Third-wave feminism  

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"Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (1991) by Susan Faludi was published within a year of several other popular feminist writings – Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth (1990), Gloria Steinem's Revolution From Within (1992), and Marilyn French's The War Against Women (1992)."--Sholem Stein

"Fourth-wave feminism is third-wave feminism with apps." --The Madness of Crowds (2016) by Douglas Murray

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Third-wave feminism is an iteration of the feminist movement that began in the early 1990s United States and continued until the rise of the fourth wave in the 2010s.

Born in the 1960s and 1970s as members of Generation X and grounded in the civil-rights advances of the second wave, third-wave feminists embraced individualism and diversity and sought to redefine what it meant to be a feminist. According to feminist scholar Elizabeth Evans, the "confusion surrounding what constitutes third-wave feminism is in some respects its defining feature."

The third wave is traced to the emergence of the riot grrrl feminist punk subculture in Olympia, Washington, in the early 1990s, and to Anita Hill's televised testimony in 1991—to an all-male, all-white Senate Judiciary Committee—that Clarence Thomas, nominated for and eventually confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States, had sexually harassed her. The term third wave is credited to Rebecca Walker, who responded to Thomas's appointment to the Supreme Court with an article in Ms. magazine, "Becoming the Third Wave" (1992).

She wrote:

So I write this as a plea to all women, especially women of my generation: Let Thomas' confirmation serve to remind you, as it did me, that the fight is far from over. Let this dismissal of a woman's experience move you to anger. Turn that outrage into political power. Do not vote for them unless they work for us. Do not have sex with them, do not break bread with them, do not nurture them if they don't prioritize our freedom to control our bodies and our lives. I am not a post-feminism feminist. I am the Third Wave.

Walker sought to establish that third-wave feminism was not just a reaction, but a movement in itself, because the feminist cause had more work ahead. The term intersectionality—to describe the idea that women experience "layers of oppression" caused, for example, by gender, race and class—had been introduced by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989, and it was during the third wave that the concept flourished. As feminists came online in the late 1990s and early 2000s and reached a global audience with blogs and e-zines, they broadened their goals, focusing on abolishing gender-role stereotypes and expanding feminism to include women with diverse racial and cultural identities.

The third wave saw the emergence of new feminist currents and theories, such as intersectionality, sex positivity, vegetarian ecofeminism, transfeminism, and postmodern feminism.

Reclaiming derogatory terms


Words such as spinster, bitch, whore, slut and cunt continue to be used in derogatory ways to demean women. 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 believe it is better to change the meaning of a sexist word than to censor it from speech.

Many of these words did not originally have their modern connotations of power. For example, the English word cunt, which is commonly used as a pejorative, is a derivative of the Germanic word "kunton" meaning "female genitalia". Over time the word has become both a pejorative and a marker of femininity. The words bitch and whore developed in a similar fashion.

Part of taking back the word bitch was fueled by Elizabeth Wurtzel's 1999 book, Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women. 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."

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Third-wave feminism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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