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Threewaves

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This describes the first three waves of feminism including British and American.

This describes the first three waves of feminism including British and American.

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  • 1. Jamie Pond GWS 201
  • 2. First Wave
    • First-Wave Feminism: The term commonly used to refer to the nineteenth and early twentieth – century European and North American mobilization to gain voting rights and open the professions to women.
  • 3. First Wave: British
    • Although individual feminists such as Mary Wollstonecraft had already argued against the injustices suffered by women, it was not until the 1850's that something like an organized feminist movement evolved in Britain.
    • The key concerns of First Wave Feminists were education, employment, the marriage laws, and the plight of intelligent middle-class single women.
  • 4.
    • They were not primarily concerned with the problems of working-class women, nor did they necessarily see themselves as feminists in the modern sense (the term was not coined until 1895).
    • First Wave Feminists, largely upper middle class white women responded to specific injustices they had themselves experienced.  
  • 5.
    • Their major achievements were:
      • The opening of higher education for women
      • Reform of the girls' secondary-school system, including participation in formal national examinations: the widening of access to the professions, especially medicine
      • Married women's property rights recognized in the Married Women's Property Act of 1870
      • And some improvement in divorced and separated women's child custody rights.
      • Active until the First World War, First Wave Feminists failed, however, to secure the women's vote.
  • 6. “ The Angel in the House”
    • Many British feminists during this time were fighting against a specific ideal--the angel in the house.
    • See handout
  • 7. First Wave: U.S.A.
    • In the United States, the "first wave" of feminism began in 1848 and lasted roughly until the 1960's. The primary gains of first wave feminists were the right to vote and the right to practice birth control.
    • In, July 13, 1848, more than seventy years after the Revolutionary War, Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the Seneca Convention. Her plan was something unheard in the U. S. at that time: "to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman."
  • 8.
    • At that convention a Declaration of Sentiments was issued, objecting to the following:**
    • 1. Women were not allowed to vote.
    • 2. Women had to submit to laws when they had no voice in their formation.
    • 3. Married women had no property rights (and 90% of women over 25 were married at that time.)
    • 4. Husbands had legal power over and responsibility for their wives to the extent that they could imprison or beat them with impunity.
    • 5. Divorce and child custody laws favored men, giving no rights to women.
  • 9.
    • 6. Women had to pay property taxes although they had no representation in the levying of these taxes.
    • 7. Most occupations were closed to women and when women did work they were paid only a fraction of what men earned.
    • 8. Women were not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law.
    • 9. Women had no means to gain an education since no college or university would accept women students.
    • 10. With only a few exceptions, women were not allowed to participate in the affairs of the church.
    • 11. Women were robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect, and were made totally dependent on men.
  • 10.
    • The Declaration of Sentiments was
    • roundly ridiculed in most polite
    • society at the time. Undaunted,
    • patriots like Susan
    • B. Anthony, Lucy
    • Stone, and
    • Sojourner Truth
    • traveled the country over the next
    • forty years, convincing people
    • otherwise.
  • 11. “ Declaration of Sentiments”
    • How does this compare to the original declaration of independence ?
    • How does this compare to Stanton’s later essay “The Destructive Male”?
  • 12. The Role of Race
    • Why was race important during the struggle for the vote?
    • Why do you think some white feminists were hesitant to align or include race in their agenda?
  • 13.
    • On January 9, 1918, President
    • Woodrow Wilson announced
    • his support of the amendment.
    • The next day, the House of
    • Represenatives narrowly passed
    • the amendment, but the Senate
    • refused to debate it until October. When the Senate
    • voted on the Amendment in October, it failed by
    • three votes.
  • 14.
    • In response, the National Woman's Party urged citizens to vote against anti-suffrage Senators up for reelection in the 1918 midterm elections . Following those elections, most members of Congress were pro-suffrage.
    • On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment by a vote of 304 to 89 and the Senate followed suit on June 4, by a vote of 56 to 25. [2]
  • 15.
