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Third-wave feminism

Third-wave feminism refers to several diverse strains of feminist activity and study, whose exact boundaries in the history of feminism are a subject of debate, but are generally marked as beginning in the early 1990s and continuing to the present. The movement arose partially as a response to the perceived failures of and backlash against initiatives and movements created by second-wave feminism during the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, and the perception that women are of "many colors, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, and cultural backgrounds". Subscribers of third-wave feminism claim that second-wave feminism was based more around the experiences of white, middle-class women and was not a proper representation of all women. This wave of feminism expands the topic of feminism to include a diverse group of women with a diverse set of identities.[1][2] Rebecca Walker coined the term "third-wave feminism" in a 1992 essay. It has been proposed that Walker has become somewhat of a symbol of the third wave's focus on queer and non-white women.[3] Third Wave feminists have broadened their goals, focusing on ideas like queer theory, and abolishing gender role expectations and stereotypes.[4] Unlike the determined position of second wave feminists about women in pornography, sex work, and prostitution,[5] third-wave feminists were rather ambiguous and divided about these themes (feminist sex wars).[6]


  • Purpose 1
  • New generations and feminism 2
  • Challenges 3
  • History 4
  • Prominent issues 5
    • Gender violence 5.1
    • Reproductive rights 5.2
    • Reclaiming derogatory terms 5.3
    • Rape 5.4
    • Other issues 5.5
  • Internationally 6
  • Timeline of third-wave feminism worldwide 7
    • 1990s 7.1
    • 2000s 7.2
    • 2010s 7.3
  • Criticisms 8
    • Lack of cohesion 8.1
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12


The shift from second wave feminism came about with many of the legal and institutional rights that were extended to women. In addition to these institutional gains, third-wave feminists believed there needed to be further changes in stereotypes, media portrayals, and language to define women. Third-wave ideology focuses on a more post-structuralist interpretation of gender and sexuality.[7] In "Deconstructing Equality-versus-Difference: Or, the Uses of Poststructuralist Theory for Feminism," Joan W. Scott describes how language has been used as a way to understand the world, however, "post-structuralists insist that words and texts have no fixed or intrinsic meanings, that there is no transparent or self-evident relationship between them and either ideas or things, no basic or ultimate correspondence between language and the world"[8] Thus, while language has been used to create binaries (such as male/female), post-structuralists see these binaries as artificial constructs created to maintain the power of dominant groups.[9]

New generations and feminism

Third-wave feminists such as Elle Green often focus on "micro-politics", and challenge the second wave's paradigm as to what is, or is not, good for women.[10][11][12][13]

Proponents of third-wave feminism claim that it allows women to define feminism for themselves by incorporating their own identities into the belief system of what feminism is and what it can become through one's own perspective. In the introduction to the idea of third-wave feminism in Manifesta, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards suggest that feminism can change with every generation and individual:

The fact that feminism is no longer limited to arenas where we expect to see it – NOW, Ms., women's studies, and redsuited congresswomen – perhaps means that young women today have really reaped what feminism has sown. Raised after Title IX and William Wants a Doll [sic], young women emerged from college or high school or two years of marriage or their first job and began challenging some of the received wisdom of the past ten or twenty years of feminism. We're not doing feminism the same way that the seventies feminists did it; being liberated doesn't mean copying what came before but finding one's own way-- a way that is genuine to one's own generation.[14]

Some third-wave feminists prefer not to call themselves feminists, as the word feminist can be misinterpreted as insensitive to the fluid notion of gender and the potential oppressions inherent in all gender roles, or perhaps misconstrued as exclusive or elitist by critics. Others have kept and redefined the term to include these ideas. Third-wave feminism seeks to challenge any universal definition of femininity. In the introduction of To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism, the Third Wave Foundation founder and leader Rebecca Walker writes:

Whether the young women who refuse the feminist label realize it or not, on some level they recognize that an ideal woman born of prevalent notions of how empowered women look, act, or think is simply another impossible contrivance of perfect womanhood, another scripted role to perform in the name of biology and virtue.[15]


