Third Wave Feminism

Third Wave Feminism

A Valid Distinction?
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Though the idea has come under much scrutiny, the feminist movement in America has been categorized under three titles, or waves: First Wave Feminism, Second Wave Feminism and the modern Third Wave Feminism. The first wave, beginning in 1848 and ending in 1920, is recognized as a version of the movement that focused heavily on the political empowerment of women, women’s suffrage being the most popular of the achievements.

The second wave, existing roughly between 1960 and 1970, turned its attention toward the social roles of women, attempting to shatter the social confines that expected them to become submissive housewives restrained to their homes.

The third wave is described as focusing little on any type of political agenda, but putting effort toward breaking the boundaries and conceptions of gender and also being heavily inclusive of men. Third Wave Feminism has been met with much criticism and scholars cannot decide on a definition, though Merriam-Webster defines the entire movement, feminism, as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Though the first and second waves may have certain similarities (their intense focus on social issues), the differences in precisely what they choose to focus on as well as the means through which they choose to fight are enough to justify the distinction of third wave feminism.

Scrutiny befalls more than just the idea of categorizing modern feminism under its own wave. It extends even to the analogy of waves. It is claimed that to categorize whole portions of the feminist movement under waves serves primarily to oversimplify the complexities and fluid, ongoing nature of feminism. This is true to an extent, as the first wave of feminism is renowned as a movement focused on women’s suffrage and often criticized for its lack of concern for minorities, “equal rights for women, educational and legal reform, abolition of slavery, and ‘suffrage’” were all included in the beginning of the movement.

Proponents of the analogy argue that it “manages to capture the similarities, differences, continuities, discontinuities, and evolution of feminism as a transformation series of movements, epistemology, and activism." As described, the first two waves seem to encapsulate the three ideas specified in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, being political, economic, and social equality. The third wave is extremely similar to the second in that it focuses on social change, but has integral differences that set it apart from the second wave, some being its inclusion of men and its focus on gender and gender roles rather than exclusively dealing with the subjugation of women. The misunderstanding of the beginning of the feminist movement in all that it stood and fought for should be attributed more to the poor execution in educating students on it than the given titles.

One triumph met during the proposed duration of second wave feminism was the Equal Pay Act. An in-depth analysis reveals that the second wave of feminism is characterized strongly by struggles pertaining tolaws surrounding spousal rape, cultural challenges with the treatment and portrayal of women, reproductive rights, and the same de facto inequalities faced by racial minorities." Widely agreed upon, the second wave of feminism in America ended in the early 1980s, following the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment which earned equal rights for women. This was the first wave to “address the role of women in the workplace, the fight for equal pay, and the need for women to have equal access to leadership roles as men do." The major triumph met under this wave of the movement was the Equal Rights Amendment, which essentially marked the end of the movement as women’s suffrage; their right to vote marked the ending of the first wave.

There were about four decades following where the feminism movement was not a loud and impactful force until this second wave began. Ending in the 1980s, there is much less time between the second and third wave, and that, by no means, justifies ignoring their differences.

One major criticism of the second wave of feminism, one that has been corrected by this third wave, was its “largely heterosexual, middle-class and white focus." With not being very inclusive of other voices and issues, the movement was also exploitative. It “treated the concerns of Black women and lesbians as divisive to the movement instead of an important rallying point."

A term often associated with the third wave of feminism is intersectionality. Coined in 1989, the term is defined by The Oxford English Dictionary as the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. This term is central to this third wave of feminism because, now, feminism focuses seriously on the struggles of all people in society in the realm of gender.

Originally, “third wave characterized a feminism mediated by the terrains of race and multicultural alliances." This inclusive attitude was “a unique mode of ‘everyday theorizing.’" This version of feminism began with examining "not only the intersections between race, class, culture, and sexuality but also the celebration—and coalition politics—of difference." With the large changes relating to and new ideas adopted by third wave feminism, there were women who were alive throughout the second wave of feminism who identify under the title of third wave feminists.

Along with the intersectionality of modern, third wave feminism is the challenging of gender constructs. Referred to as “queer theory,” third wave feminism argues that sexuality is fluid and challenges the notion of heterosexuality as the norm. Feminism has somewhat shifted into the realm of sociology, no longer fighting for equal pay and right, but rather for women to be able to take control of their bodies and their identities, shedding light on the poor and often detrimental way women are socialized growing up in society. A popular and widely misinterpreted statistic that women get paid 77 cents to the male dollar is an example. With the Equal Pay Act of 1963, this would be illegal and unable to continue. This statistic exists because there are not many women entering the S.T.E.M. fields. Third wave feminism asks why and delves into how women are socialized in school and other places, how they are taught they should handle their education and the heights to which they should pursue it.

Third Wave Feminism, like the original two waves, is not without its own criticisms and misrepresentations. Because of what was essentially a smear campaign waged against feminism by government, corporations and primarily conservative white women, the feminist movement has come under much scrutiny and essentially lost its identity for a period of time. The government promoted the message that feminism was no longer needed because women were equal in the eyes of the law while corporations that dealt with beauty, alongside women who opposed feminism, made feminists out to be bitter, unattractive and unintelligent women who were not concerned with real discourse. This caused a rift even within the movement, pushing many women away from wanting to identify under the term “third wave." Even if the descriptions are accurate, feminism should not be judged on the actions or ideas of every individual who purports to operate under its banner.

Third Wave Feminism has been met with nearly everything that made the earlier waves distinguishable other than actual legal change. There is a sect that works on the legal side to make men and women more equal in courts, but, for the most part, the largest hurdles have been overcome. Third Wave Feminism, like Second Wave Feminism, is a continuation of the overall movement, but deserves to be separate and distinct. The third wave has corrected many of the issues of the second wave while taking on a new identity with its intersectionality, focus of sexuality, deconstruction of gender notions, etc. Said to have taken off and adopted the name Third Wave Feminism in the 1990s, modern feminism is in a part of a distinct piece of history and will continue to prove itself unique and useful.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.

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There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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