Starting in the late 1990s and continuing to the present, the third wave of feminism emerged out of the realization that women are of many colors, ethnicities, nationalities, religions and cultural backgrounds. With this intention modern feminists embraced diversity and change. At the same time the third-wave movement was pared with the continual drive for employment equality and equal pay.
Like in previous feminist movements, there is no all-encompassing feminist idea but instead a drive to change a misnomer about the view of modern feminist.
As deemed in the second wave the “essentialist” definition of feminist assumed a universal female identity and over-emphasized the experiences of upper-middle-class white women. Third-wave feminism seeks to challenge or avoid this oversimplification of what a feminist is. Because of this defiance of categorization, third wave feminists believe there needs to be further changes in stereotypes of women and in the media portrayals of women. While being a noble cause this will only ever be achieved through the actions of the singular “individual,” and only then will a global effect be reached.
When the activist group Femen burst onto the Ukrainian protest scene in 2008 the expectations of those internationally were largely disgusted. While the stunts of these women could have instigated a serious discussion about sexism and gender inequality instead they served as a media based ploy that caused eye rolls so large the earth’s gravitational poll was affected. In protest of dirty politics these women held mud-wrestling matches on Kyiv’s central Independence Square.
Six years and a new office of Paris later, the group, which professes to use “sextremism” to fight against patriarchy as manifested by dictatorship and the sex industry more closely resembles the red light district of Amsterdam, being that the group is largely unable to do anything unless they are topless.
Femen has raised eyebrows with its topless antics and state that they are the founders of the new wave feminism, but one can only wonder if they are only reinforce stereotypes that surround women and solidify a particular image of “women” in the media.
There is little evidence that the “pop feminists” have had any significant impact on the modern world. And with the high hopes and intentions they originated with, protesting against the tradition in Ukraine of turning off hot water in rotating districts of a city seems largely trifling when the international sex trade runs raiment in their native land of Ukraine.
This trend could also be a sign of the times. According to a piece in The Atlantic, pop singer Ke$ha “might be just what some of the 20th century’s most famous feminist thinkers had in mind.”
This is a saddening thought when women like Zaha Hadid create breathtaking creations for those of the next generation.
When Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff, Australian Gov. Gen. Quentin Bryce, Serbian acting President Slavica Đukić Dejanović and Malawi President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Joyce Hilda Banda née Mtila lead international actors. When German Chancellor Angela Dorothea Merkel lead the European Union though the Euro Crisis and when Malala Yousufzai has the will to still defy the Taliban after an attempt on her life.
These are the individual women who create the definition of the third-wave feminist. Women who don’t think of those around them as anything but equal people.
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