Third-wave feminism deals with issues which appear to limit or oppress women, as well as other marginalized identities. Consciousness-raising activism, which has been referred to as "the collective critical reconstitution of the meaning of women’s social experience, as women live through it"[16] In their book Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future, Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards write:

Consciousness among women is what caused this [change], and consciousness, one's ability to open their mind to the fact that male domination does affect the women of our generation, is what we need... The presence of feminism in our lives is taken for granted. For our generation, feminism is like fluoride. We scarcely notice we have it – it's simply in the water.[14]

Feminist scholars such as Shira Tarrant object to the "wave construct" because it ignores important progress between the so-called waves. Furthermore, if feminism is a global movement, she feels the fact that the "first-, second-, and third waves time periods correspond most closely to American feminist developments" raises serious problems about how feminism recognizes the history of political issues around the world.[17]

Arguably, the biggest challenge to the efforts of third-wave feminism is the decline in popular support for the relevance and importance of feminism in what some claim is the "post-feminist" era. Manon Tremblay refers to this phenomenon as the "antifeminist undercurrent" of the West. Here, a concern for what Amy Friedman calls third-wave feminism's "radical fanaticism" is expressed.[18] Essentially, the claim is that gender equality has already been achieved via the first two waves, and that further attempts to push for women's rights are either irrelevant and unnecessary, or are excessively pushing the pendulum towards advantaging women over men and exaggerating the state of women in modern western society. This issue is seen manifesting itself in the heated debates over whether or not affirmative action initiatives really are creating societal gender equality, or are actually disadvantaging/punishing white, middle-class, males for a biological history that they have merely inherited.[19]

In response to such sentiments, we can trace many previously self-proclaimed feminists crossing the floor to becoming self-proclaimed post-feminists, claiming that the strands of feminism extant today are out of sync with the reality of the success story of women's gains.[20] The popular media has played a large role in propounding this image of radical feminists. Donna LaFromboise is known for stating third-wave feminism of having "perpetuated the myth of female martyrdom, stated that feminists have deliberately maintained such fictions to ensure its survival, and differentiated between "a feminism that informs one's opinions and a feminism that dictates how one should think".[21]


Third-wave feminism began in the early 1990s, arising as a response to perceived failures of the second wave and to address the backlash against initiatives and movements created by the second wave. However, the fundamental rights and programs gained by feminist activists of the second wave – including the creation of domestic-abuse shelters for women and children and the acknowledgment of abuse and rape of women on a public level, access to contraception and other reproductive services (including the legalization of abortion), the creation and enforcement of sexual-harassment policies for women in the workplace, child-care services, equal or greater educational and extracurricular funding for young women, women's studies programs, and much more – have also served as a foundation and a tool for third-wave feminists. Feminist leaders rooted in the second wave like Gloria Anzaldúa, Bell Hooks, Kerry Ann Kane, Cherríe Moraga, Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, Reena Walker and many other feminists of color, sought to negotiate a space within feminist thought for consideration of subjects related to race.[12][22]

In 1981, Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa published the anthology This Bridge Called My Back, which, along with All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies (1982), critiqued second-wave feminism, which focused primarily on the problems and political positions of white women.

The roots of the third wave began, however, in the mid-1980s. Feminist leaders rooted in the second wave called for a new subjectivity in feminist voice. They sought to negotiate prominent space within feminist thought for consideration of race-related subjectivities. This focus on the intersection between race and gender remained prominent through the Hill-Thomas hearings, but was perceived to shift with the Freedom Ride 1992, the first project of the Walker-led Third Wave Direct Action Corporation. This drive to register voters in poor minority communities was surrounded with rhetoric that focused on rallying young women.[23]

Kathleen Hanna was the lead singer of Bikini Kill: a riot grrrl band formed in 1990.

