Three Waves of Feminism | CSS Notes

Do want to know about the three waves of feminism? In this article, I am going to explain the three waves of Feminism.

Three Waves of Feminism

In an exploration of the history of feminism or, rather, feminism: How have they evolved in time and space? How have they framed feminist communication scholarship in terms of what we see as a significant interplay between theory and politics? And how have they raised questions of gender, power, and communication?

We shall focus on the modern feminist waves from the 19th to the 21st century and underscore continuities as well as disruptions. Our starting point is what most feminist scholars consider the “first wave.”

First-wave feminism arose in the context of industrial society and liberal politics but is connected to both the liberal women’s rights movement and early socialist feminism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States and Europe.

Concerned with access and equal opportunities for women, the first wave continued to influence feminism in both Western and Eastern societies throughout the 20th century. We then move on to the second wave of feminism, which emerged in the 1960s to 1970s in postwar Western welfare societies. When other “oppressed” groups such as Blacks and homosexuals were being defined and the New Left was on the rise.

Second-wave feminism is closely linked to the radical voices of women’s empowerment and differential rights and, during the 1980s to 1990s, also to a crucial differentiation of second-wave feminism itself, initiated by women of color and third-world women.

We end our discussion with the third feminist wave, from the mid-1990s onward, springing from the emergence of a new postcolonial and post-socialist world order, in the context of information society and neoliberal, global politics.

Third-wave feminism manifests itself in “girl” rhetoric, which seeks to overcome the theoretical question of equity or difference and the political question of evolution or revolution, while it challenges the notion of “universal womanhood” and embraces ambiguity, diversity, and multiplicity in transversal theory and politics.

First Feminist Wave: Votes for Women

During World War I, members of the National Women’s Party (NWP) protested outside the White House with confrontational banners accusing the government of undemocratic practices. Germany had already granted women suffrage, but the United States— the proponent of freedom and democracy for all— had yet to enfranchise half of its citizens.

The banner created an outrage, the police received orders to arrest the picketers, and onlookers destroyed the banner (Campbell, 1989). Comparing Germany to the United States was treachery. However, the picketers did receive some sympathy— after all, well-dressed, well-educated, White, middle-class women were going to jail.

The demonstrators knew what they were doing: Dressed in their Sunday best, they offered no resistance to the police and thus both appalled and appealed to the public. They personified White, middle-class femininity while engaging in very unfeminine and less-than-bourgeois practices.

The action was inspired by radical agitator Alice Paul (1885-1977), who introduced militant tactics to the NWP: parades, marches, picketing (mainly the White House) as well as watching fires to burn President Wilson’s speeches (Campbell, 1989). Alice Paul’s tactics were confrontational but also clever, and they were a thorn in the side of President Wilson, who much preferred the less radical tactics of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA).

The first wave of feminism in the United States was characterized by diverse forms of intervention. That continued to inspire later feminist movements. But despite the activist talents NAWSA of Alice Paul, the organizational skills of Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947), president of NAWSA, and the splendid oratory of Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919), also a former president of, it was a long struggle before women won the vote in 1920 (Campbell, 1989).

The struggle went as far back as the Seneca Falls Convention in New York in 1848, during which more than 300 men and women assembled for the nation’s first women’s rights convention.

The Seneca Falls Declaration was outlined by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), claiming the natural equity of women and outlining the political strategy of equal access and opportunity. This declaration gave rise to the suffrage movement.

In the early stages, the first wave of feminism in the United States was interwoven with other reform movements, such as abolition and temperance, and initially closely involved the omen of Maria the working classes.

However, it was also supported by Black women abolitionists, such as Stewart (1803-1879), Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), and Frances E. W. Harper (1825-1911), who more agitated for the rights of women of color.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and several others from radical parts of the women’s rights movement appeared as delegates to the National Labor Union Convention as early as 1868, before any successful attempts to organize female labor.

When women’s rights activists gradually realized that disenfranchisement severely women hampered reformatory efforts, they became determined to rectify this obvious injustice.

Still, for to gain the vote was a highly controversial issue. Even well-meaning skeptics feared that it would mean a setback for men of color, who were also at that time campaigning for enfranchisement, not to mention southerners’ fears that the thousands of illiterate women of color would also claim their rights.