    • On August 18, 1920, the Tennessee General Assembly, by a one-vote margin became the thirty-sixth state legislature to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, making it a part of the U.S. Constitution. On August 26, 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the amendment's adoption.
    • The right to vote in America was finally granted to women in 1920. This was 144 years after the Revolutionary War granted men that "inalienable" right.
  • 16.
    • Concurrent with the fight
    • for the vote was the fight
    • for women to control their
    • reproductive systems.
    • The birth control movement was begun by
    • Margaret Sanger, a public health nurse, around
    • 1919, and continues to this day.
  • 17.
    • In 1936, the Supreme Court finally declassified birth control information as obscene. As obscene material it could not be legally publicly distributed. Until 1936 distributing birth control was a crime under the same classification as we now rank the distribution of child pornography.
    • It was not until 1965 that married couples in all states could obtain contraceptives legally. Do not confuse the right to birth control with the right to abortion. The famous abortion case, Roe v. Wade was in 1973.
  • 18. Before we begin talking about the second wave, I’d like to: Review of First Wave What’s the exam going to be like?
  • 19. Second Wave Feminism
    • The term commonly used to refer to the emergence in the late 1960s, and early 1970s in Europe and North America of a “ new social movement ” dedicated to:
      • raising consciousness about sexism and patriarchy,
      • legalizing abortion and birth control,
      • attaining equal rights in political and economic realms, and
      • gaining sexual “ liberation. ”
  • 20. U.S.A.
    • In America, second wave feminism rose out of the Civil Rights and anti-war movements in which women, disillusioned with their second-class status even in the activist environment of student politics, began to band together to contend against discrimination.  
  • 21.
      • The tactics employed by Second Wave Feminists varied from highly-published a activism, such as the protest against the Miss America beauty contest in 1968, to the establishment of small consciousness-raising groups.
      • However, it was obvious early on that the movement was not a unified one, with differences emerging between black feminism, lesbian feminism, liberal feminism, and social feminism.  
  • 22. Race?
    • Why do you think race was important in the second wave of feminism?
    • How was the discrimination black women faced different from what white women faced?
    • Were white women intentionally “othering” black women?
  • 23.
    • Second Wave Feminism in Britain was similarly
    • multiple in focus, although it was based more
    • strongly in working-class socialism, as demonstrated
    • by the strike of women workers
    • at the Ford car
    • plant for equal pay
    • in 1968.
    • Oh yeah,
    • there ’ s a movie
    • coming out on this
    • soon:
    • Made in Dagenham
  • 24.
    • The slogan 'the personal is political' sums up the way in which Second Wave Feminism did not just strive to extend the range of social opportunities open to women, but also, through intervention within the spheres of reproduction, sexuality and cultural representation, to change their domestic and private lives.
  • 25.
    • Second-wave feminists saw women's cultural and political inequalities as inextricably linked and encouraged women to understand aspects of their personal lives as deeply politicized and as reflecting sexist power structures.
    • Second Wave Feminism did not just make an impact upon western societies, but has also continued to inspire the struggle for women's rights across the world.
  • 26. Major Events in Second Wave Feminism
    • 1. The Commission on the Status of Women was created by the Kennedy administration, with Eleanor Roosevelt as its chair.
      • The report issued by that commission in 1963 that documented discrimination against women in virtually every area of American life.
  • 27.
    • 2. In 1963, Betty Friedan's
    • The Feminine Mystique
    • appears on bookshelves.
    • The book was comprised
    • of interview materials with
    • women that buttressed the
    • facts reported by the
    • Commission report. It
    • became an immediate
    • bestseller.
  • 28.
    • 3. Due to a combined effort from many different sorts of activists, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.
      • Title VII made it illegal to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race, religion, and national origin.
      • Historians note that the category "sex" was actually included in an eleventh hour attempt to kill the bill.
  • 29.
    • 4. Eight years later, Title IX
    • in the Education Codes of
    • 1972 was passed.
    • This forbade discrimination
    • in the field of education.
    • Title IX is extremely
    • important to young women
    • today, contributing to
    • equal provisions for women's
    • sports in school and feminist
    • campus activism, among other things.
