Tuesday, January 6, 2009

rebranding feminism

While flicking through my scrapes from the year I came across this article in some trashy woman’s magazine and found it rather interesting. I ripped it out and stuck it into my scrap book so I’m sorry I can’t make any acknowledgements because I don’t write it down, naughty. But I do know it was written in reference to the book Oh Baby... Birth, babies & Motherhood Uncensored by Kathy Fray- a kiwi author. Kathy says the old terms for feminism are out of date. We’re on to the fourth incarnation of the women’s movements and we need new ways to describe it.

1. Suffrage Sisters: The first wave of feminism was led by the 19th and 20th century suffragettes fighting to give women the right to vote. [New Zealand was the first country in the world allowing woman to vote.]

2. Bra Burners- The second wave was during the 60s and 70s with ‘women’s libbers’ and the sexual revolution. These revolutionaries used techniques of political solidarity to demand economic and reproductive rights for women.

3. Power Players- The third wave of feminism was far more clandestine, says Kathy. “Most women weren’t even concisely aware of it, as they weren’t marching parliament carrying playing cards.” She says Girl Power, epitomised by pop icons the Spice Girls started to emerge in the early 90s with the likes of Sigourney Weaver in Alien, Oprah and Roseanne Barr. Pop-culture girl power moments include a heavily pregnant Demi Moore nude on the cover of Vanity Fair, Edina and Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, Sex And the City, and Eve Ensler’s provocative stage show. The Vagina Monologues.

4. Uterosexuals- Kathy says the world is now “aglow” with female leadership, such as our own Helen Clarke, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chile’s first female president Michelle Bachelet, Liberia’s Ellen Johson-Sirleaf (the first female president on the African content) and China’s Vice Premier Wu Yi.
“To describe this level of success as Girl Power is insulting” says Kathy. “Many of us are what the academics are defining as the ‘fourth wave’ of feminists, nicknamed ‘uterosexual’- strong women who are emancipated, educated, ambitious, feminine, intuitive, articulate and immensely proud of their almighty womanliness.” She says that utrosexuals are “feminine feminists” and believes they aren’t women trying to succeed in a man’s world- they’re woman who are succeeding in a unisex world. They don’t dislike metrosexual, heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual men; in fact they enjoy their company. Kathy has her own rallying cry for women. “The fourth wave of feminism has arrived. Welcome to the next generation.

I have thoughts on this but need to ponder and dabble with my thoughts...

What are your thoughts? Where are we to now? How will it all play out?

Image: 1899 Auckland, Lady voters approaching the polling booths/article from trashy mag.

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