What is the difference between 3rd and 4th wave feminism?

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What is the difference between 3rd and 4th wave feminism?

In: Culture

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Super short version?

1st Wave focused on enfranchisement (the vote)

2nd wave on equality (workplace rules, legal independence, etc)

3rd wave on empowerment (sexual freedoms, personal autonomy)

And the 4th wave on intersectionality (how are all of the above also impacted by things like race, religion, class, ability, etc)

Basic background information First and second wave feminism were basically voting and jobs rights movements. They wanted to get women the right to vote and to work, and they got both of those. Third wave feminism was about going beyond voting/employment rights and making society handle women’s issues better. Reproductive rights, domestic abuse, sexual liberation and pay equality were all important third wave issues. Fourth wave feminism is a reaction to third wave feminism, in the same way that third wave feminish was a reaction to first and second wave feminism.

Third Wave feminism is all about how being a stay at home housewife with 2.5 kids isn’t the One True Way to be a woman, and that if a woman wants a job or raises her children as a single mother, or wants to work in a traditionally male job, she should be given all the same rights as a man making those choices would be allowed. It all comes back to the idea that there’s no wrong way to be a woman and that society should let women be as free as it lets men be.

Fourth Wave feminism focuses on intersectionality, the idea that the problems faced by a double minority (like a gay woman, a black woman or a trans woman) aren’t just the sum of the problems they’d face for being a member of either minority alone. For example, if you want to understand lesbian issues, you can’t just take straight women’s issues and gay men’s issues and combine them – lesbians have specific problems that are unique to being a lesbian, and you have to actually ask lesbians what their life is like to know what they go through.

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