The Second Wave Feminism

Second Wave of feminism extends from the years before the publication of ‘The Second Sex’, in 1949, until the 80s, with the outbreak of neoliberalism and the rise to power in the United States and Britain of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. This stage includes fascinating moments as the Movement of Liberation of Women and all the trends that were born as a result of radical feminism as the Black feminist or proposals Bookstore Women in Milan. in the last decade racial and sexual diversity, multiple views, decolonization and ecology: some of the bases of the Third Wave feminisms feel.

These are the main currents or movements

1. interwar Feminism. The two world wars led to feminist demands remain on the background referring to activism for peace and against fascism. At this stage there was a setback in the recognition of the rights of women having made great strides in education and women’s suffrage.

2. Simone de Beauvoir and ‘The Second Sex’. In 1949, four members of PSUC (Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia) are executed by the Franco regime, Juan Domingo Peron decreed the gratuitousness of Argentine universities to citizens and the People’s Republic of China is proclaimed, with Mao Zedong as Chairman. The world is recomposed after the end of World War II and the natural fate of women it seemed to be back home, at least in the United States. Meanwhile in France, a thinker directly linked to the current political situation, he reflected, past 40 years, about her condition as a woman: Simone de Beauvoir.

In this personal inquiry born a job, away from activism, becomes the test revitalize feminism, ‘The Second Sex’, whose main ideas (you can find this selection of texts) could be synthesized in one of his phrases history, “not born a woman, one becomes one”.

3. Feminism liberal American. If De Beauvoir marked a before and after in the history of feminism with a complex and dense work, Betty Friedan got his book ‘The Feminine Mystique’ would become a bestseller of feminism, delving into “the problem no name “, who suffered many mothers and wives and whose symptoms were suicides, depression, alcoholism …. actually he did have name (lack of freedom, personal dissatisfaction, patriarchy, …) but not interested in putting it on. The heroes of World War II returned home, retook the professional activities during the war had played women in factories (with a lower salary) and had their prize waiting at home: the wife, children, hot food , a home in which they were kings. Advertising American Government encouraged this role in which the US became “beings relative” of Simone de Beauvoir spoke years ago in his masterpiece.

Friedan was one of those women and in 1963 his work portrays the situation of a generation, daughters of the suffragettes, without economic problems, upper-middle class and white studies. It’s Betty Draper of Mad Men series, homebound without being able to perform on other planes and feel empty. The problem nameless but was not a domestic political issue.

In 1966, Friedan was one of the founders of NOW (National Organization of Women), chief representative of liberal feminism, which demanded a reform of the system to achieve equal opportunities and wage pay gap between women and men, and equal participation in politics, unions, universities and public areas.

4. Radical Feminism Liberation Movement of Women. In reaction to liberal feminism, around 1968 radical feminism is born, epitomized was the Movement of Liberation of Women and whose reference texts are ‘sexual politics’ Kate Millet, and ‘The Dialectic of Sex’, Shulamith Firestone. At this stage which lasted until 1975, the category “gender”, coined by Robert Stoller in 1968, which is still under study today is introduced.

5. Feminism of equality. Radical feminism of the 70 is split into two streams, the feminism of equality and difference. For the first, masculinity and femininity are socially constructed gender roles by patriarchy and must be rejected to achieve equality in which they can accommodate female diversities.

6. Cultural or difference Feminism. Questions the gender category replaced by sexual difference and advocates a “feminine essence” an innate qualities women that society underestimates and despises. The liberation of women would by enhancing the biological difference and carry a female counterculture.

Its main representatives are Hélène Cixous and Luce Irigaray, poststructuralist philosophers of the French school. In Italy, Carla Lonzi, Luisa Muraro, the Milan Women’s Bookstore and the Diotima philosophical group. And in the United States include Mary Daly, who claimed the women connection with ecology, and Adrienne Rich, defending lesbianism as the only possible choice to preserve that sexual feminine essence.

7. racial or Black feminist Feminism: Born in the 70s related to the Civil Rights Movement and criticizes feminism of equality and previous currents that focused on the claims of a white woman. He argues that this hegemonic feminism, although it claims to be egalitarian, is “racist default”. It is a very important trend that has had its continuity in today’s diverse feminism.

His great authors of reference are bell hooks (author of “Am I not a woman? Black Women and Feminism ‘in 1981, referring to the famous speech of Sojourner Truth), Alice Walker (who rejects the term’ feminism ‘and He proposes to ‘womanism’ womanism) and Audre Lorde, criticizing oppression affecting African American women and lesbians.

8. Lesbian Feminism. Criticism of the feminism of equality also came from the sexual diversity and specifically from lesbian movements, questioning all the above being raised from the point of view of heterosexual women feminism. Coincides with some authors approaches feminism of difference as American Charlotte Buch or Adrienne Rich, or the French Monique Wittig, key author of Queer Theory. But above all, it includes theoretical than debated what being a lesbian from the point of view of feminism and their specific problems as a group that is discriminated against on grounds of gender and sexual decision.

9. Feminism in developing country. Criticizes the colonialist discourse and feminism under the unique look of the West and one of its most important authors is the Bengali Gayatri Spivak, in 1983 calls for a “subaltern consciousness” for feminism expand its geographic view and note issues poor women in the decolonized countries, which should give voice and whose proposals must be part of the new feminism. Another important theory is Chandra Talpade Mohanty, author of the essay “Under Western eyes’ in 1986 on the feminist cultural domination of the West.

(Sources: ‘Feminism for Beginners’ Nuria Varela (Pocket B) and ‘Feminism’ by Olga Castro and Maria Reimóndez, Edicións Xerais).