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Achievements of the Third Wave

  • Black Women's Studies
    From Gender and Education: An Encyclopedia
    Another factor operative in the shaping of the emergence of Black women's studies is the development of creative tension between Black womanists and feminists and White feminists and between Black studies and women's studies. Black studies had always understood the discipline as composed of studies of Black men and women, male and female, family and community.
  • Empowerment of Young Women
    From Contemporary Youth Culture
    The culture forces girls to choose between one of two very different identities—good girl or bad girl. In recent years, two factors have helped make a third identity possible, one less tied to moral conformity and more to empowering young women: jammer girl. The rise of jammer girl is linked to and springs from the Internet and third wave feminism.

Issues of the Third Wave

  • Beauty Ideals and Standards
    From The Women's Movement Today
    Third-wave feminism takes beauty ideals as a central issue more often than did earlier social movements.
    Some reject the trappings of beauty ideals altogether by eschewing makeup, dieting, and the like. Others reclaim some of the elements of the beauty ideal, picking and choosing from those trappings while self-consciously refusing the entire package of traditional femininity.
  • Pornography
    From The Women's Movement Today
    Pornography has become a litmus test for feminists, a measure of one’s commitment to the cause of overthrowing the patriarchy or of one’s pleasure in chic transgression against establishment feminism.
  • Reproductive Rights
    From From Suffrage to Senate: America's Political Women
    Reproductive rights are based upon the premise that human dignity and equality grant each person the right and the responsibility to make reproductive decisions for herself or himself. Information about human sexuality and reproduction is fundamental to making those decisions, as is access to the services necessary to act upon the decisions.
  • The Intersection of Race and Gender
    From Encyclopedia of American Studies
    Rather than assuming that all women were similarly oppressed, women of color took issue with unitary theories of gender and addressed the differences among women's experiences.

Leaders and Activists of the Third Wave

  • Judith Butler (1956- )
    From The Women's Movement Today
    Judith Butler is well known as a theorist of power, gender, sexuality, and identity. In her most influential book, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), Butler introduced the notion of “gender performativity.”
  • Naomi Wolf (1962- )

    From Culture Wars
    Feminist author Naomi Wolf is known for her best-selling first book, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women (1991), regarded as one of the central texts of third-wave feminism.
  • Rebecca Walker (1969- )
    From The Women's Movement Today
    One of the founders of third-wave feminism and the coiner of the term “third wave,” activist, author, mother, and daughter of African American author Alice Walker and Jewish attorney Mel Leventhal, Rebecca Walker (1969–) was born in Jackson, Mississippi, where her parents were active participants in the Civil Rights Movement.
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