Thus, women of color continued to participate, and representatives such as Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) and Mary Church Terrell (1868-1954). They strove to show how the linkage between sexism and racism functioned as the main means of White male dominance. The first wave of feminism consisted largely of White, middle-class, well-educated movement women.

This tendency was only reinforced by the counterstrikes of both the abolitionist and the working unions to also keep women involved in these movements. Furthermore, the Civil War in the United States and, later on, both World War I and World War II meant a severe backlash for women’s rights, as the focus then became demands of national unity and patriotism.

Suffragists confronted stereotypes of women and, in particular, claims of proper female behavior and talk. First, they engaged in public persuasion, which in those days was considered most unwomanly.

Campbell (1989) put it this way: “No ‘true woman’ could be a public persuader”. Second, their very activity challenged the “cult of domesticity,” which in those days dictated that a true woman’s place was in the home, meeting the needs of her husband and children.

Women were further required to be modest and wield only indirect influence, and certainly not engage in public activities. So, when a woman spoke in public, she weaknesses, by definition, displaying masculine behaviors. She was even ignoring her biological smaller brain and a more fragile physique— which she was supposed to activists protect in order to ensure her reproductive abilities. Such claims led some women’s rights to argue that women should indeed gain the right to vote from an argument of expediency.

This argument was based on the claim that women and men are, in fact, maternity fundamentally different and that women have a natural disposition toward domesticity. However, the argument ran that it would therefore be advantageous to society to enfranchise women, so they would then enrich politics with their “innately” female concerns.

Furthermore, if women had the vote, the argument ran, they would perform their roles as mothers and housewives even better. On the other hand, we find another well-used argument: justice. Following this argument, women and men are, at least in legal terms, equal in all respects; therefore, to deny women the vote was to deny them full citizenship.

Some first-wave feminists pursued the argument of women’s innate moral superiority, thus embracing what might be called “difference first-wave feminism.”

This argument was part of the sophisticated rhetoric of equity, developed simultaneously in Europe and in the United States, which shared the modern, Western political framework of enlightenment and liberalism, anchored in universalism.

From this point of view, patriarchy was understood as a fiasco that was both nonrational and nonprofitable and thereby illegitimate, but nevertheless reinforced women’s marginal societal status and domination and made women a cultural emblem of deficiency.

Politically, this view led to the claim that women and men should be treated as equals and that women should not only be given access to the same resources and positions as men but also be acknowledged for their contributions and competencies.

This concept is often called “equal-opportunities feminism” or “equity feminism,” and it is characterized by the lack of distinction between sex and gender. Even though biological differences were understood to form the basis of social gender roles, they were not considered a threat to the ideal of human equity, and biological differences were therefore not accepted as theoretically or politically valid reasons for discrimination.

One of the earliest manifestations of liberal first-wave feminism in Europe, Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), was written in the wake of the French Revolution and is still read as a seminal text.

Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own (1929) and Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949) are central to the canon as well, even though both authors were also laying the groundwork for radical second-wave feminism.

Woolf introduced the notion of female bisexuality and a unique woman’s voice and writing, Beauvoir the notion of women’s radical otherness or, rather, the cognitive and social process of “othering” women as the second sex in patriarchal societies. We would say that Beauvoir thereby produced an authoritative definition of patriarchy.

Parallel to this strand of liberal first-wave feminism, a distinct socialist/ Marxist feminism developed in workers’ unions in the United States, in reformist social-democratic parties in Europe, and during the rise of communism in the former Soviet Union.

It was initiated by, among others, Rosa Luxemburg (1870-1919) in Germany, Alexandra Kollontai (1873-1952) in Russia, and anarchist Emma Goldman (1869-1940) in the United States.

Both liberal and socialist/Marxist feminism continued to develop and maintain strong voices in 20th-century feminism, though they were soon challenged by other types of feminism, as we are going to see below.

The concept of equal opportunity framed a particular type of equity research, which arose outside the academy in the first half of the 20th century, and gradually provided the basis for a growing field of research in “the women issue.”

Following the scientific paradigm of structuralism as a set of ways and means of knowing, equity research initially took the basic format of muted group theory.

