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Women's History

Dear Amy,

I am fairly familiar with the history of the women's movement. I understand the separation of the "waves" of feminism; first wave suffrage, second wave affirmative action, but what is the third wave? Do we have any overarching goals?

Are we even in a period of active feminism, because it seems to me as though there is a lack of organization and common vision right now?




Dear C,

Third Wave feminism is essentially feminism today.

The term started to be used in the early nineties when younger women were trying to find their unique feminist voice and also their place within feminism. While they shared goals with second wave feminism, they grew up with feminism and therefore had different associations. It was a way to define that unique and different perspective. It is also a part of feminism designed to give younger women themselves more visibility as feminists and as feminist spokespeople.

There is an Alice Rossi quote from "The Feminist Papers," which I think sums this up -- "the public heroines of one generation are the private citizens of the next." I think that Third Wave exists in more places and among more individuals who are defining it on their own terms and changing their communities in very small ways, which collective add up to a big impact.

I hope that helps,

-- Amy

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