Critical History of Feminism

From Tuesday, March 1.

The Waves

The “Wave Model” was first established by Martha Lear of NYT, 1968
First Wave (19th-early 20th cty)
Focus on women’s suffrage
Prohibition was a feminist concern

Second Wave (1950s-1980s)
Reproductive rights & wage/job equality
Can women “HAVE IT ALL?”

Problems with the Waves
Overwhelmingly catered to white women
Assumed that women want to “have it all”
Erases  women’s movements that happened in between the waves
What problems do YOU have with the waves?

Some More Waves
Third Wave (1990-???)
whether we’re still in the “third wave” is widely debated
focus on rape, sexual assault, patriarchy
“Riot Grrrl” movement in punk music
female empowerment!
tried to tackle intersectionality, especially issues brought up by colonialism

White Feminism
Describes feminists that use ideology that serves only middle to upper class, cis, straight, white women
Assumes that white women experience misogyny in the same way all women experience misogyny
EXAMPLE: After Viola Davis gave her acceptance speech at the 2015 Emmys, she experienced backlash from her fellow actress, Nancy Lee Grahn, who claimed she’d never been discriminated against

Feminist Icons
Simone de Beauvoir
Susan B Anthony
Angela Davis
Gloria Steinem
Alice Walker
Laverne Cox
Françoise d’Eaubonne
Gloria Anzaldua
Amandla Stenberg
Rowan Blanchard
Zendaya Coleman

Dorothy Height
Major civil rights leader
Grew up in Pittsburgh suburb
Served as president for the National Council of Negro Women from 1957 – 1997
Did major work on the Belmont Report, a response to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Received Presidential Medal of Freedom (1994) and Congressional Gold Medal (2004)

Kakenya Ntaiya
Earned a doctorate in education at Pitt
Founded the Kakenya Center for Excellence in Kenya, which focuses on girls’ education and the harmful practices that prevent girls and women from shaping their own destinies, such as genital mutilation and child marriage
The center provides quality education, comprehensive support for their daily needs and a community-focused approach to empower girls and women to take control of their lives

Alternatives to Feminism
a social change perspective based upon the everyday problems and experiences of black women; seeks methods to eradicate inequalities not just for black women, but for all people

school of thought that favors equality for all people; all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights.

Backlash against feminism
Men’s Rights Movement (started 1970s)
Focuses on false rape accusations, criminalization of marital rape, adoption, domestic violence, suicide
Meninism  (started early 2000s)
Focuses on misandry, father’s rights, disproportionate prison sentences, suicide
Independent Women’s Forum
Promotes traditional family roles
other examples include the Women Against Feminism movement happening on social media

An anti-suffrage headquarters in 1911


What are some shortcomings of contemporary feminism?
Continuing in the legacy of past waves, the microphone of feminism continues to be given to white, privileged, cis women.
Feminism can fails to overcome the misconceptions surrounding it.
Continues to be division between different “types” or “sects” of feminism.

Are we “All in this together?”
Should all approaches to women’s rights and the rights of gender minorities be united or grouped under the term- feminism?


Why do we need feminism?
Many of the issues that feminists have fought for in history continue into today.
Even with its traditional flaws, feminism starts a really important conversation.
See also quotes like this:
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” -Todd Akin (commenting on pregnancy resulting from rape)

Final Thoughts…
Our feminism should prioritise trans women, queer women, WOC, disabled women, poor women, intersex women, fat women, and all of the different ways these identities (and more) intersect because throughout history they have never been a priority for anyone else



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