  • 30.
    • Unfortunately, it became clear early that many anti-discrimination laws that existed in "name only."
    • For instance, within the commission's first five years, it received 50,000 sex discrimination complaints, but did little to investigate them.
  • 31.
            • 5. Frustrated by what they saw as a blatant disregard for spirit of the law, The National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed in 1966.
            • Its mission was to function as a legal "watchdog" for women, along the lines of the NAACP for Black Americans.
            • This was soon followed by other organizations addressing the needs of specific groups of women, including Blacks, Latinas, Asians-Americans, lesbians, welfare recipients, business owners, aspiring politicians, and professional women of every sort.
  • 32.
    • 6. On January 22, 1973, Roe vs. Wade was passed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision legalized abortion in all 50 states, by stating that the right to decisions regarding one's reproductive system was consistent with the right to privacy under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
  • 33.
    • 7. Inspired in part by the legal victories of the 1960's and 70's, but still worried about de facto discrimination, feminists worked to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the United States Constitution. The Amendment, which came up for ratification vote in 1972, said simply this:
    • "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."
  • 34.
    • As simple as that wording was, opponents like Phyllis Schafley charged that passage of the ERA would lead to men abandoning their families, unisex toilets, gay marriages, and women being drafted.
    • Despite polls consistently showing a large majority of the population supporting an Equal Rights Amendment, when the deadline for ratification came in 1982, the ERA was just three states short of the 38 needed to write it into the U.S. constitution.
  • 35.
    • Now, depending upon who you are speaking to, the defeat of the ERA alternately signals one of three things:
    • 1. Proof that of a new era within second wave feminism must begin.
    • 2. Proof that feminism's "third wave" must begin.
    • 3. The proof that we are now in a neo-conservative "post-feminist" era, along the lines of Christina Hoff Sommer's work (Feminism is no longer necessary.)
  • 36. Third Wave versus Post Feminists
    • Please note that "post feminist" and "third wave" feminists believe EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE THINGS. Third wave feminism doesn't argue, as post feminists do, that the time has come to be "done with" feminism.
    • Indeed, third wave feminism isn't a retraction but rather an expansion of second wave work, with a focus in new directions.
  • 37. Some Feminist Criticism of the Second Wave:
    • Many women felt that second wave feminism did not meet the needs of a large body of women. They resented the tendency to essentialize all women as having the same needs and desires of white upper middle class women who largely led second wave feminism.
    • Black, Hispanic, and third world feminist for example have emerged as a result with a goal of speaking for those “ subaltern ” who have long been voiceless.
  • 38.
    • In addition, as feminism moved into colleges and universities feminism became even more splintered as different political, intellectual and pedagogical interests became attached to it.
    • Psychoanalytic feminism, Marxist feminism, etc. are all developments within feminism. Feminism has become not just a political movement, but also an ideology with unique distinctions possible. To make it even more complicated, it is possible for one to be an ideological feminist, but not politically a feminist.
  • 39.
    • There is also criticism
    • that as feminism becomes
    • increasingly an academic
    • discipline it loses the ability to
    • connect to the lives of the average woman in
    • language, accessibility, and content. “ mainstream ”
    • feminism is that popular culture area of the media
    • that claims to speak for these women.
  • 40. Third-Wave Feminism:
    • In the 1980s and 1990s, third wave feminism was powered by middle-class women in their twenties and thirties concerns expressed concerns with retaining second-wave feminist agendas and tried to create new projects focusing on issues of race and sexuality and fighting the new backlash against feminism.
    • They incorporated the diversity of feminisms that emerged by the end of the century, created a new activist terrain, and challenged the focus of older feminists on the agendas of the second wave.
  • 41.
    • When Rebecca Walker, daughter
    • of author Alice Walker and godchild
    • of activist Gloria Steinem, published
    • an article in Ms. entitled "I Am The
    • Third Wave," it drew a surprising
    • response. Young women from all
    • over the country wrote letters informing the magazine of
    • the activist work they were quietly engaged in and
    • encouraging older feminists and leaders of the women's
    • movement not to write them off.  
