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How The Waves Of Feminism Shaped America

by Shelby Williams 

In a world dominated by patriarchal systems, male normative behavior and superiority have become the universal standard for the transmission of power. It’s a universal struggle for minorities that do not fit the standard of receiving that said privilege in a society.

Typically, a patriarchy applies to the social and economic superiority of a man in a societal structure. In the application of a patriarchal system in the Western World, white men often carry the most privilege and dominance within social strata. In comparison to women, the socioeconomic placement of a white man is far superior; however, the distribution of privilege is not only distributed to white men.

The distribution of power is conducted in accordance with the hierarchical system that is established within the Western World. In a modern Western hierarchy, the socio-economic placement of power begins with white men receiving the most resources and ends with women of color receiving the remains.

As a result of this, the initial appearance of feminism and demand for equal rights ultimately made its way into the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The emergence of the first wave of feminism originated in Great Britain as well as within the United States, which was known as the American Suffragist Movement: a reform initiative that emphasized the need for women’s rights and the emancipation of slaves in the U.S.

The Suffragist Movement characterized the fine ideas that centered around providing women with rights to political involvement, economic opportunities and accessibility to education. As progressive and revolutionary as early feminist ideas were, they lacked fundamental properties that did not meet the criteria of being a feminist movement that stood for the rights of all women.

During the first wave of the feminist movement, early feminist principles stood for securing only white women rights. The same feminist approach was then used within the second wave of feminism, which tailored to the rhetoric of declaring rights for white women only.

The conversation on women’s rights transformed into a more proactive rhetoric that was channeled through political action. As a result, the following mass action work was performed in the form of labor unionization, the creation of gender academic studies and legal battles that expanded the rights of women.

It was not until the emergence of the third wave of feminism that attempts were made to integrate the voices of oppressed minority groups. In its recent emergence, the third wave of feminism has included ethnic variations, various political ideological alignments and the integration of new gender academia.

Ultimately, the premise and main focus of the current wave of feminism is to be as intersectional and inclusive of all women.

As broad and inclusive as the third wave of feminism is, it is usually channeled through mass international action and a struggle to stay unified. Reason being, the multiple dimensions that exist within the third wave of feminism cannot receive the same level of importance in comparison to the presence of “White Feminism.”

The challenge of leading a successful intersectional feminist movement struggles to provide an equal platform of diverse representation and understanding of other women issues that identify with minority oppressed groups.

In its application, the third wave of feminism has successfully created an international platform for all women who identify with minority oppressed groups to express their struggles and call for women’s rights.