Second Feminist Wave: Personal is Politics

The term second-wave feminism refers mostly to the radical feminism of the women’s liberation movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

We start our presentation on second-wave feminism with the first harbinger of new feminism and the most publicized event in the United States: the protests associated with the Miss America Pageants in 1968 and 1969. Inspired by the tactics of the more activist parts of liberal feminism, radical second-wave feminists also used performance, to shed light on what was now termed “women’s oppression.”

The Redstockings, the New York Radical Feminists, and other significant feminist groups joined the 1969 protest to show how women in pageant competitions were paraded like cattle, highlighting the underlying assumption that the way women look is more important than what they do, what they think, or even whether they think at all.

Marching down the Atlantic City boardwalk and close to the event itself, feminists staged several types of theatrical activism. Crowning a sheep Miss America and throwing “oppressive” gender artifacts, such as bras, girdles, false eyelashes, high heels, and makeup, into a trash can in front of reporters.

Carrying posters reading, “Cattle Parades Are Degrading to Human Beings,” “Boring Job: Woman Wanted,” and “Low Pay: Woman Wanted,” feminists made their message loud and clear: Women were victims of a patriarchal, commercialized, oppressive beauty culture.

It was a perfectly staged media event. A small group of women bought tickets to the pageant show and smuggled in a banner that read “WOMEN’S LIBERATION,” while shouting “Freedom for Women” and “No More Miss America,” thereby exposing the public to an early second-wave feminist agenda.

Radical second-wave feminism cannot, however, be discussed separately from other movements of the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, it grew out of leftist movements in post-war Western societies. Among them were the student protests, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the lesbian and gay movements, and, in the United States, the civil rights and Black power movements.

These movements criticized “capitalism” and “imperialism” and focused on the notion and interests of “oppressed” groups: the working classes, Blacks, and in principle, also women and homosexuals.

In the New Left, however, women found themselves reduced to servicing the revolution, cut off from real influence, and thus, once again, exposed to sexism.

This was now understood as separate oppression experienced by women in addition to racism, “classicism,” and was later renamed “heterosexism.”

As a consequence, they formed women-only “rap” groups or consciousness-raising groups, through which they sought to empower women both collectively and individually using techniques of sharing and contesting, explained in “The BITCH Manifesto” and the first second-wave publication, Sisterhood is Powerful, edited by Robin Morgan in 1970.

This type of activity and rhetoric was typical to the second-wave movement and in particular, to the red stockings, who created their name by combining bluestockings, a pejorative term for educated and otherwise strongminded women in the 18th and 19th centuries, with red, for social revolution.

The Redstockings was one of the influential but short-lived radical feminist groups of 1960 to 1970s and produced many of the expressions that have become household words in the United States: “Sisterhood is powerful,” and “consciousness raising”.

“The personal is political,” “the politics of housework,” the “pro-woman line,” and so on. Key to this branch of feminism was a strong belief that women could collectively empower one another.

Radical second-wave feminism was theoretically based on a combination of neo-Marxism and psychoanalysis. Which was outlined by feminist scholars such as Juliet Mitchell in The Subjection of Women (1970) and Shulamith Firestone in The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1970).

They claimed that patriarchy is inherent to bourgeois society and that sexual difference is more fundamental than class and race differences. They even claimed that women— due to their primary social attachment to the family and reproduction— constitute a class and economy of their own, based on the unpaid work in the home, the productivity of motherhood, and their function as a workforce reserve.

At the core of this new movement was another significant book, Sexual Politics, by Kate Millett (1969), in which she insisted on women’s right to their own bodies and sexuality of their “own” — sexuality that is disconnected from the obligations of marriage and motherhood.

Yet other radical feminists, such as the lesbian author Adrienne Rich and the African American lesbian author Audre Lorde (1934-1992), used poetry, speeches, and writing to link heterosexuality and women’s oppression.

Both great rhetoricians claimed that heterosexuality is a compulsory institution designed to perpetuate the social power of men across class and race.

Thus, in the early phase, radical second-wave feminism was characterized by a claim for sisterhood and solidarity, despite differences among women and simultaneous investment in the slogans “Woman’s struggle is a class struggle” and “The personal is political,” directing the feminist agenda to attempt to combine social, sexual, and personal struggles and to see them as inextricably linked.

Liberal feminists in all Western countries were inspired by Betty Friedan’s landmark book, The Feminine Mystique (1963).

