protection for women had been included at the suggestion of
a Virginia congressman in an attempt to prevent the acts
passage; his reasoning seemed to be that, while a white man
might accept that African Americans needed and deserved
protection from discrimination, the idea that women deserved
equality with men would be far too radical for any of his male
colleagues to contemplate. Nevertheless, the act passed,
granting broad workplace protections to women and
minorities.

The Feminine Mystique and NOW


Just as the abolitionist movement made nineteenth-century
women more aware of their lack of power and encouraged
them to form the first womens rights movement--sometimes
called first-wave feminism--the protest movements of the
1960s inspired many white and middle-class women to create
their own organized movement for greater rights--known
as second-wave feminism. Many were older, married
women who found the traditional roles of housewife and
mother unfulfilling.

In 1963, writer and feminist Betty Friedan published The


Feminine Mystique, a nonfiction book in which she contested
the post-World War II belief that it was womens destiny to
marry and bear children. Friedans book was a best-seller and
began to raise the consciousness of many women who
agreed that homemaking in the suburbs sapped them of their
individualism and left them unsatisfied.

Photograph of Betty Friedan.


Betty Friedan was the author of The Feminine Mystique, a book that critiqued
the popular 1950s notion that a woman's highest satisfaction was to be found
in life as a homemaker. Friedan went out to become the first president of the
National Organization for Women.

In 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW),


formed and proceeded to set an agenda for the feminist
movement. Framed by a statement of purpose written by
Friedan, the agenda began by proclaiming NOWs goal to
make possible womens participation in all aspects of
American life and to gain for them all the rights enjoyed by
men. Among the specific goals set was the passage of
the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a proposed
Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing equal rights for
women. First introduced in Congress in 1923, the ERA was
passed in 1972 but failed to receive the 38 state ratifications
necessary to become part of the Constitution. It has yet to be
adopted today.

A photograph shows Betty Friedan and three other women


engaged in conversation.
Early members of NOW discuss the problems faced by American women. Betty Friedan
is second from the left. Image credit: Smithsonian Institution Archives

The Pill
Medical science also contributed a tool to assist women in
their liberation. In 1960, the US Food and Drug Administration
approved the birth control pill, freeing women from the
restrictions of pregnancy and childbearing. Women who were
able to limit, delay, and prevent reproduction were freer to
work, attend college, and delay marriage. Within five years of
the pills approval, some six million women were using it.

The pill was the first medicine ever intended to be taken by


people who were not sick. Even conservatives saw it as a
possible means of making marriages stronger by removing
the fear of an unwanted pregnancy and improving the health
of women. Its opponents, however, argued that it would
promote sexual promiscuity, undermine the institutions of
marriage and the family, and destroy the moral code of the
nation. By the early 1960s, 30 states had made it a criminal
offense to sell contraceptive devices.

Radical feminism
More radical feminists, like their colleagues in other
movements, were dissatisfied with merely redressing
economic issues. They devised their own brand of
consciousness-raising events and symbolic attacks on
womens oppression.

The most famous of these was an event staged in September


1968 by New York Radical Women. Protesting stereotypical
notions of femininity and rejecting traditional gender
expectations, the group demonstrated at the Miss America
Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to bring attention to the
contestsand societysexploitation of women. The
protestors crowned a sheep Miss America and then tossed
instruments of womens oppression, including high-heeled
shoes, curlers, girdles, and bras, into a freedom trash can.
News accounts famously, and incorrectly, described the
protest as a bra burning."

What do you think?


Do you think that second-wave feminism was a separate
movement from the Civil Rights Movement, or just a different
facet of it? Why?

Compare and contrast first-wave feminism (epitomized by


figures like Susan B. Anthony) with second-wave feminism
(epitomized by figures like Betty Friedan). What were the
goals of each movement? To what extent, if at all, did either
movement champion the rights of poor women or minority
women?

Why do you think the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has


never been ratified?

