April Book Discussion – Part 2 of 5


even though no one has started discussion from my questions posted yesterday, i’m gonna keep on truckin’ and posting more opportunities for debate. you’ll all jump on sometime, won’t ya?

  • One of the biggest differences I see between second and third wave feminism is, obviously, the political environment that shape the movements. During the late 60s/early 70s a political vaccuum appeared with the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and overall political upheaval, paving the way for the possibility of greater social change and with it a visible movement. Currently we do not have a visible movement in the sense that the media regularly covers our actions, which leads into the “feminism is dead” stories. Do we need visibility for legitimacy?
  • Furthermore, Henry makes the statement that “unlike second wave, the third wave does not move beyond these individual assertions of identity to a larger, collective political identity” (44) Do you agree? Do third-wave feminists fail to break free from individual concerns and do not culminate into a group aiming for political change? Do we need to all come together under one (or a few) political umbrellas and work together or do we stay content in multiple small grass-roots (often invisible) movements?
  • What social issues are prevalent for third-wavers that weren’t prevalent for second-wavers? How does (or even does?) this change our goals?
  • Henry describes second-wave feminism as “rules feminism” (i.e. to be a feminist you are this, this, this, not this) and third-wave feminists often reject this doctrine of rules of what a feminist should be. Is third-wave feminist’s rejection of these “rules” lazyness to learn, a knee-jerk reaction to reject your elders (especially if it is from the matraphor of waves of feminism), or a need to break from oppressive (or incorrect) ideology?

5 responses to “April Book Discussion – Part 2 of 5

  1. Is third-wave feminist’s rejection of these “rules” lazyness to learn, a knee-jerk reaction to reject your elders (especially if it is from the matraphor of waves of feminism), or a need to break from oppressive (or incorrect) ideology?

    I don’t see our rejection of “rules feminism” as a rejection of our elders or a need to break from anything oppressive; in my opinion, the movement has simply evolved to become more inclusive. feminism is a diverse movement that can, and should, appeal to all women, and, logically, mean different things to different women. just because one identifies with feminism doesn’t mean she or he needs to believe or follow or be passionate about all the same tenets of feminism. and i don’t see this as a weakness. i think it’s a sign of our strength, and we can accomplish so much more if we follow our passions and worry less about following rules and more about accomplishing our goals.

  2. esmerelda, i totally agree. rules feminism puts me in a box that i did not design and that limits who i am, not taking into consideration my individuality. yes, i can be a feminist and still have personal differences outside the rhetoric. it doesn’t make me less of a feminist, it just makes me complex. (multifaceted, feria by loreal style. booya!)

  3. i totally agreed with astrid henry when she said that the third-wave lacks a larger, collective political identity. we are small pockets of people, we have loud voices on the blogosphere, we are active at your local college, but beyond that do we have a wider movement? i don’t know. we are not visible to many, that’s for damned sure. and sometimes it’s frustrating and makes me wonder if we could ever band together for a common cause (if roe v. wade was overturned, would we unite? why should it take that to come together?) but on the flipside that means we are smaller groups, small covert groups–i’m in your neighborhood, infiltrating your ideas. there’s strength in that too. i dunno, i’m conflicted.

  4. mayhem, Sometimes I wonder if the lack of political energy or lack of a movement ideaology has to do with our rampant individualism and tendency to speak only for ourself. we were raised in a cultural climate that told us not to generalize, that we are all individual snowflakes, and most importantly, that political correctness is next to godliness. could this mindset have something to do with the fact that we can’t seem to bind together in a large cohesive movement or march under one banner; because we can’t agree on any one issue? in that regard, i’m envious of the second wave. they had clear goals and clear ideas of who and what they were and stood for. we, on the other hand, have to include everyone and carefully guard our language so as not to offend or exclude anyone. feminists can now be anyone, so that people like katie roiphe can claim the title, pro-lifers and pro-choicers, democrats and republicans….which is a double-edged sword. it’s great that feminism can have that sort of mass appeal; however, that also is our greatest weakness– as a classmate once bluntly put it, “it dilutes the movement.” how can we accomplish anything if our members proscribe to contradictory worldviews? there has to be more than just some oblique notion of “feminism” that unites us or else we will forever be an impotent and frustrated wave.

  5. i find that great movements happen because there is a great need for them. even though , for example, problems concerning female health exist (such as otc morning after pill, the accessibility of the hpv vaccine), there isn’t one major issue that oppresses women. sure, times when masses of people get together to fight for a common cause is exciting, especially when they succeed, but it’s easy to forget that they did it out of extreme necessity. right now, feminism is still fighting for something, but in smaller ways that just aren’t shared – ways that women express their sexuality, asking for raises in the work place, women being in charge of businesses / organizations.

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