Along with Rowbotham and Davis but from quite a different point of view, liberal feminists maintained that the discontent experienced by many middle-class women in post-war Western societies was due to their lack of social power and political influence.

The solution they advocated was not necessarily paid work outside the home; indeed, one representation of their demands in public was payment institutions for, housewives and so on. Zillah is a kind Eisenstein of citizen’s income.

The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism (1981) can be said to anticipate the continuity of liberal feminism from the first wave, during the second wave, and on to today’s neoliberal feminism. Typical liberal feminist concerns during the second wave, however, were documenting sexism in private as well as public life and delivering criticism of gendered patterns of socialization.

In the United States, for example, the National Organization for Women (NOW) documented sexism in children’s books, and parents’ different responses to girls and boys were seen as examples of how deeply sexism is embedded in conventional thought and practice.

Whereas both liberal and socialist/Marxist feminists worked to access and influence the institutions of society, radical feminists were critical of these institutions and skeptical of, if not outright opposed to, the inclusion of more women in what they considered profit-driven, patriarchal institutions.

The spiritual and ecofeminist parts of the movement, represented, for instance, by Mary Daly in Gyn/Ecology (1978) and Starhawk in The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess (1979), turned to the development of separate enterprises and eventually of woman-only corporations and zones.

After a few decades on the margins of feminism, this particular feminist perspective has been revived today in numerous ways: from sustainable development and simple living to corporate feminism and separatist women-only spaces, such as “SAPPHO” on the Internet.

The conflict between integration and separation signaled a basic shift from an equity approach to a different approach. During the 1980s, this new framework grew into “difference second-wave feminism,” outlined on a theoretical level by Nancy Hartsock (1983) in her paradigmatic article “The Feminist Standpoint” and a range of subsequent works.

“Standpoint feminism” articulated a specific feminist theory and practice that expanded the criticism of capitalism and patriarchy with a more complex analysis of post-war welfare societies and their consequences for women on different levels and in different situations.

Nancy Chodorow and Carol Gilligan turned to a more woman-friendly psycho-analytic theory in order to highlight women’s productive capacities in terms of motherhood and caretaking, in works such as The Reproduction of Mothering and In a Different Voice.

These competencies, neglected by both liberal and socialist feminists and derided by early radical feminists, were now re-evaluated and understood as sources of knowledge, know-how, and empowerment. This particular version of difference feminism again led to the thesis of the dual spheres, gender as culture, and communication and the “genderlects”

The need to address the differences among women simultaneously promoted the theory of different standpoints and the divergences between them. As a consequence, difference feminism gradually grew into what is now often referred to as “identity politics.” Identity second-wave feminism was marked by a growing criticism from Black, working-class, and lesbian feminists, outlined by, among others, bell hooks in Ain’t I A Woman? Black Woman and Feminism (1981) and Trinh T. Minh-ha in Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism (1989).

In the context of the complex power relations of a postcolonial but still imperial and capitalist world, they questioned what they saw as a predominantly White, middle-class, and hetero-sexual feminist agenda and raised the issue of differentiated identity politics, based on the contingent and diversified but no less decisive intersections of gender, class, race/ ethnicity, and sexuality.

Identity feminism, in turn, inspired a new interest in women’s lives and voices, which was at once more empirical and historical, and more mythical and spiritual. This has been known as “gyno-criticism,” a method first developed by Elaine Showalter in A Literature of Their Own (1977), or as “womanism,” in an African American context introduced by the author Alice Walker in Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose (1983).

The method signaled, on one hand, a search for authenticity and continuity in women’s cultures and, on the other, an interest in understanding differences among women as constitutive.

The method was further developed by Patricia Hill Collins, who argued in Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (1990) that it is necessary to expand the analysis from merely describing the similarities and differences that distinguish the different systems of oppression according to gender, class, and race — to focusing on how they are interlocked.

In the United States, Black feminists voiced their concerns in organizations such as Black Women Organized for Action (BWOA) and the National Black Feminist Organization (NBFO), which both worked to bring gender and race into the national consciousness and addressed issues of poverty, health, and welfare as described by Valerie Smith in Not Just Race, Not Just Gender: Black Feminist Readings (1998).

However, Black feminism also tended to diversify into different standpoints and identities. Women of color and third-world women, like Trinh T. Minh-ha, now spoke of themselves as the “other Others” and “inappropriate others.”

