Second wave feminism history

Second Wave feminism

A shorthand reference for the politically active form of feminism that emerged in the US and elsewhere in the 1960s. It was neither a unified nor a homogeneous movement, but it did of course have a common goal, however disparately this was conceived, namely the equality of the sexes. It was born of the recognition that in spite of the considerable advances of the retrospectively christened First Wave of feminism, women had still not achieved genuine equality with men in every facet of life. Its starting point, in the US, was Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963), which argues that women are trapped in a system that denies them self-identity as women and demands they find fulfilment through their husbands and children. Later writers, particularly those identifying as radical feminists, would use the term patriarchy as a shorthand for this systemic subordination of women at the level of culture itself, rather than individual men.

In 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed, as a civil rights organization for women, and in many respects it became the driving force of Second Wave feminism, particularly on the political front. NOW lobbied the US government to adopt the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), but while it had many victories at State level, it remained without ultimate success at Federal level.

In 1970, a NOW committee member Kate Millett published her PhD dissertation Sexual Politics, arguing that there is in effect a patriarchal and a non-patriarchal way of writing, with D. H. Lawrence, Normal Mailer, and Henry Miller falling into the former category and Jean Genet into the latter. The book sparked a huge debate and was attacked quite savagely by Norman Mailer ; it is frequently held up as an example of what is wrong with political correctness. Nonetheless, Millett's work offered an early and powerful critique of the patriarchal values in art and literature. Australian critic Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch (1970) was published in the same year, causing a similar stir by suggesting that the way to fight patriarchy is through women taking charge of their own sexuality.

FAQ

avatar
what the strengths and weakness' of first and second wave feminism? | Yahoo Answers

The first wave addressed very real, tangible inequalities that were often legally based and the goals was often to have equal rights, not special rights.
The second wave is much more about perceptions of inequality, many of which may have nothing to do with rights. It has also been about lobbying for and achieving special privileges.
The strength of the first wave is that it was easy to see that much of it had to do with achieving equal rights. The weakness of the second wave is that women now have equal rights and more, yet still claim they are about quality even though they seek spe…

Related Posts