Third-wave feminism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Third-wave feminism is a term identified with several diverse strains of feminist activity and study beginning in the early 1990s. The movement arose as a response to perceived failures of second-wave feminism. It was also a response to the backlash against initiatives and movements created by the second-wave.

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 original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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