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Can someone clarify the 4 waves for me please?

(9 Posts)
Lessthanaballpark Wed 08-Mar-17 20:02:55

This is how I see it:

1st wave: right to vote and legal citizen-hood

2nd wave: equal pay for equal work, sexual revolution

3rd wave: riot grrl, spice girls, rise of liberal feminism and sex-positive feminism

4th wave: intersectional feminism, split between intersectionals and radical feminists over the trans debate.

Have I got this horribly wrong? I hear anti-feminists describe the current wave as the 3rd wave and need some clarification over which bits go where. confused

patodp Wed 08-Mar-17 20:39:24

Intersectional feminism came along with the 3rd wave, maybe even earlier. It began because of women suffering racism+sexism and has since evolved to include other intersections.
The 3rd wave also included everything else you mentioned.

From what I gather the 4th wave refers to feminism discourse that has been enabled to flourish thanks to the Internet. So you get blogs, YouTube vids, shared articles etc surrounding all feminist concepts whereas in previous eras this was not possible. The rise in the trans debate is part of 4th wave for sure but transfolk and rad fems have always been about.

cocoaonebum Wed 08-Mar-17 20:41:59

There's also feminism 5.0 or 5th wave, according to the email I received yesterday from WE. Anyone know what that's all about?

I would agree with the above though, in my limited reading on the subject. But 3rd and 4th definitely blend, for me.

Lessthanaballpark Wed 08-Mar-17 20:48:03

Yes 3rd and 4th are so close together in time.

I also feel that with each wave there has been a backlash and each backlash has had a different nature, a different way of putting women back in their place.

So with the first wave tales of women's wombs being damaged by education and the idea of the angel in the house.

The 3rd wave was likewise met with Men are from Mars etc.

Werkzallhourz Wed 08-Mar-17 21:44:53

I have a different perspective on this.

First wave: suffragettes.

Second wave: 1920s and 30s feminism: flappers, the success of "rational dress", and powerful silver screen dames shirking off traditional gender roles (Greta Garbo in trousers etc). Women also breaking the mould in terms of activities and interests (first female aviators etc).

<< postwar backlash>>

Third wave: 1970s and Women's Lib.

Fourth wave: '90s feminism: mass cultural feminism (i.e. no longer a subculture nor an agitation movement) as seen in the phenomenon of the Vagina Monologues etc by the decade end, but also greater awareness of intersectional issues (pertaining to specifically women of colour, also known as "womanism"). Sites such as "The F Word".

Fifth wave: early 21st century elite feminism: Sandberg etc that segues into ...

... Sixth wave: Campus "liberal" feminism, identified by issues of gender and general social justice.

Lessthanaballpark Wed 08-Mar-17 22:27:54

Blimey. Two more waves confused

theresamustgo Wed 08-Mar-17 22:41:16

So what was Mary Wollstonecraft etc. I always thought that was first wave.

quencher Fri 10-Mar-17 22:48:09

In a nut shell I would say that

The first wave would be suffragettes
Up to the 1928 and I could include the beginning of the Second World War . Mainly because it's the time in the uk when women over 21 got the vote along side men of the same age. The divorce was approved for women too.

After the Second World War would be the second wave. That comes to the 60s.

Third wave is the 70s. Liberals feminists. You also, had those who felt rejected by feminism and civil rights movement and wanted to be part of both. (Womanism).

I don't know what happened in the 80s apart from the word intersectional was coined in 89 and womanism in 82. They were then rejected by academics by the early 90s. (What I did notice in music and videos was a lot of men wearing mak- up and being more feminised. I don't know if that's the correct word. The hair and cloths too. Men's sexuality of those on stage begun to appear fluid. Boy George, David Bowie, prince etc).

90s was all about girl power. Intersectionality become widespread.

00s more liberals and independent women. The group that also benefited from sex and city. Late 90s to 00s

2006 the return of womanism

Post 2010 intersectionality together with trans in tow

And Now - i think feminism is coming back but has moved on from the post-modern days and has entered the post-truth era too. Biology vs social constructs. Mixture of lots of things and it seems to be wobbly while trying to find a balance. Masculinity and femininity as an issue and social anxiety at its height too.

My nutshell become a whole page. grin

YetAnotherSpartacus Sun 12-Mar-17 09:24:33

Officially speaking, the waves refer to social movements. Thus MW and others of her time are seen as foremothers (they wrote, but were not part of a mass movement as such).

The first wave began in the 1800s and was mostly about voting, however it was also about other important legal reforms such as married women's property rights. This was actually a very rich period as the BBC documentary 'Suffragette' shows.

The second wave had its rumblings in the 50s, but came out in the 60s and 70s and gradually fizzed at the end of the 80s. It was about legal reform and challenging the sex / gender distinction (amongst other things). It was very diverse.

Don't ask me about the other waves because I think they are very wanky blurry, although I agree the more liberal DIY individualist feminism of the 90s was different from the second wave.

I agree that the 20s was a watershed era too - but maybe best categorised as an offshoot of the first wave that was stymied eventually by the Depression and war?

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