Do you think the second-wave feminist movement achieved


its goals? Why or why not?
Tag Archives: Second-wave
feminism
March 7, 2011

Day 7- Waves of the Womens Movement in


the US
By feministactivist

Image via Wikipedia

First Wave: The first major organized womens resistance to sexism and patriarchy in
the US sprung out of the abolitionist movement. White women who opposed the
institution of slavery soon realized that they were also suffering inequalities under the
racist, sexist, classist system of government in the United States. The defining moment
of the First Wave was passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920
that gave women the right to vote. The victory of the 19th Amendment came after
decades of hard work and struggle, including educating the public with writings by and
about (upper-class) womens status, marches, protests, fasting, and intentional arrest
and imprisonment. Unfortunately, the women (and men) who had been working so hard
for womens suffrage in this time could not sustain the momentum of social change, and
thus, the next wave of the womens movement would not come for another 40 years.

Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Sarah Grimk,
Angelina Grimk, Carrie Chapman Catt, Alice Paul, Victoria Woodhull, Sojourner
Truth, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Ida B. Wells, Margaret Sanger, and Lucy Burns, among
thousands of other women whom history has forgotten, forever changed the way
Americans viewed womens participation in politics and the public sphere.
Second Wave: The Womens Liberation Movement, or Second Wave of Feminism,
came about in a tumultuous time for American history. Women in the US had been on a
roller coaster of freedoms and limitations since the First Wave had crashed: the Roaring
20s brought, for the first time, womens votes into play, and the advent of jazz culture
and the flapper allowed women unprecedented freedoms in appearance and behavior;
the Great Depression of the 1930s following the Stock Market Crash was a poignant
example of how the feminization of poverty works;WWII in the 1940s brought white
women into the workforce like never before; the baby booming 1950s saw that women
returned to the domestic sphere to try to achieve the June Cleaver ideal that society
demanded; and the 1960s kicked off the Second Wave with the oral contraceptive pill
made available in 1961 and Betty Friedans surprising (albeit racist) critique of womens
roles in 1963 with The Feminine Mystique.
During the 1960s and 1970s organizations were formed that changed the way women
viewed themselves and each other but the major victories of the Second Wave came in
the form of legislation designed to give women more equal opportunities on par with
men, and gave women (at least on paper) autonomy over their own bodies.
JFKs Commission on the Status of Women, the Equal Pay Act, the Civil Rights Act of
1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Griswold v.
Connecticut, Eisenstadt v. Baird, Title IX, the passage of WIC in 1972, Roe v. Wade, the
1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the 1974 election of Elaine Noble in Massachusetts
as the first openly gay person to serve on a state legislature; Taylor v. Louisiana,
Nebraska passing in 1976 the first law against marital rape, and the 1978 Pregnancy
Discrimination Act are just some of the important legal battles won for womens equality
during the Second Wave.

Important individual or non-legal milestones include 50,000 women participating


in Women Strike for Peace in 1961, Sex and Caste written by Casey Hayden and Mary
King in 1965, the National Organization for Women forming in 1966, the 1968 protest of
the Miss America Pageant (which incorrectly coined the phrase bra-burners), The
National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) forming in 1968, Our Bodies,
Ourselves published in 1970, the August 26 1970 Womens Strike for Equality, Gloria
Steinems 1972 founding of Ms. magazine and the National Womens Political
Caucus and the opening of the first battered womens shelter. Sadly the consumerism of
the 1980s lead many to believe that feminism was dead and no longer necessary. This,
combined with the loss of hope after the failure of the US to ratify the Equal Rights
Amendment, caused the Second Wave to slowly trickled away.

Third Wave: The relatively few women who were still fighting the good fight in the
1980s became the backbone of the Third Wave. Recognizing that the views presented
previously were overwhelmingly homogenous and exclusionary, women of color
feminism, womanism and other more inclusive and worldly views of in/equality came to
the forefront. Women of color who felt marginalized during the Second Wave began to
demand their voices be heard and their opinions valued: Gloria Anzaldua, bell
hooks, Audre Lord, Beverly Smith, Barbara Smith, and Cherre Moraga, to name very
few.

