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Feminism

I am 3rd year doctoral student doing my dissertation on the young woman's experience of being a feminist. I am 29 and much like a lot of what I get from your writings, I  am passionate about feminism. What I am finding  though, is the 3rd wave is not much of a wave anymore. Rebecca Walker and you and Jennifer wrote a lot about the 3rd wave, but I wondering  if you feel there is still 3rd wave going on?

Besides understanding what it is that we "are in" right now, I am interested in exploring  what it is that young women who call themselves feminists are DOING  right now. Surely, there must be some bra-burning going on, some protesting? But, I can't seem to find it or them. It feels to me like we all have these separate quiet little voices that occasionally get  loud, but are rarely heard together. What do you think about this? Am I missing something?

Another thing I am finding in my research is that the 3rd wave or whatever it is that is going on right now is still much of a media movement. There is very little in the professional literature (studies, professional journal articles, etc. ) about  current trends in feminism and what I can find is  about 8 years old.  Do you have any ideas about what is being written or studied right now? I know you get a lot of emails, but I sure would appreciate a response  from you. I believe I am conducting very important research that will  help those of us who call ourselves feminists find the other feminists  and if necessary, maybe we can join arms again and fight what is left  to fight or at least find some sisterhood in what we do.

 

Funny enough, I was just contemplating this very subject today. A publisher emailed me and asked me to contribute an "entry" on Third Wave in a book about political revolution and revolt. My main concern was that the Third Wave wasn't really built on revolt or revolution per say...This seems directly related to what you are saying. In general, I think there are tons of reasons to be optimistic about feminism and tons of people out there doing great things in the name of feminism.

Just one example is the Third Wave Foundation and the numerous organizations they work with and fund. And using this one example, I also think the confusion is revealed. For instance, many of the groups that Third Wave funds are explicitly feminist groups — for instance, one that works with sex workers in Washington, DC, another based in San Francisco that works with post-abortion counseling and another in New York that works with parenting and pregnant teens. I actually think this is the very strength of Third Wave feminism — issues are located across a wider spectrum and not solely organized under a feminist label. I think this shows how expansive feminism has become and also reveals the very strength of Third Wave feminism, which is about taking feminism to different movements not assuming that other issues and movements need to come to feminism.

Also, I think that feminism today is naturally more integrated with other movements precisely because we live in more diverse times and thus depend upon that cross pollination. In terms of younger women today, I think it's more helpful to be more specific about what one means by feminism. Did they perform in V-Day—if yes, what did they get out of it? Were they a daughter who was taken to work — if yes, how did that impact them? Did they get gardisal — why or why not? I think contemplating these things and being immersed in a culture where these things are more discussed hints at how natural feminism has become for some people.

-- Amy