With the International Women’s Day on March 8 just around the corner I would like to encourage you all to think about what feminism actually means to you. To you personally, to you within your social and cultural sphere as well as to you as far as you daily communication and consumption is concerned.
The first wave feminists from the 18thcentury to the 1920 dealt with women’s basic rights like the right to vote or file for divorce and also included racial injustice in particular from the female perspective.
In the 50s females started to speak up against patriarchal structures, but strong “machoism” (such as a pat on your behind by your boss or coworker) would have been our grandmothers daily business. (Mad Man fans will have watched some sort of this regular behavior with total disbelief and utter disgust).
In the 60s and 70s women took up the fight against the double standards in society and advocated for civil rights, the right to choose (abortion) and the destigmatization of sex. In this second wave equality feminism argued in favor of the similarities between women and men and thereby demanded equality.
The 80s confronted society with the approach of difference feminism: “although it is still aimed at equality between men and women, emphasizes the differences between men and women and argues that identicality or sameness are not necessary in order for men and women, and masculine and feminine values, to be treated equally.”
This third wave feminism, which lasted about up until the 2000s also embraced LGTBQ rights, body positivity, the abolishing of gender-role stereotypes and emphasized on expanding feminism to include women of all races, classes and cultures.
That was a very short and condensed (and for sure biased) summary, I am well aware of that. But I wanted to set the tone for our current time, sometimes defined as the fourth wave. It is often attributed to the words “egalitarianism” and “inclusiveness” and seems to be also focused on topics like workplace harassment or rape culture. But most important: it is associated with online discourse and the use of social media.
Fourth wave feminists
Today’s most crucial (or simply most interesting) topics are primarily distributed online and discussed and processed by and through social media. This is exactly what should trigger our awareness and cautiousness. Today our media consumption often speaks louder than our words. We need to re-think what we want to see online, especially how we want the portrayal of women to look like at this day and age. I find it to be rather disturbing that a huge number of (super famous) female youtubers seem to intentionally display this picture of a very stereotypical female, who is only “obsessed” with her looks and the content of her apartments and/or wardrobe. Another “trend” shows female bloggers going back to presenting themselves as “good housewives” reducing themselves on their focus on “marital bliss or “baking and cooking” (don’t get me wrong, all wonderful topics), completely blotting out any responsibility that comes with their platform. It is simply the truth, that through social mining and the extreme financial value behind content creation, we ourselves chose what is presented to us on the web.
Today I want to encourage you to think about what you consume via your preferred social media channels, and which message you give power to by your subscription or simply by your klick. Let us all be feminists by choosing content that portraits everyone, no matter their gender, race, sexual preference or social class, education – or whatever seems to define us – as equal.
Let us discuss:
What is your favorite channel, account or person on the web, who advocates in favor of equality, inclusion and diversity?
I would love to hear your suggestions 🙂