The Third Wave is an ongoing process which I am proud to be a part of. The discussion
of feminisms can be contentious but for me the simple definition is one who believes in
the equality of all people, while recognizing that until and unless (all) women are equal
to men, justice cannot be achieved. It is also necessary, however, to fight against racism,
ableism, classism, homophobia, ageism, environmental degradation, militarization, and
animal abuse. I fully believe in the power of strategic nonviolent action (SNVA) to bring
about social justice and equality.

What You can do to Advance Equality:

1) VOTE! Women did not work their asses off for decades so you could forget to make
your voice heard on election day.
2) Educate yourselfabout the women who made the freedoms you enjoy possible, about
your national/ethnic ancestors and their ancient views of women, about the laws that
affect your rights as an individual, about strategic nonviolent action, and about anything
and everything else!
3) Educate those around you: Tell anyone who will listen what matters to you, what
needs to change, and how they can help.
4) Get together: There is power in numbers and Never doubt that a small group of
thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, its the only thing that
ever has.- Margaret Mead
5) USE STRATEGIC NONVIOLENT ACTION!

Tomorrows entry for International Womens Day(!) will kick off a week of discussion of
womens use of SNVA around the world while focusing on the women of the recent Arab
revolutions.

Related Articles

You: The women of Bahrain take to the streets in protest (france24.com)

A Month of Awesome Women: Sojourner Truth (blogher.com)


Goals of the Feminist Movement
What Did Feminists Want?
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Bus Conductors in London Demand Equal Opportunity, December 1968. Fred Mott/Evening
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by Linda Napikoski
Updated August 31, 2016

What do women want? In particular, what did the feminists of the 1960s and 1970s
want? Feminism changed many women's lives and created new worlds of possibility for
education, empowerment, working women, feminist art and feminist theory. For some,
the goals of the feminist movement were simple: let women have freedom, equal
opportunity and control over their lives. Here are some specific feminist movement
goals from the second wave of feminism.

edited and with additional content by Jone Johnson Lewis

Rethinking society with feminist theory


This was accomplished by, among other disciplines, womens studies, feminist
literary criticism, gynocriticism, socialist feminism and the feminist art
movement. Looking through a feminist lens at history, politics, culture, and
economics, feminists developed insights in just about every intellectual
discipline.

Abortion rights on demand


The call for abortion on demand is often misunderstood. Leaders of
the womens liberation movement were clear that women should have
reproductive freedom and safe access to legal abortion, making the choice for her
reproductive status without interference by the state or paternalistic medical
professionals.

"De-Sexing the English Language"


Feminists helped spark debate over assumptions embedded in our language that
reflect the assumption of a male-dominated patriarchal society. Language was
often centered around males, assuming that humanity was male and women were
exceptions. Use neutral pronouns? Identify words with gender bias? Invent new
words? Many solutions were tried.

Education
Many women went to college and worked professionally in the early 20 thcentury,
but the mid-20th century myth of the middle-class suburban housewife
downplayed the importance of womens education. Feminists knew that girls and
women must be encouraged to seek an education, and not just as something to
fall back on, if they were to become, and be seen as, "fully" equal. And within
education, access by women to all programs, including sports programs.

Equality legislation
Feminists worked for the Equal Rights Amendment, the Equal Pay Act,
the addition of sex discrimination to the Civil Rights Act and other laws that
would guarantee equality. Feminists advocated for a variety of laws and
interpretations of existing laws to remove impediments to women's professional
and economic achievements, or full exercise of citizenship rights (such as having
women on juries on an equal basis to men). Feminists questioned the long
tradition of "protective legislation" for women which often ended up sidelining
women from being hired, promoted, or treated fairly.

