Third Wave Feminism has brought a lot of marginalized voices to the forefront. Kathleen Hanna is an example of someone who is full of passion and wanted her voice to be heard.
Her Riot Grrrl Manifesto is here presented by Kathleen Hanna herself.
Riot Grrrl Manifesto
This piece is about reclaiming the word girl to be about strength rather than the preconceived notions of what a girl should or should not be. The anger felt by Hanna is evident with her vulgar use of language and personal ties. She was in the band Bikini Kill and regularly spoke out against society’s ideas and beliefs. One of Bikini Kill’s most popular songs, Rebel Girl, emulate Hanna’s love for rebelling against society.
Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill
Hanna’s type of feminism was radical to most; however, it was her feminism. She used feminism to fit her lifestyle and sang it to her audiences that could relate to it as well. Hanna’s feminism proves that feminism is flexible.
Another example of a third wave feminist is Gwendolyn D. Pough.
Pough is an interesting feminist in that her feminism is specific to her world of hip-hop. How she weaves hip-hop and feminism is indeed very interesting. To start, Pough had a conflict between her feminist beliefs and hip-hop’s sexist and harmful messages towards women. However, she loved hip-hop as it was a part of her identity so she set out to “…find ways both to be true to themselves and to listen to the music and participate in the culture that stimulates the very depth of their souls” (511).
Hip-hop has been known to be highly offensive and demeaning to women. However, as Pough says, “I take the stance that hip-hop is a cultural phenomenon that extends beyond rap music” (511). Hip-hop is more than just music, it guides the listeners lifestyle choices as well. Pough talks about how hip-hop was created around the same time the Black Power Movement was ending. Hip-hop has a connection to the Black Power Movement in that it projects political messages that promote unity and talk about the issues going on in their communities. Pough makes the connection to feminism through the second wave black feminists starting out in the Black Power and Feminist movements. These women involved in the Black Power and Feminist movement saw how sexist and racist each movement was and began to take matters into their own hands. They developed a feminism that worked for them. Pough believes that her feminism, hip-hop feminism, grew out this Black feminism. So Pough’s connection of feminism to hip-hop is rooted in history.
While she has made the connection between the two, the negativity towards women still remains, but Pough has a solution for this. Pough believes hip-hop has the potential to give a voice to a portion of the population that has not had one before. Feminists must realize the potential hip-hop has to be an important tool to activism. There is power in hip-hop and by realizing this, the feminist movement would be validating and reaching a whole generation of women of color.
The last example I will use for third wave feminists is Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards. These two women also wrote a manifesto like Kathleen Hanna did, but there was addressed specifically for the third wave. The title of their text is Third Wave Manifesta: A Thirteen-Point Agenda.
This piece lays out thirteen points that emulate what the third wave supports and is all about. Here I have the text laid out:
1. To out unacknowledged feminists, specifically those who are younger, so that Generation X can become a visible movement and, further, a voting block of eighteen to forty-year olds.
2. To safeguard a woman’s right to bear or not to bear a child, regardless of circumstances, including women who are younger than eighteen or impoverished. To preserve the right throughout her life and support the choice to be childless.
3. To make explicit that the fight for reproductive rights must include birth control; the right for poor women and lesbians to have children; partner adoption for gay couples; subsidized fertility treatments for all women who choose them; and freedom from sterilization abuse. Furthermore, to support the idea that sex can be – and usually is – for pleasure, not procreation.
4. To bring down the double standard in sex and sexual health, and foster male responsibility and assertiveness in the following areas: achieving freedom from STDs; more fairly dividing the burden of family planning as well as responsibilities such as child care; and eliminating violence against women.
5. To tap into and raise awareness of our revolutionary history, and the fact that almost all movements began as youth movements. To have access to our intellectual feminist legacy and women’s history; for the classics of radical feminism, womanism, mujeristas, women’s liberation, and all our roots to remain in print; and to have women’s history taught to men as well as women as a part of all curricula.
6. To support and increase the visibility and power of lesbians and bisexual women in the feminist movement, in high schools, colleges, and the workplace. To recognize that queer women have always been at the forefront of the feminist movement, and that there is nothing to be gained – and much to be lost – by downplaying their history, whether inadvertently or actively.
7. To practice “autokeonony” (“self in community”): to see activism not as a choice between self and community but as a link between them that creates balance.
8. To have equal access to health care, regardless of income, which includes coverage equivalent to men’s and keeping in mind that women use the system more often than men do because of our reproductive capacity.
9. For women who so desire to participate in all reaches of the military, including combat, and to enjoy all the benefits (loans, health care, pensions) offered to its members for as long as we continue to have an active military. The largest expenditure of our national budget goes towards maintaining the welfare system, and feminists have a duty to make sure women have access to every echelon.
10. To liberate adolescents from slut-bashing, listless educators, sexual harassment, and bullying at school, as well as violence in all walks of life, and the silence that hangs over adolescents’ heads, often keeping them isolated, lonely, and indifferent to the world.
11. To make the workplace responsive to an individual’s wants, needs, and talents. This includes valuing (monetarily) stay-at-home parents, aiding employees who want to spend more time with family and continue to work, equalizing pay for jobs of comparable worth, enacting a minimum wage that would bring a full-time worker with two children over the poverty line, and providing employee benefits for freelance and part-time workers.
12. To acknowledge that, although feminists may have disparate values, we share the same goal of equality, and of supporting one another in our efforts to gain the power to make our own choices.
13. To pass the Equal Rights Amendment so that we can have a constitutional foundation of righteousness and equality upon which future women’s rights conventions will stand.
I resonated with a lot of these principles which solidified my stance that I am a third wave feminist. The one principle that stood out to me was number 12. I believe this principle is the defining element to third wave feminism for it’s unity and inclusivity. Third wave feminism is flexible to anyone’s lifestyle because of it’s goal of equality for all.