  • 42.
    • The front page of the Third Wave Foundation web site explains that the organization strives to combat inequalities that [women] face as a result of [their] age, gender, race, sexual orientation, economic status or level of education. By empowering young women, Third Wave is building a lasting foundation for social activism around the country.
  • 43.
    • One of the biggest problems facing third wave feminists (particularly from those who want to revive the second wave) is the charge that third wavers "do nothing" to change things politically.
    • To some degree, this comes from their involvement in what Nancy Fraser calls "counter public spheres," places not usually understood as linked to rationality and change.
  • 44.
    • Though they may go to a demonstration from time to time, third wavers are far more likely to be active in arenas like queer theory, cultural studies, and critiques of popular culture.
    • For example, they wear make up and acknowledge their participation in beauty culture even as they criticize it. In essence, where second wavers argued "the personal is political," third wavers are now arguing that "the pleasurable is political as well."
  • 45.
    • It perhaps stands to reason then that third wavers are often more influenced by the work of "entertainment" writers like bell hooks than by "political" writers like Susan Faludi.
    • Indeed, hooks is considered a key figure for many third wavers because her complex analyses of entertainment forms other people consider "not political" reveal issues of race, globalization and desire central to young women today.
  • 46.
    • The fact that many third wavers are well aware of the important criticisms launched at the second wave for being too closely allied with "white women's politics" complicates matters further.
    • The split is even further complicated by a division between between “ academic ” and “ mainstream ” feminism can be seen in your readings from hooks and Faludi, who are both considered academic in contrast to Ms. Magazine.
  • 47.
    • This is not to say that third wavers are apolitical,
    • but that the political struggles that interest them
    • are not always directly tied to traditional concern
    • within the American feminist movement. For
    • example, third wavers are interested in "women's
    • musicians" like Ani Difranco,
    • Tori Amos and Missy Eliott while
    • concurrently voicing concerns about
    • the "no transsexuals" policy at the
    • Michigan Women's
    • Music Festival.
  • 48.
    • In addition, many third wavers describe themselves as "pro pornography" and/or in favor of women's rights as sex workers, concerns that weren't addressed by second wave feminism in anything but a pejorative way.
  • 49.
    • Finally, many third wavers see women's issues more as global issues, applauding the Beijing Conference on Women but concerned about China's human rights violations. Perhaps even more important they understand that their own participation in culture industries often puts others in the world at risk.
    • One example of this is of course the sweatshop phenomenon, but perhaps an even more pernicious one is the massive trafficking in diamonds (most popular use: engagement rings) that supports a de facto Apartheid for many workers in African mines.
  • 50. Challenges to the Third Wave
    • A CONSERVATIVE BACKLASH. (Susan Faludi) This has come in at least two separate reactions: a. THE FEMINAZI CRITIQUE. Especially among men over the age of 35, there is a belief that the gains of second wave feminists have gone too far; so much so that women now effectively rob men of rights under the guise of sexual equality. The conservative critic Rush Limbaugh's term, "Feminazi" is an example of this belief.
  • 51.
    • b. THE POST FEMINIST CRITIQUE. Especially among women under the age of 35, there is a belief that second wave feminism, though perhaps once useful, has committed a sort of hari kari by way of its own "victim mentality."
    • "Post feminists" maintain, accordingly, that women have all the social and legal protections they need in order to function on equal footing in contemporary society. They assume that radical feminism, a particular branch of second wave feminism that actually died out by the mid- 1970s (the bra burners at the 1968 Ms. America pageant) represent all feminists.
  • 52.
    • They also mistakenly assume that feminism is un-feminine or borderline lesbian or somehow irreconcilable with a desire for marriage, family and traditional values. It should be noted that Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem, along with many other leaders of the feminist movement then and now, is happily married.
    • Rather than discussing the difference between de jure and de facto rights, post feminists instead exhort women to understand their place within culture through such de-historicized notions such as "freedom," "individualism" and "power."