In the early 1990s, the

  • The Third Wave Foundation
  • interview with Rebecca Walker in Satya Magazine
  • Interview with Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards

External links

  • DeKoven, Marianne (October 2006). "Jouissance, Cyborgs, and Companion Species: Feminist Experiment". PMLA 121 (5): 1690–1696.  
  • Findlen, Barbara, ed. (1995). Listen Up! Voices from the Next Feminist Generation.  
  • Gillis, Stacy;  
  • Harnois, Catherine (2008). "Re-Presenting Feminism: Past, Present, and Future". NWSA Journal ( 
  • Henry, Astrid (2004). Not My Mother's Sister: Generational Conflict and Third-Wave Feminism.  
  • Karaian, Lara (2001). Rundle, Lisa Bryn;  
  • Kinser, Amber (2004). "Negotiating Space for/through Third-Wave Feminism". NWSA Journal ( 
  • Musse, Fowzia (2004). "Somalia – The Untold Story: The War Through the Eyes of Somali Women". War Crimes Against Girls and Women ( 
  • Springer, Kimberly (Summer 2002). "Third wave Black feminism?".  

Further reading

  1. ^ Hewitt, Nancy. No Permanent Waves. Rutgers University Press. p. 99.  
  2. ^ Tong, Rosemarie (2009). Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction (Third ed.).  
  3. ^ The Third Wave and the Future of Feminism
  4. ^ Snyder, R. Claire (September 2008). "What Is Third‐Wave Feminism? A New Directions Essay". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 34 (1): 175–196.  
  5. ^ See, e.g., Kate Millet:Sexual Politics, Gloria Steinem, Catharine MacKinnon:Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Women's Equality. 1988. ISBN 0-9621849-0-X. OCLC 233530845)
  6. ^ Lamb, Sharon (4 October 2009). "Feminist Ideals for a Healthy Female Adolescent Sexuality: A Critique". Sex Roles 62 (5-6): 294–306.  
  7. ^ Hardin, Marie; Whiteside, Erin (2013). "From Second-Wave to Poststructuralist Feminism". The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies: Media Effects/Media Psychology. Blackwell.  
  8. ^ W. Scott, Joan. (1941). "Deconstructing Equality-versus-Difference: Or, the Uses of Poststructuralist Theory for Feminism."
  9. ^ Elizabeth Adams St. Pierre (2000). "Poststructural feminism in education: An overview". International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 13 (5): 477–515.  
  10. ^ Freedman, Estelle B. (2002). No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women. London:  
  11. ^ Henry, Astrid (2004). Not My Mother's Sister: Generational Conflict and Third-Wave Feminism.  
  12. ^ a b Gillis, Stacy; Howie, Gillian; Munford, Rebecca, eds. (2007). Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration (Expanded Second ed.).  
  13. ^ Faludi, Susan (1991). Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women. New York:  
  14. ^ a b c d e f  
  15. ^ a b Walker, Rebecca (1995). To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism. New York:  
  16. ^ A. Mackinnon, Catharine. (1991). "Toward A Feminist Theory of the State." Harvard University press.
  17. ^ Tarrant, Shira (2006). When Sex Became Gender. New York:  
  18. ^ Tremblay, Manon. "Gender and Society: Rights and Realities." Canada and the United States: Differences that Count. Ed. David Thomas. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1993.
  19. ^ Newman, Jacquetta A., and Linda A. White. Women, Politics, and Public Policy: The Political Struggles of Canadian Women. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford UP, 2012. 14–15. Print.
  20. ^ Steenbergen, Candis (2001). "Feminism and Young Women: Alive and Well and Still Kicking". Retrieved on 5 June 2013.
  21. ^ LaFramboise, Donna (1996). "The Princess at the Window: A New Gender Morality". Retrieved on 5 June 2013.
  22. ^ a b Heywood, Leslie; Drake, Jennifer, eds. (1997). Third Wave Agenda: Being Feminist, Doing Feminism.  
  23. ^ Hayes Taylor, Kimberly (March 8, 1995). "Feminism reaches the next generation – Walker underscores need for inclusion, change in 'third wave'".  
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h Rowe-Finkbeiner, Kristin (2004). The F-Word.  
  25. ^ Code, Lorraine (2000). Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories.  
  26. ^ Rosenberg, Jessica; Garofalo, Gitana (1998). "Riot Grrrl: Revolutions from Within". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society ( 
  27. ^ Schilt, Kristen (2003). "A Little Too Ironic: The Appropriation and Packaging of Riot Grrrl Politics by Mainstream Female Musicians" (PDF). Popular Music and Society ( 
  28. ^ Gillis, Stacy; Howie, Gillian; Munford, Rebecca (2004). Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration.  
  29. ^ a b  
  30. ^ a b Brunell, Laura. 2008. "Feminism Re-Imagined: The Third Wave." Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the Year. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
