The women’s liberation movement (or feminism as it is now known) of the 1960s and 1970s touched every home, business, and school (WA, 705). The movement even touched the sports and entertainment industries, in fact, “There are few areas of contemporary life untouched by feminism” (WA, 717). The word feminism in the early 1960’s wasn’t often used and when it was it was used with condescension or hatred. However, in the late sixties that changed thanks to a new group of women. This new diverse group of women included the: young, old, heterosexual, lesbians, working class, and even the privileged. This diverse group came together and collectively created the second wave of feminism.
Early feminism was typically focused only on white women, likely because racism was still extremely prominent at the time feminism began emerging. It was not until Kimberlé Crenshaw introduced the term “intersectionality” in 1989 that feminism started to look at oppressed group’s needs (Nash, 2008, 2). Intersectionality is a way of thinking that acknowledges that when a person has identities that belong to more than one oppressed group, it impacts their quality of life more negatively. In this paper, I will argue that intersectionality is important in the discussion of feminist theories and activism because it ensures that feminism is for all women, not just a select group of them. Intersectionality has changed the way the feminist movement handles the overlapping of different identities, which has helped feminist theorists understand the experiences of women of colour much more clearly. While intersectionality has a very important role in the conversation and practice of feminism, there are certainly critiques of the concept that should be brought up. These critiques, however, can offer a way to improve the study of intersectionality.
Second wave feminism stresses the difference of women, and challenges the centrality of masculine values either values associated with masculinity (reason, detachment, power) or values inherently masculine (autonomy, aggression). They also stress the difference between sex and gender: sex is our biological and natural being; gender is the social and cultural interpretation of that being. Therefore there is a need to assert women's sex and challenge rigid models of gender. Whereas first wave' feminism insists that sexual identity is inessential or secondary to our humanity. Feminists disagree about what sexism consists in, and what exactly ought to be done about it; they disagree about what it means to be a woman or a man and what social and political implications gender has or should have, it was obvious early on that the movement was not a unified one, with differences emerging between black feminism, lesbian feminism, liberal feminism, and social feminism. Therefore the important topics for feminist theory and politics
In the late 19th and early 20th century, the early feminists’ focal concern was women’s suffrage. During this time, most women in the United States did not have many economic and political rights. Back then priorities of women were to take care of their homes, families, and husbands. These earlier feminists, also known as the first wave feminists, simply wanted a voice and this led to the women’s suffrage movement. By 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment finally passed and gave women the right to vote (Kotef). This successful movement influenced women everywhere in the world and continued to powerfully inspire women throughout the 20th century (Kotef). By the latter half of the century, the second wave of feminism arose. It included the voice of African-American women because this wave occurred during the civil rights movement. Second wave feminism also included important issues such as sexual and reproductive rights, legal abortions, birth control pills, and the passing of the Equal Pay Act (1963). All feminists live to create ideologies and movements that support the equality of women, but it is clear that second wave feminists were substantially different in their aims than earlier feminists (Gizberg). The goal of this paper is to analyze the main elements of second wave feminism and compare it to the works of earlier feminists. This will show the multifaceted development of second wave feminism.
Other than the obvious time differences between first and second wave feminism, the real contrasts are found in what it was the women, and men in some cases, were fighting for. First-Wave feminists mainly fought for suffrage, while their Second-Wave sisters fought for a wider range of women’s rights.
Towards the end of the twentieth century, feminist women in America faced an underlying conflict to find their purpose and true meaning in life. “Is this all?” was often a question whose answer was sought after by numerous women reaching deeper into their minds and souls to find what was missing from their life. The ideal second-wave feminist was defined as a women who puts all of her time into cleaning her home, loving her husband, and caring for her children, but such a belief caused these women to not only lose their identity within her family but society as well. The emotions that feminist women were feeling at this time was the internal conflict that caused for social steps to be taken in hopes of
Second wave feminism first emerged in the wake of World War II in the late 1940’s. It originated as a response to the post war boom. After World War II, the United States’ economy flourished, the population soared, capitalism emerged more triumphant than ever, and suburbia expanded like never before. The socio-economic state of the U.S. at this time lent itself spectacularly to middle-class familial expansion. During this time there was also a marked and, many would argue, a conscious effort to return to the patriarchal gender roles in place prior to World War II. That is to say, the nuclear family was in its glory days with the man being the undeniable head of house, and the woman his subservient housewife. The social movement toward female domesticity was heavily advocated through media propaganda which depicted the woman as a wife and mother exclusively, in the closed sphere of the home. We have previously seen with the emergence of first wave feminism the rise of feminist agenda that comes out of woman’s subordination at the hand of her husband, and misogynistic government policy and paradigm. It is this same sentiment that triggered the need for another wave of feminism, that is to say, the second wave. (Brownmiller, 36-38.)
