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Feminism involves political and sociological theories and philosophies concerned with issues of gender difference, as well as a movement that advocates gender equality for women and campaigns for women's rights and interests.
Although the terms "feminism" and "feminist" did not gain widespread use until the s, they were already being used in the public parlance much earlier; for instance, Katherine Hepburn speaks of the "feminist movement" in the film Woman of the Year.
According to Maggie Humm and Rebecca Walker, the history of feminism can be divided into three waves. The first feminist wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the second was in the s and s, and the third extends from the s to the present.
Feminist theory emerged from these feminist First mover advantage essay. It is manifest in a variety of disciplines such as feminist geography, feminist history and feminist literary criticism. Feminism has altered predominant perspectives in a wide range of areas within Western society, ranging from culture to law.
Feminist activists have campaigned for women's legal rights rights of contract, property rights, voting rights ; for women's right to bodily integrity and autonomy, for abortion rights, and for reproductive rights including access to contraception and quality prenatal care ; for protection of women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape;for workplace rights, including maternity leave and equal pay; against misogyny; and against other forms of gender-specific discrimination against women.
During much of its history, most feminist movements and theories had leaders who were predominantly middle-class white women from Western Europe and North America.
However, at least since Sojourner Truth's speech to American feminists, women of other races have proposed alternative feminisms. Since that time, women in former First mover advantage essay colonies and the Third World have proposed "Post-colonial" and "Third World" feminisms.
Some Postcolonial Feminists, such as Chandra Talpade Mohanty, are critical of Western feminism for being ethnocentric. Black feminists, such as Angela Davis and Alice Walker, share this view. History Simone de Beauvoir wrote that "the first time we see a woman take up her pen in defense of her sex" was Christine de Pizan who wrote Epitre au Dieu d'Amour Epistle to the God of Love in the 15th century.
Feminists and scholars have divided the movement's history into three "waves". The first wave refers mainly to women's suffrage movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries mainly concerned with women's right to vote. The second wave refers to the ideas and actions associated with the women's liberation movement beginning in the s which campaigned for legal and social rights for women.
The third wave refers to a continuation of, and a reaction to the perceived failures of, second-wave feminism, beginning in the s.
First wave First-wave feminism refers to an extended period of feminist activity during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the United Kingdom and the United States. Originally it focused on the promotion of equal contract and property rights for women and the opposition to chattel marriage and ownership of married women and their children by their husbands.
However, by the end of the nineteenth century, activism focused primarily on gaining political power, particularly the right of women's suffrage. Yet, feminists such as Voltairine de Cleyre and Margaret Sanger were still active in campaigning for women's sexual, reproductive, and economic rights at this time.
InFlorence Nightingale established female nurses as adjuncts to the military. In Britain the Suffragettes and, possibly more effectively, the Suffragists campaigned for the women's vote. In the Representation of the People Act was passed granting the vote to women over the age of 30 who owned houses.
In this was extended to all women over twenty-one. Anthony, who each campaigned for the abolition of slavery prior to championing women's right to vote; all were strongly influenced by Quaker thought.
American first-wave feminism involved a wide range of women.
Others, such as Matilda Joslyn Gage, were more radical, and expressed themselves within the National Woman Suffrage Association or individually. American first-wave feminism is considered to have ended with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitutiongranting women the right to vote in all states.
The term first wave was coined retrospectively after the term second-wave feminism began to be used to describe a newer feminist movement that focused as much on fighting social and cultural inequalities as political inequalities.
Second wave Second-wave feminism refers to the period of activity in the early s and lasting through the late s.
The scholar Imelda Whelehan suggests that the second wave was a continuation of the earlier phase of feminism involving the suffragettes in the UK and USA.
Second-wave feminism has continued to exist since that time and coexists with what is termed third-wave feminism. The scholar Estelle Freedman compares first and second-wave feminism saying that the first wave focused on rights such as suffrage, whereas the second wave was largely concerned with other issues of equality, such as ending discrimination.
The feminist activist and author Carol Hanisch coined the slogan "The Personal is Political" which became synonymous with the second wave. Second-wave feminists saw women's cultural and political inequalities as inextricably linked and encouraged women to understand aspects of their personal lives as deeply politicized and as reflecting sexist power structures.
Simone de Beauvoir and The Second Sex The French author and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir wrote novels; monographs on philosophy, politics, and social issues; essays; biographies; and an autobiography. She is now best known for her metaphysical novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins, and for her treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism.
Written inits English translation was published in It sets out a feminist existentialism which prescribes a moral revolution.
As an existentialist, she accepted Jean-Paul Sartre's precept existence precedes essence; hence "one is not born a woman, but becomes one. This de Beauvoir identifies as fundamental to women's oppression. She argues women have historically been considered deviant and abnormal and contends that even Mary Wollstonecraft considered men to be the ideal toward which women should aspire.
De Beauvoir argues that for feminism to move forward, this attitude must be set aside.The First Book. Aphorisms Concerning the Interpretation of Nature and the Kingdom of Man.
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