  31. ^ Davey, Monica (7 March 2006). "South Dakota Bans Abortion, Setting Up a Battle". New York Times 155 (53511). pp. A1–A14. 
  32. ^ Ludlow, Jeannie (Spring 2008). "Sometimes, It's a Child and a Choice: Toward an Embodied Abortion Praxis".  
  33. ^ Weitz, Tracy A.; Yanow, Susan (May 2008). "Implications of the Federal Abortion Ban for Women's Health in the United States". Reproductive Health Matters 16 (31): 99–107.  
  34. ^ Indiana Code Title 16, art. XXXIV, ch. 2, § 1.1 cl. 1: Voluntary and informed consent required; viewing of fetal ultrasound x (1993; amended 1997)
  35. ^ South Dakota Code Title 34, ch. 23A, § 7
  36. ^ South Carolina Code Title 44, ch. 41, art. 1, § 10
  37. ^ a b Wurtzel, Elizabeth (1998). Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women. New York:  
  38. ^ "SlutWalk Toronto: What". Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  39. ^ a b "SlutWalk Toronto". 
  40. ^ a b "Satellites List". Satellites List, SlutWalk Toronto. 
  41. ^ a b "Slutwalks – Do you agree with the Toronto policeman?". World Have Your Say 60. BBC. 
  42. ^ Murphy, Meghan. "We're sluts, not feminists. Wherein my relationship with Slutwalk gets rocky.". The F-Word. 
  43. ^ Beyerstein, Lindsay. "Sluts Like Me". Big Think. 
  44. ^ "Women: Should they have autonomy?". Women: Shakesville. 
  45. ^ "Four Brief Critiques of SlutWalk's Whiteness, Privilege and Unexamined Power Dynamics". 
  46. ^ Walia, Harsha. "Slutwalk – To March or Not to March". Racialicious. 
  47. ^ Munden, Frank (7 May 2003). "Female medical workers feel maternity leave unfair". The Kapi'o Newspress 36 (28). Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  48. ^ a b c Newman & White (2012). "11". Women, Politics, and Public Policy: The Political Struggles of Canadian Women (2nd ed.). Toronto: Oxford University Press. p. 246. 
  49. ^ a b c d Newman & White (2012). "11". Women, Politics, and Public Policy: The Political Struggles of Canadian Women (2nd ed.). Toronto: Oxford University Press. p. 247. 
  50. ^ Fauziya Kassindja, Do They Hear You When You Cry. p. 171. The case name became Matter of Kasinga, because Fauziya did not know if it was proper to correct the immigration official who misspelled her last name on her entry into the United States.
  51. ^ Services Tahirih Justice Center, Retrieved June 6, 2012
  52. ^ "FindLaw | Cases and Codes". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  53. ^ "Equal opportunities for women Training Activity – TrainerActive, Training Activity Portal". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  54. ^ a b c d "BBC Radio 4 – Woman's Hour – Women's History Timeline: 1990–1999". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  55. ^ ERIC SCHMITTPublished: August 01, 1991 (1991-08-01). "Senate Votes to Remove Ban On Women as Combat Pilots – New York Times". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  56. ^ Emily Wilson (2005-12-13). "A quick reminder: Backlash by Susan Faludi | Books". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  57. ^ Third Wave Foundation. "History". Third Wave Foundation. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  58. ^ "Family and Medical Leave Act (1993) | LII / Legal Information Institute". 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  59. ^ "Ms. Foundation for Women – Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  60. ^ 36c. "36c: Music". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  61. ^ EMILY EAKINPublished: March 30, 2002 (2002-03-30). "Listening for the Voices of Women – New York Times". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  62. ^ "Powered by Google Docs" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  63. ^ a b Vagina Monologues" performances mark S.A. V-Day""". QSanAntonio. 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  64. ^ "United States v. Virginia | The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  65. ^ Tahirih Justice Center. "Services". Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  66. ^ WMC Exclusive: From Superdome to SUPERLOVE – V-Day at 10 by Marianne Schnall – January 30, 2008
  67. ^ "Article: CBS to pay $8 million to settle sex discrimination lawsuit. | AccessMyLibrary – Promoting library advocacy". AccessMyLibrary. 2000-10-25. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  68. ^ a b c d e "BBC Radio 4 – Woman's Hour – Women's History Timeline: 2000–now". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  69. ^ "March for Women's Lives". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  70. ^ "Los Angeles man wins right to use wife's last name". 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  71. ^ Jen McCreight. Atheism+. Blag Hag. 2012 August 19.
  72. ^ Chinese Woman Wins Settlement In China's First Ever Gender Discrimination Lawsuit
  73. ^  


