The History of Feminism

By Layara Speech


The Chanel Spring 2014 Runway show models the thousands of women protesting the inequality women face everyday. 

 There’s a lot of mixed opinions when it comes to Feminism.  Some people love Feminism and support what the movement stands for while others  are very uneducated on the topic of Feminism. Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights and equality for the sexes. A lot of people think Feminism is a group of women who hate men, which is far from the truth. Women want to be equal to men–not superior. There are also plenty of male feminists, so it would make no sense for Feminism to be a “hate” movement.

    Feminism definitely has done a lot of things for women. The Seneca Falls Convention (SFC) was the very first women’s rights convention that was organized by Lucretia Scott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1848. The Woman’s Suffrage Movement (WSM) that was founded by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucy Stone was the first feminist movement to fight for women’s voting rights.  The first wave, one wave of plenty to come of Feminism also fought for equal access to education, equal access to healthcare, and the right to enter and shape the public sphere.  Sojourner Truth was a strong supporter of women’s suffrage, and she was a big advocate and activist. She was also a powerful speaker, with her “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech being her most popular. An organization was named after her, and focused on the role of race in the American working class.

    The second wave of Feminism that began in the early 1960’s on focused poor housing conditions, poor working conditions, and other societal inequalities. New work benefits such as maternity leave, day care, and counseling became available to women during the 1940’s. The Civil Rights Movement–which opposed established segregation and inequality in the work force–was sparked once men came back from World War II and took back jobs that were given to women. Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan both wrote books about how women were looked at and treated. The National Organization for Women (NOFW) was established, and Betty Friedan joined the organization. The first legislative victory was the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Birth control and abortions became available to women in 1965. Women of color were not represented so the organization National Council Of Negro Women (NCNW) was created and founded by Mary McLeod Bethune. The Third Women’s World Alliance (TWWA) was also created, and  focused on race, sex, sexuality, gender, and class oppression.  

    The Third Wave of Feminism is currently happening and focuses on abortion laws, LGBT+ rights, gender equality, the end of rape culture, equal rights for women of color, Muslims, immigrants, and other minority groups. This wave of feminism started in the 1990’s, and has lasted all the way into 2017. One of the biggest marches was the Women’s March that happened on January 21, 2017 was held I worldwide. Washington, Oakland, and San Francisco  were some of the places these protests were held. The marches focused on reproductive rights, LGBT + rights, gender equality, freedom of religion, racial equality, labor rights, and environmental protection.

    Another protest that was held was the Travel Ban protest. San Francisco, New York, Washington, Manhattan, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Oregon were some of the places the protests were held. The protests focused on resisting Muslims and refugees from being banned from coming into the U.S.  The Third Wave of Feminism is very big on body positivity, reclaiming “derogatory” terms like sl*t, wh*re, b*tch, letting men be feminine, and  letting women be empowered by their sexuality as they please (prostitution, sex work, etc). Amber Rose is a very big feminist and activist. She is a part of a non-profit event called The SlutWalk. This event focuses on gender equality, ending rape culture, victim blaming slut/body shaming, and other social inequalities.

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