Promoting political participationThe League of Women Voters had existed


since just after women won the vote, and the LWV had supported educating
women (and men) in informed voting, and had done some work in promoting
women as candidates. In the 1960s and 1970s, other organizations were created
and the LWV extended its mission to promote even more participation in the
political process by women including by recruiting, training, and financially
supporting women candidates.

Rethinking women's "roles" in nuclear family households


Although not all feminists called for collective mothering or went so far as to urge
seizing the means of reproduction, as Shulamith Firestone wrote in The
Dialectic of Sex, it was clear that women should not have to bear the sole
responsibility for raising children.

Supporting women as parentsWhile feminism reexamined the maternal role


expected of women, feminism also worked to support women when they were the
primary caretaker of children or the primary custodial parent. Feminists worked
for family leave, employment rights through pregnancy and childbirth including
covering pregnancy and newborn medical expenses through health insurance,
child care, and reform in marriage and divorce laws.

I Want a Wife
No, this essay from the first issue of Ms. magazine did not mean that every
woman literally wanted a wife, but it did suggest that any adult would love to
have someone to play the housewife role as it had been defined.
Feminism Now: What the Third Wave is
Really About
January 10, 2014 by Kelsey Lueptow

1K
FACEBOOKTWITTER

SHARES

Source: Third Wave Foundation

Thats so weird, I frequently hear in college classrooms or social


interactions. They didnt even sound like crazy feminists. They
actually make sense.

Yes, I absolutely do discuss feminist theory with completely normal


humans on a regular basis in simple social situations. And yes, its
awesome.

Feminism is a creature with many faces these days.

Within the movement itself, there are various media outlets,


different angles and belief systems. Even within specific websites
such as Everyday Feminism, individual feminists can have different
viewpoints on the same feminist issues.

Many times, the dissonance in feminist voices is undermined by the


media or cultural narratives. Its seen as a negative thing. Its one of
the main critiques.

However, I completely believe that the diversity of opinions yield


some great personal and political revelations. As long as the
conversations are intelligent and open-minded, having differing
opinions can be beneficial to feminism. Its how we realize our own
internalized sexism and start moving forward!

Bottom line, the goal is homogenous: Feminism aims for gender


equality within a currently patriarchal society.

Sometimes its just hard to get massive amounts of people to agree


exactly what the best means to achieving that goal is.

Meanwhile, many myths about feminism still persist and thrive,


despite efforts to debunk them.

So Im going to take a slightly different angle.

Outlined below is a list of five things that the current movement of


feminism absolutely is.

1. Knowledge
A major and frequently unacknowledged goal of feminism is
unveiling aspects of our culture that many people simply dont know
about.

It isnt out of pretension or judgment of individuals, but rather, the


simple fact that a nation as large and diverse as the United States
has complex political and sub-cultural webs that no one person can
ever navigate alone.
Sharing knowledge helps dispel the notion that feminism is
pointless by pointing out that women still make roughly 80% as
much as male counterparts in their same jobs, and worse, that
people actually defend that discrepancy.

Furthermore, it might help point out the fact that there are both
political movements to decimate female reproductive power and
beliefs that employee value is dependent upon their reproductive
power.

So, these cycles of repressing female power and autonomy then


create and sustain cultural and political practices and laws that
happen to be based around the very power that has been restricted.

For instance.

Now, of course, many of you already know these things, and many,
many more. Its just an example of issues that arent mainstream,
which also highlights the fact that once an issue is labeled
womens it is a media dead zone.

One major aspect of current feminism is utilizing technological


advancements to share knowledge that has been suppressed for
decades, and sometimes centuries, about gender identity,
development, and cultural ramifications of each hence the feminist
community that exists on the Internet.

Knowledge is power. And we intend to wield both responsibly.

2. Linguistics
One thing that was really emphasized in the second wave of
feminism, specifically with womens workshops, is the way that
language reflects social hierarchies.

