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Teens and Third Wave Feminism

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teens-and-the-third-wave-feminismFINALTeens of both genders are trying their hands at social activism. 

The first major American feminist movement surrounded the 1910s and women fighting for their right to vote and have a say in American politics. What is referred to as Second Wave Feminism started in the late 60s and went until the 1980s, and was, in a way, kickstarted by Betty Freidan’s book The Feminine Mystique.

Now, teenagers are getting involved in what is being referred to as third wave feminism. Who’s to say what sparked this new insurgence of feminist ideals? The Internet? The fact that we have yet to reach equal pay for equal work? Whatever the spark was, third wave feminism is here.

Teens have been getting very involved, specifically because word has been spreading through the Internet, especially through Tumblr. Third wave feminism is seeking to include women other than those who are white and middle class, a flaw that was detrimental to second wave feminism. It is also challenging traditional definitions of feminity. Some teen girls have stopped shaving their legs because they feel they don’t need to follow what society tells them to be considered “a girl.”

Third Wave Feminist Movement

Another focus of this feminist movement is to re-define the words we use to describe women. These feminists seek to remove “slut-shaming” from society because they see it as a double standard. Their argument goes like this: “You may not agree with a woman’s choice to sleep around and seek her own sexual pleasure, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be able to do it. Men are celebrated for their sexual conquest but we teach women and girls shame regarding sex. We, as a society, tell women that perusing pleasure is not okay.”

Third wave feminism has also been responding the past decade’s rising anti-abortion movement. New feminists fight rape-culture and urge women to take charge of their bodies and not let male politicians dictate what they are allowed to do with them. They think women should wear makeup for themselves if they like it; not for men, which goes directly back to the leg shaving controversy. Many teen feminists have even adopted the following mantra for the movement: "Feminism: The radical notion that women are people."

New feminist theory goes on and on, but these are a few of the cornerstones. The evolving feminist movement could not be as strong as it is without teens getting involved; they have become a driving force behind the movement.

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