See also

Young Women feminists find themselves watching their speech and tone in their works so as not to upset their elder feminist mothers. There is a definite gap among feminists who consider themselves to be second-wave and those who would label themselves as third-wave. Although, the age criteria for second-wave feminists and third-wave feminists is murky, younger feminists definitely have a hard time proving themselves worthy as feminist scholars and activists.[73]

Rebecca Walker, in To Be Real, writes about her fear of rejection by her mother (author Alice Walker) and by her godmother (Gloria Steinem) for challenging their views:

This problem manifests itself when senior feminists insist that junior feminists be good daughters, defending the same kind of feminism their mothers advocated. Questions and criticisms are allowed, but only if they proceed from the approved brand of feminism. Daughters are not allowed to invent new ways of thinking and doing feminism for themselves; feminists’ politics should take the same shape that it has always assumed.[14]

In an essay entitled "Generations, Academic Feminists in dialogue" Diane Elam writes:

Amy Richards defines the feminist culture for this generation as "third wave because it's an expression of having grown up with feminism".[24] Second-wave feminists grew up where the politics intertwined within the culture, such as "Kennedy, the Vietnam War, civil rights, and women's rights"; while the third wave sprang from a culture of "punk-rock, hip-hop, 'zines, products, consumerism and the Internet".[14]

The third wave of feminism, some argue, lacks a cohesive goal, and it is often seen as an extension of the second wave.[24] Also, third-wave feminism does not have a set definition that can distinguish itself from second-wave feminism. Some argue the third wave can be dubbed the "Second Wave, Part Two" when it comes to the politics of feminism, and "only young feminist culture as truly third wave".[14]

One issue raised by critics is the lack of a single cause for third-wave feminism. The first wave fought for and gained the right for women to vote. The second wave struggled to obtain the right for women to have access and equal opportunity to the workforce, as well as ending of legal sex discrimination.[24]

Lack of cohesion


  • 2011: The first SlutWalk took place in Toronto on April 3, 2011 in response to Toronto police officer Michael Sanguinetti's statement that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."[39] Additional SlutWalks sprung up rapidly in cities all over the world, with marchers reclaiming the word "slut" with the belief that if victimized women are sluts, then all women must be, since anyone can be victimized regardless of what they are wearing.[40][41]
  • 2012: The Atheism Plus movement was founded, in large measure to bring Feminist thought in general and Third Wave Feminism specifically to the New Atheist movement.[71]
  • 2013: The first woman to bring a gender discrimination lawsuit in China, a 23-year-old who goes by the pseudonym of Cao Ju, won a small settlement of 30,000 yuan and an official apology from the Juren Academy.[72]


