Definition of the feminist theory is a vast understanding, as it has more than one meaning. Today we’ll try to understand what feminism really is.
Although the core of the theory of feminism is essentially the same, examples can show us subtle differences and criticism in each feminist theory.
The basic meaning is to establish gender equality and analyzing the inequalities of the sexes, but the definition of the feminist theory has more details to it. One example does not do justice describing a whole concept.
Early feminist theories date back to the late 18th century, when early examples were “A Vindications of the Rights of Woman” by Mary Wollstonecraft, “Ain’t I a Woman” by Sojourner Truth, “The Changing Woman”, which is a myth told by the Native American people Navajo.
Feminism is divided into three waves: first wave, second wave, and third wave. Each wave deals with movement during that certain period of time and the criticism behind the definition of the feminist theory, as its goal is to understand gender inequality.
What is the Real Definition of the Feminist Theory?
We can bring multiple examples that can exhibit the meaning of the theory. Every definition has received backlashes and criticism for their way of demonstration.
- Google’s definition of feminism is: “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”
- The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”, and “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”
- According to Dictionary.com, feminism is the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
- The Cambridge Dictionary defines it best: “Feminism is the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way or the set of activities intended to achieve this state.”
- Currently, the top definition of the feminist theory in the Urban Dictionary is the following: “Feminism used to be about women getting the same rights as men, such as the right to vote and equal pay at work. Now feminism is a movement full of women who seem to think that their ability to push a baby out of their vagina entitles them to bigger and better everything.”
As you can see, the last definition is distorted. The examples of that definition capture the meaning of the perversion it represents.
Examples of the twisted definition of the feminist theory include cheap hints of the “hidden” meaning and criticism
- “It is pretty hypocritical to expect to be treated special because you are a female (such as tighter laws concerning rape or more leniency if a woman becomes pregnant) yet they get upset when they aren’t being treated exactly like a man. The feminists need to realize that women are not better than men. They are EQUAL. You don’t see any laws that provide special treatment for men do you?”
- “Once I saw a feminist say that abortions should be legal AND be free. I am all for abortion rights, but demanding that it be free because your ass couldn’t use the proper birth control before spreading your legs is absurd. And before you pull the rape card on me, keep in mind that if you go to the hospital after being raped, they give you medications to prevent pregnancy. I see no reason for free abortions.”
They claim that feminism preaches that women are better than men. Wrong again! These misconceptions blur the true meaning of the feminist theory.
The Definition of the Feminist Theory Grew Larger in Time
The meaning now has a wider interpretation. The three waves of feminism have set us examples of prominent feminist leaders who refused to stand down when criticism stood in their faces.
The First Wave of Feminism
First wave feminism activities took place in the 19th to early 20th centuries in the US and the UK. What started off as promoting equal property and contract rights, as well as ownership of women by their husbands later bloomed to focusing on obtaining political power such as the right of women’s suffrage.
Distinguished first wave feminist leaders in the US were Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony. The latter was possibly the biggest, most prominent figure of first wave feminism.
“It is the downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government: the ballot.”
The Second Wave of Feminism
The second wave of feminism started in the 1960s and lasted till the 1980s. Like the first wave, it focused on women’s suffrage and women’s sexual, reproductive, and economic rights, as well as feminism issues like ending discrimination.
Cultural and political inequalities were deemed inseparable from the perspective of second-wave feminists.
The Third Wave of Feminism
As for third-wave feminism, the movement began in the early 1990s. It was a comeback of failed second wave feminist initiatives and fired back against the criticism of the second wave movement.
Third wave feminism was not only a response to all these, but it also redefined and broadened the meaning of the feminist theory. The movement concentrated on diversity too. The abolishment of gender-role stereotypes was the main focus and widening the movement. Women of diverse racial and cultural identities were welcomed.
The term “third wave” was created by Rebecca Walker.
So I write this as a plea to all women, especially women of my generation: Let Thomas’ confirmation serve to remind you, as it did me, that the fight is far from over. Let this dismissal of a woman’s experience move you to anger. Turn that outrage into political power. Do not vote for them unless they work for us. Do not have sex with them, do not break bread with them, do not nurture them if they don’t prioritize our freedom to control our bodies and our lives. I am not a post-feminism feminist. I am the Third Wave.
Modern-Day Defenition of the Feminist Theory
Now, the modern-day feminist theory is about having a choice. Having the choice of engaging in masculine activities. Having the choice of doing feminine things.
It’s having the choice to follow traditions or to break them all. The modern definition of the feminist theory lies in the option of choosing. You’re free to decide on anything you desire.
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