Essay on The Issues Facing the Third Wave Feminism Movement

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As Third Wave feminism is currently unfolding before us, and its aims encompass a wide array of complex issues, it is often hard to describe what Third Wave feminism is. The feminist theories, mainly associated with First and Second Wave feminism attempt to describe the power imbalances that are found in society, and while doing so expose other oppressions, such as discrimination based on race or sexual orientation. As this essay attempts to place a clear definition to Third Wave feminism, feminists are concurrently trying to deconstruct old definitions and open it up for women to determine what feminism means to them. In other words, no clear definition on what is meant to be a feminist is sufficient, as the Third Wave is about equality and freedom for all citizens, regardless of sex, class, race or sexual orientation.
The origins of Third Wave feminism are highly debated, as there is no clear commonality that this wave uses to differentiate between the First and Second waves that occurred prior. Emerging during the 1990’s, Third Wave feminism sought to build upon the achievements and ideas that were accomplished during First and Second wave’s, by increasing the significance and accessibility of its ideas to a greater spectrum of people.
The Third Wave may have occurred as a result of Black women’s criticisms of the Second Wave as a strictly white, middle class women’s movement.(Page 64) Canada supports the idea of meritocracy, where everyone has an equal chance of success. This belief undermines the fact that racism was still very evident in the women’s movements. Also an issue that arose from the Second Wave, was the exclusion of transgendered people from the movement.
Still others believe that the Thir...

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...ithout discrimination. Often using the media as a way to quickly generate and spread new theories and ideas, Third Wave feminism is morphing into what is known as ‘Pop feminism.’(Page 82) Increasingly more people are getting involved with the feminist movement, and realizing that people of all ethnicities, social backgrounds, and sexualities should be treated with respect.
Women’s Studies in the Classroom
Women’s Studies classes must be open for considerable discussion and debate regarding the Third Wave agenda, as this new movement can draw on anything from previous waves, as well as anything else feminists feel is important enough to discuss. As several of the issues of Third Wave are touchy subjects, such as transexuality, pornography, and women’s feelings towards their bodies, the class must be open for the consideration of others opposing points of view.

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