  • 2000: CBS agreed to pay $8 million to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit on behalf of 200 women.[67]
  • 2001: The Isle of Man passed its first sex discrimination bill.[68]
  • 2004: The March for Women's Lives was held in Washington, D.C., to support the right to abortion, access to birth control, scientifically accurate sex education, and prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, and to show public support for mothers and children.[69]
  • 2004: Asylum Gender Guidelines were introduced by the Home Office of the United Kingdom to tackle issues involving women fleeing their countries.[68]
  • 2007: The Gender Equality Duty of the Equality Act 2006 came into effect in the United Kingdom. It requires that public bodies promote equality of opportunity with a special focus on gender equality. It is each public body’s duty to publish a gender equality scheme which is to be revised every three years. There also has to be an annual report on what actions were taken to achieve objectives outlined in the equality scheme.[68]
  • 2008: Norway requires all companies to have at least forty percent women on their boards.[68]
  • 2008: Diana Bijon's husband Michael takes her last name upon marriage, after their lawsuit which led to a new California state law guaranteeing the rights of both married couples and registered domestic partners to choose whichever last name they prefer on their marriage and driving licenses.[70]
  • 2008: The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act came into force in the United Kingdom.[68]



Timeline of third-wave feminism worldwide

President Bush in early 2006 and incorporated into the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). IMBRA gives foreign women important information about prospective American husbands (for a summary, see also Mail-order bride, Legal issues).


Third-wave Feminists claim that these view-points shouldn't be limited by the label "girly" feminism or regarded as simply advocating for "raunch culture". Rather, these feminisms seek to be inclusive of the many diverse relationships and roles women fulfill. Gender scholars Linda Duits and Liesbet van Zoonen highlight this inclusiveness by looking at the politicization of women's clothing choices and how the "controversial sartorial choices of girls" and women are constituted in public discourse as "a locus of necessary regulation".[48] Thus the "hijab" and the "belly shirt", as dress choices, are both identified as requiring regulation but for different reasons. The two clothing items of women that have caused a great deal of controversy initially appear to be opposing forms of self-expression. However, through the lens of "girly" feminisms, one can view both as symbolic of "political agency and resistance to objectification".[49] The "hijab" can be seen as an act of resistance against western ambivalence towards Islamic identity, while the "belly shirt" can be viewed as an act of resistance towards patriarchal society’s narrow views of female sexuality: Both are regarded as valid forms of self-expression.[49]

Third-wave feminism is often associated, primarily by critics of third-wave feminism, with the emergence of so-called "lipstick" or "girly" feminisms and with the rise of "raunch culture". This is because these new feminisms advocated for "expressions of femininity and female sexuality as a challenge to objectification".[48] Accordingly, this included the dismissal of any restriction, whether deemed patriarchal or feminist, to define or control how women or girls can dress, act, or generally express themselves.[48] These emerging positions stood in stark contrast with the anti-pornography strains of feminism prevalent in the 1980s. These new feminisms posit that the ability to make autonomous choices about self-expression can be an empowering act of resistance, not simply internalized oppression. However, such views have been critiqued because of the subjective nature of empowerment and autonomy. Scholars are unsure if empowerment is best measured as an "internal feeling of power and agency" or as an external "measure of power and control".[49] Moreover, they critique an over-investment in "a model of free will and choice" in the marketplace of identities and ideas.[49] Regardless, the "girly" feminisms attempted to be open to all different selves while maintaining a dialogue about the meaning of identity and femininity in the contemporary world.

Third-wave feminism regards race, social class, transgender rights, and sexual liberation as central issues. However, it also pays attention to workplace matters such as the glass ceiling, sexual harassment, unfair maternity-leave policies,[47] motherhood – support for single mothers by means of welfare and child care and respect for working mothers and for mothers who decide to leave their careers to raise their children full-time.