Gayatri Spivak’s Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics (1987) further criticized Western feminism for speaking naively on behalf of third-world women. She elaborated on the notion of “strategic essentialism” and raised the question of the difficulty associated with translation between different groups of women, their vocabulary, and their voice.

In the European context, identity feminism took an apparently different direction with what is now known as I’ecriture feminine, articulated by authors H616ne Cixous, Luce Irigaray, and Julia Kristeva and introduced to the United States by editors Elaine Marks and Isabelle de Courtivron in New French Feminisms (1981).

French feminists explored Western universalism and its paradoxical articulation through dualisms such as mind/body, man/woman, and White/Black and their hierarchical ordering, in which one element is not only different from but also less than the other.

Second-wave feminism is not one, but many. As expressed by feminist communication scholar Julia Wood (1994), the question may not be whether you are a feminist, but which kind of feminist you are. This question is multiplied by the emergence of third-wave feminism. But before we turn to emergent feminisms, let us conclude that second-wave feminisms have been highly theoretical and consequently have had strong affiliations with the academy.

Starting in the 1970s, second-wave feminism has generated an explosion of research and teaching on women’s issues, which has now grown into a diverse disciplinary field of women’s, gender, or feminist studies.

While first- and second-wave academic feminisms are embedded in structuralism the concept of difference and identity feminism is rooted in standpoint theory and the methodology of critical discourse analysis.

Third Feminist Wave: Transversal Politics

Third-wave feminists are motivated by the need to develop a feminist theory and politics that honor contradictory experiences and deconstruct categorical thinking.

In To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism (1995), editor Rebecca Walker described the difficulty that younger feminists experience when forced to think in categories, which divide people into “Us” and “Them,” or when forced to inhabit particular identities as women or feminists.

Walker claimed that this is not because they lack knowledge of feminist history or because of the media’s horrific one-sided portrayal of feminism. Quite to the contrary, younger feminists honor the work of earlier feminists while criticizing earlier feminisms, and they strive to bridge the contradictions that they experience in their own lives.

They embrace ambiguity rather than certainty, engage in multiple positions, and practice a strategy of inclusion and exploration. Meanwhile, they propose a different politics, one that challenges notions of universal womanhood and articulates ways in which groups of women confront complex intersections of gender, sexuality, race, class, and age-related concerns. One of the many contributors in To Be Real, Eisa Davis, has called for “organic laughter” and “organized confusion” that will turn all the old “isms” into sitcoms, reminding us how far feminism has come.

Third-wave feminism is also inspired by and bound to a generation of the new global world order characterized by the fall of communism, new threats of religious and ethnic fundamentalism, and the dual risks and promises of new info- and biotechnologies.

A common American term for third-wave feminism is “girl feminism,” and in Europe, it is known as “new feminism.” This new “new” feminism is characterized by local, national, and transnational activism, in areas such as violence against women.

While concerned with new threats to women’s rights in the wake of the new global world order, it criticizes earlier feminist waves for presenting universal answers or definitions of womanhood and for developing their particular interests into somewhat static identity politics.

In itself diverse and chaotic, third-wave feminism is consequently not one, but many. The common denominator is the will to redefine feminism by bringing together an interest in traditional and even stereotypically feminine issues while remaining critical of both narratives of true femaleness, victimization, and liberation.

Thus, third-wave feminisms are defined not by common theoretical and political standpoints (s), but rather by the use of performance, mimicry, and subversion as rhetorical strategies.

Gender theorist Judith Butler signaled this paradigmatic feminist shift in her books Gender Trouble (1990) and Bodies That Matter (1993). She fueled new emergent movements such as queer and transgender politics, which take an interest in the intersections of gender and sexuality and helped articulate “performance third-wave feminism” as a theoretical framework of the politics of transgression.

Central to this perspective is the understanding of gender as a discursive practice that is both a hegemonic, social matrix and a “performative gesture” with the power to disturb the chain of social repetition and open up new realities.

Focus rests on the sustained tension between structure and agency, spelled out as a tension between performance and performativity, in order to overcome the split between society and subject and to situate the possibilities and means of agency and change.

The possibilities for change are found in the “fissures” of deferral and displacement that destabilize claims not only of identity but also of truth and “the real”. Of immense importance to feminism, however, is that the approach further destabilizes the distinction between the social and the material, discourse and body, and, not least, sex and gender.

