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Fourth Wave Feminism

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  • April 5, 2012
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Is It Post Feminism Or The Fourth Wave

The word feminism is defined as referring to political, cultural, and economic movements seeking greater rights and participation in society for women and girls. This word goes hand in hand with the feminist movement, which is aimed at equal rights for women. The feminist movement has had three distinct waves. The first wave took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and granted women the right to vote and practice birth control. The second wave achieved legal equality for women and began in the 1960’s and continued into the 90’s . The third wave of the feminist movement strove for social reform and began in the mid-90’s and some say it is still continuing today, or perhaps it died out silently when the new millennium came. Nonetheless, where does that leave us today? Are we currently in a fourth wave, which some say is primarily on the internet, or have we achieved a post feminist society? In the case of American society we have not done the latter, we are actually in the fourth wave of feminism which thus far has been different from the other waves of the feminist movement because it actually draws on the ideas of a pre-feminist era.

In order for American culture to have reached a place where there can be a post-feminist society, two things must happen. The first is that corporate media must stop reminding women that one of their most important tasks is to police the boundaries of their bodies. By sending the message to women that they need to be a size two who wears Victoria’s Secret, drinks Slim Fast, and uses lipstick on a daily basis, they are encouraging women everywhere to strive to be the epitome of patriarchal ideals for women. Ariel Levy argues in her novel Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture that everywhere she turns, she sees this type of behavior being promoted in the media. Levy says that she “...would turn on the television and find strippers in pasties. [She] would flip the channel and...