Although the 2010s had begun with positive mindsets towards the direction of gender equality, the 2016 election of Donald Trump seemed to spark waves of feminist and other social movements out of fear regarding how a presidency of the sort could affect our country’s progression toward more modernized thinking. With these outbreaks of feminist movements and mindsets of the prior years in addition to those started post-Trump, this decade might be considered the 4th wave of feminism. However, the current president has produced multiple setbacks for the cause and perhaps encouraged a way of thinking that has created addition setbacks to 2010 feminism.
Should one google-search the term “4th wave of feminism,” not only do very few recent results surface, but what does appear is scattered and frankly unrelated to another. It seems that few can agree as to what constitutes as a wave of feminism and when/whether or not one may have started in the past 8 or so years. Many sites identify the waves of differently, with the same general time periods but alternating approximate end dates. Some sources speculate that the 3rd wave (beginning in the 1990’s) has continued through this year, while others claim it as a separate entity. It could be thought more as its own wave because feminism today focuses on not necessarily different issues, but has different setbacks than that of the 90’s. Modern feminism has additionally become a more inclusive movement.
The #MeToo Movement
The #MeToo movement is a movement against sexual assault and and sexual harassment in professional settings, budding from allegations of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The movement spread incredibly quickly and made a not-specifically pointed impact but raised awareness about the torture that coworkers, specifically women, endured because of men in positions of power. This absolutely extended feminism’s reach in the lives of more and more people simply from the knowledge and cooperation in this movement. Due to social media, #MeToo spread like wildfire. Without the newer availability of information via Twitter and other social media platforms, feminist movements such as #MeToo wouldn’t be possible. Social media’s impact could be grounds for a newly considered wave of feminism because this tool has been exclusive to the late 2000’s.
The Women’s Marches
In response to the election of Donald Trump, nations witnessed thousands upon thousands of protestors partake in “women’s marches” around the globe. The marches look to be an annual event and can be seen as a milestone in the progression of the feminist agenda. Since other waves were identified considering large uprises in protests or significant protests to mark the resurgence of feminism, does this create an opportunity for 2017 to be regarded as the of the fourth wave?
Feminism has always held a significance in American culture and the years we live will go down in history books no matter what.
Might we be living through one of the most important milestones of the movement in it’s history (and not even know it)?
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