Since American feminism’s foundations began, critics and society at large have skewed the connotation of what feminism is and strives to become as progress is made. The First Wave Feminist Movement began in the late 1800s to early 1900s, when women pushed for women’s suffrage. Now, a hundred years later, feminism has progressed beyond the white, middle-class agenda and includes women of color, queer woman and transwomen.
Sometimes it takes time for society to include equality for different communities. It wasn’t until the Second Wave that lead feminist policies included issues concerning women of color and accepted women of color as representatives of their communities.
The Third Wave focused less on any political agenda and more on social equality. Women took back the words “bitch” and “slut” and used them as terms of empowerment. Queer women changed the scope of who can identify as a woman but not identify as feminine. Likewise, queer men can identify as a man but not identify as what society considers masculine.
Now it’s 2018, and the Fourth Wave is underway. Society is evolving because our generation is coming to accept the LGBTQ community and disregarding traditional gender roles and expectations the mid-1900s held for both men and women. Men and women are waiting to have families; some couples aren’t getting married at all; and same-sex marriage is legal.
The MeToo movement has sparked a change in how society should listen to and believe survivors of sexual harassment/assault. LGBTQ representation in the media matters as society learns to accept transgender people. Other programs for equality are advocating for the U.S. to adopt anti-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ community in every state.
Arguably, some claim to be feminists but hate and exclude men from the movement. Some claim to be feminists and exclude transwomen. These people cannot be feminists by definition, since the movement’s focus is social and political equality for all genders.
Feminist movements and programs still have progress to make to ensure equal rights for all genders. Society will change when our generation and the next ones can accept others’ differences for what they are and respect each other for them. What changes do you see, and how will you advocate for a better future?