Language is culturally constructed.

Gender is also culturally constructed, as is race.


So what does that mean exactly?

Race and gender are neither conceptualized nor discussed in the


same way across all cultures because each culture either
constructs (or does not construct) the idea, and those constructions
yield different results.

Similarly, languages have different vocabularies and structures.

Consider for instance, the fact that languages such as German have
masculine and feminine nouns. Some languages, such as Greek,
have multiple words for what we in English speaking cultures only
know how to call love.

Language also influences thought.

If someone does not know a word for a phenomenon or idea, it is


vastly more difficult to conceptualize and analyze.

Therefore, language has a phenomenal power over internalized


ideologies that comprise a culture.

So, in a culture whose worst insults are being a bitch,


pussy, or cunt all of which hold feminine connotations but
has relatively few masculine insults, there are all sorts of gender
stereotypes and assumptions circulating in simple daily
conversations.

Language is the key to self-identification, identification and


understanding of others, and the ability to interact with the world in
meaningful ways.

Feminism incorporates linguistic studies to excavate ways to heal


cultural wounds of rape language, general acceptance of street
harassment, harassment of employees, and generally undermining
female intelligence, ability, and strength in everyday life to
continually suppress their potential.
Feminism is about deconstructing linguistic patterns that undermine
equality and empowerment.

3. Listening
Yes, thats right.

Were listening to the media manipulate pervasive cultural


stereotypes, and we hear individuals manipulate various spiritual
identities to fit whatever platform a specific political party is pushing
this year.

We hear co-workers tell us that its great that we work so hard, that
they totally support single mothers going back to school, and then
as soon as our backs are turned, we hear them call us a stupid slut.
A bitch. Stuck up.

Feminism is listening when women put each other down over our
looks. We hear the internalized sexism of our sisters saying, I just
dont get along with other women. Theyre so catty. Im not
like other women.
We hear slut-shaming, victim-blaming, fat-shaming, thin-shaming,
misogyny, misandry (sometimes even from self-identified feminists
who we inherently and completely disagree with), and feminist-
shaming. We hear a lot of brutal feminist-shaming.

We are listening when you tell our sons the worst thing they could
possibly be is not a rapist or a murderer or a vile, despicable person,
but to be a sally or a nancy, a sissy or a pussy.

We hear as you tell our daughters that the worst thing they could be
is not destructive or violent, mean or manipulative, but ugly.
One of the most important and underrated goals of feminism is to
listen to the cultural messages bombarding us.

You cant fight a battle until you know what it is.

4. Intersectionality
This is directly related to number three.

Earlier feminist movements made distinct decisions regarding


intersectionality.

Some of the most beautiful and inspirational feminists in history


were, unfortunately, willing to sacrifice the rights of women of Color
to gain rights for white women.

In the United States specifically, there were factions between


suffragettes willing to sacrifice Black women in pursuit of their own
rights, and those who would not. However, intersectionality was
denied in many more subtle ways then and ever since.

For the most part, ever since Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.
Anthony two white women instigated the first wave of American
feminism in the late 19th Century, most branches of every swing of
the movement have been led by white women.

And thats not to say that they were most qualified or that they had
any intention of outright ignoring others.

Most white women, no matter how pure of intention, will have to


struggle to identify their own privilege and the very inability to
conceptualize struggles beyond their eurocentric culture.

The very fact that womens issues were enunciated around the
struggles of white, middle-class women represents deeply
internalized racial privilege.
A feminism that isnt as actively inclusive of all races, sexual
expressions, gender identities, and lifestyles is inherently
hypocritical based on its identity as a movement for equality.

Thats why feminism today is a movement of intersectional


solidarity, discourse regarding the struggles of all marginalized
groups, made possible only by carefully listening to all feminists of
all backgrounds and identities in pursuit of this final goal of
feminism.

5. Equality of Opportunity
Job opportunities, educational opportunities, internship
opportunities, opportunity for promotion, bonus, and benefits, and
equal pay are a few of the most mainstream issues.

