What are your thoughts on third wave feminism?
Has it become a progressive or regressive movement?
Check out my video response below:
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I am a feminist. Yes, that’s right. I am a classical feminist and anyone with any common sense identifies as one too. Equality between the sexes. As much as equality as possible. Who wouldn’t agree to that?
Discussing feminism is a massive undertaking and I don’t intend on trying to cover all of it. There are so many aspects of feminism that I could delve into but I want to focus on third wave feminism. I am certainly not a fan of third wave feminism. It is an ineffectual movement made worse by global heightened identity and gender politics.
First Wave Feminism: A period of the 19th and 20th century that focused on women’s legal rights, primarily suffrage (voting rights) and property rights.
Second Wave Feminism: Began in the early 1960s and focused on reproductive rights, sexuality, family and work rights, domestic violence, marital rape and legal inequalities.
Third Wave Feminism: An individual style movement that began in the early 1990s. It aims to focus on queer, transgender women. Intersectionality and non western women’s issues.
Judith Butler is a third wave feminism pioneer. She has some interesting theories which are covered in her book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity . She argues against gender being binary. It should be seen as a human attribute that shifts and changes rather than staying fixed. I think one’s sex is different from one’s gender identity.
You cannot choose your own sex. You can choose to identify as a particular gender , so long as you don’t believe you are that gender by sex. Sex and gender are often conflated which has resulted in some third wave feminists believing that one can choose their own “sex”.
I dislike what third wave feminism has become in general and I want to point out the following areas where I feel it’s problematic:
It has no clear structure. Therefore, it moves in too many different and contradictory directions. Proponents of third wave feminism allow people to define feminism for themselves by incorporating their own values and individuality. It might sound great in theory but it has lead to a movement that seems confused and often extremist.
Third wave feminists advocate women’s rights, but rarely in respect to equality with men. It’s too often about gaining a bizarre superiority over men.
They agree that women need more rights but they often disagree with each other and contradict themselves as to what those rights are. Some demand female body empowerment and sexuality. Others advocate the sheltering of women via safe spaces and trigger warnings.
They don’t allow for women to publicly aim critical thought at other women. It is a form of gender treason. They contradict themselves by doing it in private though. For example, Lena Dunham has reportedly criticized Hillary Clinton in private for the way she handled Bill’s sexual escapades. Dunham would never vocalize this on a public platform.
They try to classify everything as rape. Actual rape cases are a serious matter. Physical admiration, cat calling, wolf whistling, posting nude photos of women, and forms of sexual harassment are not rape. They may sometimes be unpleasant ,and in some cases, illegal but they are not rape.
There is a lack of acceptance in regards to criticism and critical thinking. Many proponents claim that they accept it and welcome differences but cant accept it when faced with it. For example, Lena Dunham (who has mass body image issues) publicly presents her body in a way in which the sub text reads “I am woman she really is. A real woman” . If you say that you find her physically unappealing she will call you sexist. Go figure.
Third wave feminists have been known to willingly flaunt their naked bodies at protest marches yet criticise men for looking at the bodies. Go figure.
Third wavers often support structures that are inherently against women and persecute them. White western Feminists in a 2106 Anti Trump rally in Germany wore hijabs and wailed “Allahu Akbar”. This was supposedly a protest again female treatment in the USA. Ironically they took on a religion whose doctrines, Sharia law, and cultural practices have caused suffering to countless women globally.
Third wave feminists try to find sexism everywhere. They spend far too much time overly demonizing men. Naturally, this isolates men further from their movement. You gain equality by working together, not by trying to tear down the “patriarchy”
Third wave feminism relies on inequality to survive. This seems fairly obvious. This is why they are not trying to actually achieve equality. By achieving it, they will disappear. I hope the next wave is the embodiment of the principles perpetuated by Germaine Greer and Camila Paglia. Bring that on ASAP!