These conceptual pairs are now seen as inextricably linked discursive practices, anchored in the heterosexual matrix, which is now being challenged.

In keeping with poststructuralist thought, she has underscored the arbitrariness of such classifications and the continuous flow between supposedly “natural” categories, locations, and positions. The potential for feminism, in Haraway’s thinking, is great and is still being explored by a range of feminist thinkers.

Third-wave feminism is tied up with the effects of globalization and the complex redistribution of power, which challenge feminist theory and politics. It also mirrors the diversification of women’s interests and perspectives and the breakdown of master stories of oppression and liberation.

For example, postcolonial, third-wave feminism is concerned with establishing a new critical global perspective and creating alliances between Black, diasporic, and subaltern feminisms, whereas queer theory and politics create a platform for what has now split into the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual and transgender movements.

Queer and transgender feminists attack what they see as the crux of the problem: heteronormativity. They call for recognition of queers: not only gays and lesbians but also drag queens, drag kings, transsexuals, masculine women, and feminine men. Emi Koyama (2003) summarized some of these concerns in “The Transfeminist Manifesto.”

Here, the primary principles of transfeminism are defined as the right (a) to define one’s own identity and to expect society to respect it Transfeminists believe that individuals should be given the freedom to construct their own gender identities as they see fit and that neither the medical establishment nor cultural institutions at large should intervene. Finally, they resist essentialist notions of identity in particular.

According to the post-socialist scholar Nancy Fraser (1997), the challenges to third-wave feminism are great. She has argued that in order to avoid the pitfalls of identity politics, it is necessary to introduce a concept of justice that simultaneously acknowledges and counters the claims of difference.

Thus, Fraser has suggested that claims of difference should be treated partly as a question of recognition within the context of civic society and partly as a matter of redistribution within the framework of the state and the public sphere.

Her aim is to reframe universalism in order to promote a new combination of, on one hand, local (singular and situated) social claims. On the other, the will and ability to expose universalism to “global” democracy.

She thus has delivered an alternative to the “old” universalism, which sanctioned the particularism inherent in identity politics, claiming that in the new democracy, everyone must acknowledge the particularity of the position from which they speak, instead of claiming rights as absolute and given.

An interesting and important contribution to third-wave feminist thinking is the notion of “transversal politics.” Nira Yuval-Davis, the author of Gender and Nation (1997), who is herself a British Jew, launched this notion, which is based on the possibility of dialogue between women across national, ethnic, and religious boundaries.

Theoretically, her work has been inspired by Gayatri Spivak’s theory of strategic essentialism and Patricia Hill Collins’s theory of the partiality of standpoints and of situated and unfinished knowledge.

The idea is that each participant in the dialogue brings with her rooting in, her membership and identity, but at the same time tries to shift in order to engage in exchange with ‘ women who have different membership and identity.

Participants are encouraged to position themselves as women with particular national, ethnic, or religious roots, while also shifting to other ways of thinking, being, and practicing in order to realize the partiality of their own positions and to identify possible common stands and interests.

Aligning herself with Bolognese feminists, Yuval-Davis (1997) called this form of dialogue “transversalism,” as opposed to both universalism and particularism, which are inherent in liberal and radical feminism, and also to the political naivete of the rainbow coalitions of the 1980s or the “Million Man Match” to Washington, D.C., in the 1990s.

It is crucial here that the boundaries of the groupings are determined not by a notion of essential difference, which leads to a particular standpoint, but by a political reality of partiality, which provides for diverse and provisional alliances.

In combination, third-wave feminism constitutes a significant move in both theory and politics toward the “performance turn” we introduced earlier.

The performance turn marks a move away from thinking and acting in terms of systems, structures, and fixed power relations, and thereby also “suppression” — toward highlighting the complexities, contingencies, and challenges of power and the diverse means and goals of the agency. Embedded in the scientific paradigm shift from structuralism to post-structuralism, the performance turn is connected to a, broader intellectual transformation.

In this context, we shall introduce you to performance, cyborg, and transfeminist theory the methodology of poststructuralist and transversal discourse analysis, and to examples of performance and transversity perspectives.

After this description, it is time for us to sum up and present you with a model of different feminisms and our own situations.

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