Throughout the first-wave feminist movement, it was a goal of feminists to have laws that sought to subordinate women to men overturned. The marital exemption to rape is just one example of a law at the time that feminists viewed to subject women to the sexual desires of men. During the Victorian Era, when first-wave feminism emerged, conversations about sex in general were taboo, and the discussion of sex by a woman in a public space was especially taboo. However, this did not stop first wave feminist activists from campaigning for these rights. The campaigns against marital rape focused on a woman’s right to control sex with their husband, and they argued for self ownership over their own bodies (Hasday, 2000, p. 1417). Prominent feminists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton made arguments that marriage did not guarantee that a husband could have sex with his wife under all circumstances. At a temperance convention, she warned of the consequences of having sex with a husband who is an alcoholic, advising to “live with him as a friend...but for woman’s sake, be not his wife” (Hasday, 2000, p. 1418). There were qualities in a man that the women did not want to procreate with, and to ensure the safety of their children, they wanted protection against having sex with certain types of men. One example of this is seen in the disdain of the alcoholic husband – to live with him, be his friend, but never to have sex or reproduce with him. Stanton was firm in the belief that “woman’s
“First wave” of feminism in 1920 advocated women’s suffrage, whereas the “Second wave” targets the societal issues that women in the 21st century are facing. Betty Friedan wrote The Feminists Mystique after World War II exposing female repression and later founded the National Organization for Women (NOW) which ignited the second wave of the feminist movement. Consequently, it became noticeable that women were in multiple wars, as a result branches of feminists were formed (i.e. Liberalist, Marxist, and Socialist). Misogyny’s evolution has its own significant role in the feminist movement, stirring conversations today that affect feminist ideologies. However, in order to fully comprehend what affects second wave feminism along with the tactics utilized by feminists, one must first become acquainted with the many forms.
Characteristic for feminists from the first wave was that they fought for women rights connected to society problems like alcohol abuse, prostitution and slavery. The most important controversies of the first wave of feminism were the right of education, women’s suffrage and
The 4 waves of feminism caused for divergent impacts on society which have and are currently helping to reshape and improve the lives of all women and girls worldwide. The first-wave of feminism commenced in the late 19th century and predominately aimed to open up opportunities for women, with focus on suffrage and importantly granted women the right to vote. Later in the early 1960s, the second-wave of feminism was largely concerned with moving more women out of the workplace and into the workforce. It aimed for an increased economic benefit to women and consequently the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was formed. The third-wave of feminism began in the mid-1990s and focussed on issues such as sexuality, challenging female heterosexuality and celebrating
Feminism by definition means the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men. But many a time’s people restrict the boundary of these forgetting the very important element of diversity of women living in different places and in varied situations.
When referring to the history of feminism in the manner of the first, second, or third wave, one is undermining the experiences that were ongoing during, in middle of, and before those waves that history defines. What ideologies of oppression were being spoken of to raise awareness and whose experience was being excluded/diminished? The articulation of feminism in using the metaphor of waves to describe how the ideologies peaked and rescinded, is incorrect because it focuses only on the voices of those who were able to bring their problems to the surface and excludes those who had a different experience or may have brought awareness in a quieter manner. There are many feminisms and each interpretation is defined by the collective oppression, rather than looking at the situation in an individual perception, which is what creates disagreements and division between feminists. Many definitions of feminism, feminisms, exist simultaneously because it is evolving as fast (or, well, as slow) as the world is changing and if one group of people are to speak of others experience of oppression (or lack of) in place of them, the result can be the glossing over of experiences and therefore, undermine experiences of others.
The idea of women being equal to men has been debated for a very long time. Even when civilizations were just starting, most women were treated very differently from men. When women started fighting against this oppression they were called feminists. Feminism can be separated into three waves. The first wave of feminism was from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s. The second wave was from the 1960s to the 1980s. The third wave of feminism started in the 1990s, but its end is unclear. Some people believe it has ended and the fourth wave of feminism has started, but others believe it continues today. The different waves have been very different in some aspects, but very similar in others. The main differences between the first and third wave of feminism are what they fought for, how they protested, and society’s reaction to their cause.
In 1776, the then First Lady of the United States was the first to raise her about women’s rights, telling her husband to “remember the ladies” in his drafting of new laws, yet it took more than 100 years for men like John Adams to actually do so. With the help of half a dozen determined, and in this case white upper-middle-class, women the first-wave feminism, which spans from the 19th century to the early 20th century, finally led to their goal after 72 years of protesting. The Nineteenth Amendment, which secured the rights for women to vote finally passed in 1920. This grand victory brought other reforms along, including reforms in the educational system,