Other issues

Since 2011,[38] the utility of the reclamation strategy has been a hot topic among third-wave feminists with the introduction of SlutWalks. The first SlutWalk took place in Toronto on April 3, 2011, in response to Toronto police officer Michael Sanguinetti's statement that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."[39] The SlutWalk movement caught on rapidly and additional SlutWalks sprung up internationally with marchers contending a reclamation of the word "slut", their position being that if victimized women are sluts, then all women must be, since anyone can be victimized regardless of what they are wearing.[40][41] SlutWalks have occurred in many international major cities, including New York City, Berlin, Seattle, West Hollywood, and London. Third-wave feminist bloggers have both praised and criticized the Slutwalks, with the reclamation of the word "slut" being questioned for its possible exclusion of some cultural groups.[42][43][44][45][46]


Part of taking back the word bitch was fueled by the 1994 single, "All Women Are Bitches" by the all-woman band Fifth Column, and, later, by the 1999 book Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel. In the successful declaration of the word bitch, Wurtzel introduces her philosophy: "I intend to scream, shout, race the engine, call when I feel like it, throw tantrums in Bloomingdale's if I feel like it and confess intimate details about my life to complete strangers. I intend to do what I want to do and be whom I want to be and answer only to myself: that is, quite simply, the bitch philosophy."[37]

English-speakers continue to use words such as spinster, bitch, whore, and cunt to refer to women in derogatory ways. Inga Muscio writes, "I posit that we're free to seize a word that was kidnapped and co-opted in a pain-filled, distant, past, with a ransom that cost our grandmothers' freedom, children, traditions, pride, and land." Third-wave feminists prefer to change the connotation of a sexist word rather than censor it from speech.

Reclaiming derogatory terms

One of feminism's primary goals is to demonstrate that access to contraception and abortion are women's reproductive rights. According to Baumgardner and Richards, "It is not feminism's goal to control any woman's fertility, only to free each woman to control her own".[14] South Dakota's 2006 attempt to ban abortion in all cases, except when necessary to protect the mother's life,[31] and the US Supreme Court's recent vote to uphold the partial birth abortion ban are viewed by many feminists as restrictions on women's civil and reproductive rights.[32][33] Restrictions on abortion in the United States, which was mostly legalized by the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade,, are becoming more common in states around the country. Such restrictions include mandatory waiting periods,[34] parental-consent laws,[35] and spousal-consent laws.[36]

Reproductive rights

Gender violence has become a central issue for third-wave feminists. Organizations such as [30]

Gender violence

Prominent issues

The increasing ease of publishing on the Internet meant that e-zines (electronic magazines) and blogs became ubiquitous. Many serious independent writers, not to mention organizations, found that the Internet offered a forum for the exchange of information and the publication of essays and videos that made their point to a potentially huge audience. The Internet radically democratized the content of the feminist movement with respect to participants, aesthetics, and issues[30]

Third-wave feminists have recently utilized the internet and modern technology to enhance their movement, which has allowed for information and organization to reach a larger audience.

In 1992, the "Year of the Woman" saw four women enter the United States Senate to join the two already there. The following year another woman (Kay Bailey Hutchison) won a special election, bringing the number to seven. The 1990s also saw the first female United States Attorney General and Secretary of State, as well as the second woman on the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the first US First Lady (Hillary Rodham Clinton) to have an independent political, legal, corporate executive, activist, and public service career. However, the Equal Rights Amendment, which is supported by second- and third-wave feminists, remains a work in progress.

In response to this case, Rebecca Walker published an article entitled "Becoming the Third Wave" in which she stated, "I am not a post-feminism feminist. I am the third-wave."[29]

In 1991, Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas, a man nominated to the United States Supreme Court, of sexual harassment. Thomas denied the accusations and, after extensive debate, the United States Senate voted 52–48 in favor of Thomas.[15][22][28]

[24] as an appropriation of the perceived derogatory use of the term.girl, placing it in the word r uses a "growling" double or triple Riot Grrrl The term [27]

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