Question: Outline and explain the three major waves of feminist movements in the West. Discuss the influence of these waves on feminist movements in Pakistan.
The feminist movement introduces a succession of political struggles for reforms on issues such as women’s suffrage, maternity leave, domestic violence and harassment, all of which fall under the label of the feminist movement. The movement’s priorities vary among nations and communities and range from opposition to female genital mutilation in the country.
First Wave of the Feminist Movement
The first wave of feminism took place in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, growing out the environment of urban industrialism and liberal socialist politics. The objective was to open up opportunities for women with a focus on the ballot. The wave formally began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when three hundred men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration outlines the new movement’s ideology and strategies. In initial stages of the first wave of feminism, it was interrelated with abstinence and abolitionist movements and gave voice to activists like the African-American Sojourner Truth, who requested: “Am I not a woman?” Victorian America saw women acting in very “un-ladylike” ways (public speaking, stints in jail), which challenged the “cult of domesticity.”
Second Wave of Feminist Movement
The second wave began in the 1960s and continued into the 90s. This wave unfolded in the circumstances of the anti-war and civil rights movements and the growing self-consciousness of minority groups. The New Left was on the rise and the voice of the second wave was increasingly radical. In this stage, sexuality and reproductive rights were most influential events. This stage began with objections against Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. Redstockings staged a play in which they crowned an animal as Miss America and threw “oppressive” feminine artifacts such as high-heels and false eyelashes into the trash.
Third Wave of the Feminist Movement
The third wave of feminism began in the mid-’90s and was informed by post-modern thinking. In this phase, many constructs were destabilized, including the concept of “universal womanhood”. The “Grrls” of the third wave stepped onto the stage as strong and empowered, rejecting victimization and defining feminine beauty for themselves as subjects, not as objects of patriarchy. They developed the expression of mimicry, which appropriated dis-respective terms in order to unsettle culture and deprive it of verbal weapons. The web is an important tool of “girlie feminism.” E-zines have provided “cybergrrls” and “netgrrls” another kind of women-only space. Rife with the irony of third-wave feminism because cyberspace is disembodied and permits all users the opportunity to cross gender boundaries and the notion of gender has been unbalanced in a way that encourages experimentation and creative thought.
Influence of Waves of Feminist Movements in Pakistan
In Pakistan, feminism consists of “good feminism”, “bad feminism” or “hyper-feminism”. These terms were observed after 2018 Aurat March, a controversial rally held by independent women and women’s organizations like LHWA for women’s liberation. The concept of women’s rights is not new in Pakistan, but the use of the term “Feminism” is new. In the past, people in Pakistan considered feminism as a taboo term, even those who supported women’s rights because of western movement associated with Feminism. In 2018, Aurat March, a rally on women’s right was held. Some people supported, but a large number of people including mainstream personalities nullified it because, in their view, there were gender racist and sarcastic posters carried by feminists in the rally, which overshadowed the real issues of Pakistani women and hence the terms “Good Feminism” and “Bad Feminism” were created. In Pakistani society, “Bad Feminism” is considered to be western propaganda because of many liberal and secular ideas about women’s rights. It is considered to be inappropriate because it goes against Eastern traditions of the society and repugnant to Islamic beliefs. Women’s rights organizations state that feminism in Pakistan is a movement focused on establishing equal political and social rights and opportunities for women.
At this point, we are still not sure how the concept of feminism will change. There have always been many feminisms in the movement, not just one ideology and there have always been tensions and counterpoints. The political and social feminist movements have always been chaotic and disconcerting. It’s a sign that they are thriving.
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