The Evolution of Feminism


The Spice Girls were iconic supporters of the third wave of the feminist movement.

Amber Reddish, Photojournalist

The idea of feminism first arose in the 19th century with the first wave of the feminist movement. At the time their main focus was women’s legal rights, specifically the right to vote. The movement gained lots of support from around the nation and eventually they succeeded in getting the 19th amendment passed, which legally gave women the right to vote. Since the first wave of feminism all those years ago there has been many changes in feminist ideals and goals.

The second wave of the feminist movement brought on a long lasting negative association to all feminists. This arose from Valerie Solana’s SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men). To this day feminists are often thought to be man hating girls who are holding a grudge against the entire sex of men due to one past experience. Despite popular belief this is inaccurate. Despite this the name of feminism has yet to shed this negative association.

With the third wave of feminism came a heavier emphasis on sexual orientation and race. Their goals became more centered around equality between everyone, rather than just the original comparison between men and women. The third wave also included the rise of a feminist culture with the support of public figures, such as the Spice Girls, and slogans, such as “GRL PWR.” Jessica Ryan (12) says “when [she] thinks of feminism she usually thinks of things like ‘grl pwr’ and equal pay,” which are some of the more modern representations and ideologies of the movement.

In today’s society we are more divided than ever, and surprisingly feminism is just another thing that divides us. Depending on where you are and who you are with you will be judged if you are a feminist, yet you will also be judged if you are not. In liberal states, such as California, many people believe that everyone should be feminist–whether you’re a man, women, black, white, straight, or gay–and support the goal of equality. If you are in a more conservative state, such as Texas, many people adhere to old sexist standards and will judge you if you support the feminist movement. These people will be the ones to constantly dredge up the past to surround the movement with the negative notions created in the second wave.

In today’s world feminism is a world wide idea. It is the most prevalent in first world countries, yet their goals are being pushed in every country. I personally believe that everyone deserves equal treatment no matter their sex, race, religion, or sexuality. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions and they shouldn’t be influenced by societies skewed ideas. When choosing between a group of people for a job, or anything else, the only discerning variable should be their credentials.