Feminism Definition and History

Are you wondering about feminism definition and history? Well, if you are, then you have come to the right place. You might have heard about the word feminism in your life. Maybe your coworker has mentioned the word to you once in a while. Maybe you have heard about feminism on the news or maybe you have read about it somewhere on the internet.

Nowadays, feminism is everywhere. It is a topic that manages to attract everyone’s attention. However, do you know what feminism truly is? Moreover, do you know the history of feminism? How did it all start? Who started this ideology that became such a great movement until now? Well, if you do not have the answers to those questions, you do not have to worry. We are here to tell you everything you need to know about feminism. Just sit back, relax, and let us tell you all you need to know about feminism and its history.

What is Feminism?

Before we talk about anything else, let’s talk about what feminism is. That way, you will be able to understand the basics of feminism, including its definition. If you want to truly understand what feminism is, then you need to know its definition. A lot of people have defined feminism in so many ways. There are so many versions of what feminism is to someone. However, every definition of feminism out there has one principle, which is equality for women.

So, what is feminism? Well, feminism is a belief or an ideology that has become quite popular over the last decade. It is a belief in the economic, cultural, and political equality of the sexes. Feminism is a belief that fights for women’s rights and interests. Through feminism, women all over the world can fight for their rights, which have been denied just because of their sex. This movement managed to liberate women all over the world. That is why feminism is such a powerful movement.

The History of Feminism

The next thing that you need to know about feminism is feminism history. So, what you might not know about feminism is the fact that it has its roots in the earliest times of human civilization. Feminism has been around longer than you may think. The movement kept growing and growing to shape the feminism that you know nowadays.

Now that you know about the definition of feminism, you also need to know that this movement is separated into three feminism waves. The first wave of feminism is a movement that has dealt with women’s right to vote and property rights. The second wave of feminism focuses more on anti-discrimination against women and equality of the sexes. The third wave of feminism is a wave of feminism that was a response to the second wave of feminism, which was labeled as white feminism.

If you want to truly understand the history of feminism, you need to be able to know what each wave of feminism focuses on. That way, you will be able to understand the feminism that you recognize nowadays. Well, without further ado, let’s talk about the main points that you need to understand in the three waves of feminism.

Early and Ancient Feminism

Another fascinating thing about feminism is the fact that it has started even before the first wave of feminism. Plato stated that women have natural capacities that are equal to men. This was the time of ancient Greece, where women were seen as weak and incapable of governing ancient Greece. Of course, a lot of people disagreed with Plato at the time. During that time, women protested over the Oppian Law. It was a law that restricted women’s access to goods such as gold.

The First Wave Feminism

When we are talking about first-wave feminism, then we are talking about Women’s Suffrage. Other than that, the Seneca Falls Convention is also an important event for first-wave feminism. During the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott stated that all women and men are created equal. Because of that, they believed that women have a right to vote.

Many people who attended that convention thought that women’s right to vote was ridiculous. However, Frederick Douglass, a black man, argued that he could not accept his right to vote if women could not do the same thing. The women’s Suffrage movement began then. This movement dominated first-wave feminism for a few decades.

The Second Wave Feminism

During the 1970s, second-wave feminism started. This wave of feminism created a new feminism meaning, which is often referred to as women’s liberation. A lot of women thought that they were still chained to the roles of homemaker and child care. In 1971, Gloria Steinem founded the National Women’s Political Caucus alongside Betty Friedan and Bella Abzug. Steinem then created Ms. Magazine, which was the first-ever magazine to talk about feminist subjects in 1976.

Thanks to the second wave of feminism, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment. This amendment was made to create equality for women. It also tries to abolish discrimination based on sex. However, the passing of this amendment received backlash from a lot of conservative people. The second wave of feminism also fought for women’s right to choose abortion.

The Third Wave Feminism

The last wave of feminism up until now is the third wave of feminism. This movement arises because of criticism toward second-wave feminism. This movement argued that the feminist movement, especially the second wave feminism, only supports the views of white women. Therefore, the issues of other women such as women of color, immigrants, religious minorities, and lesbians were not discussed. 

The third wave of feminism is the feminist movement that we know as today’s feminism. This movement wants the world to pay more attention to women of all backgrounds and social statuses. The third wave of feminism acknowledges that every woman in the world has their struggles based on where they came from. That is why this feminist movement tends to be more inclusive than the first or the second wave of feminism. And that is what you need to know about feminism definition and history.

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