Equal opportunity also incorporates the linguistic issues: opportunity


to be spoken to with the same respect and professional tone as
other employees, opportunity not to be whistled or gawked at on the
street or while were working (or anywhere), and opportunity to feel
and express emotion without being demarcated as crazy or
hormonal, the opportunity never, ever again to be asked in
response to a grievance if it is due to menstruation.

Feminism seeks equal opportunities not to be called a slut or a


prude, never to be labeled a bitch for simply having a voice and
ambition.

Equal opportunity also means working toward a culture in which


men have the opportunity to express emotion openly, display
empathy and kindness without ridicule, to be stay-at-home-dads if
that is their passion, and to practice any hobby or sport without
verbal emasculation opportunity for every man to be a real man.

Feminism works toward equal opportunities for all genders in every


regard because it seems impossible to live freely in a culture that
has already written your script for you.

***
Okay, okay, so were not out there burning bras, but.

What we do intend to light up is some intelligent discourse.

Talking about the way things are right now will inevitably bring up
uncomfortable realities, but its the only way to understand each
others experiences, stories, and perspectives.

The F-word does deal with some controversial topics, but absolutely
every belief system anywhere ever touches on those same topics.

Examples? Abortion, contraceptive, prenatal, and other health


issues, maternity leave, childcare, child support and custody issues,
workplace rights, equal opportunities for employment and
education. Need I continue?

Its also dealing with not-so-political aspects of culture like daily


interactions, socially acceptable communication, rape culture, fat-
shaming, slut-shaming, objectification and the male gaze, media
portrayals of gender roles, family roles. The list goes on.

Ive been told that its frivolous to pursue social discourse in many of
these areas.

Thin-glorification, I have been told, for example, should just be


accepted because no one intended it to hurt your feelings or incur
rampant eating disorder epidemics in first world countries.

Feminism is also about mens issues because patriarchy is


detrimental to male self-actualization, as well.

When you get down to it, feminism is far more concerned with
combining forces to create equality for everyone.

Because Western civilizations tend to be patriarchal, feminism


hinges on the belief that the starting ground places men in an
entitled position. That is not the same thing as saying that men
have it easier or that men are to blame for social issues.
We are striving to identify different types of inequalities and
privilege that hinder the equal ability to pursue self-actualization
and its (hopefully) ensuing happiness.

The bottom line is that the perception of feminism is more warped


than a fun-house mirror.

Im sure youve heard dirty, rotten things about the bitchy,


judgmental, crazy, hairy, man-hating feminist crowd.

But the truth is: My feminist friends have the biggest hearts, minds,
and aspirations of anybody I know.

And the really cool feminists are the ones that acknowledge,
embrace, and explore that very fact.

Want to discuss this further? Login to our online forum and start a
post! If youre not already registered as a forum user,
please register first here.

Kelsey Lueptow is a Contributing Writer at Everyday Feminism.


Kelsey is a small town amateur yogi, poet, and feminist from
Wisconsin. Shes a single mother and seasonal waitress working on
a Bachelors degree in Creative Writing and Womens Studies.
Caffeine addict and book enthusiast, Kelsey spends her time playing
with her son and hanging out at coffee shops. Read her articles
here.
Third wave feminist hypocrisy:
Deep down, they know theyre
wrong
CLAIRE LEHMANN
AUSTRALIAN CONTRIBUTOR

Daisy Cousens, freelance writer for the Spectator


Australia and Quadrant Magazine, is a critic of third
wave feminism. A self-described feminist apostate,
Cousens has received a lot of recognition for taking
on 'official' feminists.
Recently, she was attacked after she came out as
pro-Trump on a major current affairs panel show
called #QandA.
Watch as I speak with Daisy about
the feminist scene in Australia, her run-ins with
some of the biggest players, and her experiences
as a female conservative making all the right
enemies.