The History of Feminism in America

To continue the background in feminism I wanted to give everyone a bit of a history lesson on feminism, where it came from, and why. I love learning about history in general and the history of feminism in America has been no different.

There have been three recognized waves of feminism easily titled the first, second, and third waves. However, if you start looking into this subject matter some people will tell you the fourth wave of feminism started in 2012.

The first wave of feminism lasted from 1800-1929. The suffragettes, who fought to give women the right to vote, were the first recognized feminists in American history. Margaret Sanger is one of the most well-known feminists from that time period. She was one of the many women who fought for reproductive rights of women, fought the Comstock Laws, and was responsible for the opening of the first birth control clinic in the United States that later evolved into Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The second wave of feminism lasted from the 1960s to the 1990s and is known for so many different things. They organized the demonstrations outside the Miss America pageant, consciousness raising, the sit-in at Ladies’ Home Journal, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, Betty Friedan released The Feminine Mystique and tried to get the Equal Rights Act passed.

The third wave of feminism has been from the 1990s to today. Two of the major things to come out of the third wave of feminism has been the criticism of the second wave, more specifically them excluding women of color and lesbians, and intersectionality. The fourth wave, if you want to separate the two has been about justice for women and opposition to sexual harassment and violence against women. They consider this a different wave because of the use of social media that has never before been utilized. Technology like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and blogs have made feminism more widely accepted and seen more in the public and pop culture.

What are some of our favorite accomplishments that came from feminism? Mine probably starts with the Suffragettes, without them none of this would have been possible. Going forward would be Margaret Sanger and her fight for birth control, Gloria Steinman and all she accomplished for women, RBG’s fight for Roe V Wade, the #MeToo movement, and the list goes on. One of my favorite things from this time is the abundance of information and accessibility to all sides of the conversation.

Much Love,

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