This article was co-written by Ella. Art by Ella.
Whatever third wave feminism first set out to be, it has transformed into a wholly different beast.
It promised to be an intersectional, more progressive refinement of second wave feminism. Somewhere along the way, it got stretched and pulled, poked and prodded by men (and women aiming to please men), finally becoming the mess we find ourselves in today. In its quest to absolutely avoid stepping on any toes and to please every single person on earth, third wave feminism has achieved absolutely nothing.
In fact, it has continually stepped on the very women it claims to be helping the most: lesbians, poor women, women of color, young girls. It has done this in order to please and prioritize men.
It proposes no solutions to the structural sexism we see in our society. It encourages women to do the very things men require of us. It demands women to throw our sisters under the bus so that men may have their way.
Third wave feminism is a neoliberalist, misogynistic, nonsensical, huge step backwards.
But there is hope, and it lies in the women who refuse to submit.
I see hope in women like Gail Dines and Rachel Moran, who use research, statistics, and their own stories to speak and write on women’s oppression.
I see it in women like Magdalen Berns, who challenges predators, homophobes, and misogynists through hilarious and informative videos.
I see it in women groups like The Untameable Shrews (whom I interviewed for this month’s issue!), who use their creativity and skill to create unforgettable radical street art.
I see it in every girl who shares, discusses, and promotes radical ideas on social media, despite a deluge of death threats, doxxing, and dick pics.
By proposing a fourth wave of feminism, we can begin to put third wave in the past.
Because radical feminism is not the history of feminism. It’s the future.
II. We are
Anti-prostitution and porn because these are commodification and objectification of women. Because the facts show that they are enablers of abuse and rape. Because absolutely no part of a woman should be bought or sold.
Anti-beauty culture because the worth of a woman has no basis in her appearance. Because the tasks required of a woman to be “beautiful” are pointless and expensive at best and debilitating at worst. Because these tasks exist specifically to subordinate women.
Anti-gender because sex is a biological reality and gender is a social construct that exists to subordinate women. Because there is no such thing as a “female brain” or a “female personality” or a “female soul”. Because oppression is a system that cannot be opted in or out of.
Anti-capitalism because in a capitalist society, a woman is an exploited resource.
Anti-kink because kinks are, more often than not, harmful products of pedophile culture and rape culture.
Anti-TERF/TWERF/SWERF because these are simply used to silence any woman who disagrees with the mainstream feminist hivemind. Because there is no such thing as a TERF/TWERF/SWERF.
Pro-choice because no one owns a woman’s body but her.
Pro-liberation because we do not want to be empowered within a fundamentally oppressive society. Because we want total freedom from that society.
III. The Things We Will Do
De-center our lives around men.
Center our lives around women.
Remember, respect, and honor our feminist foremothers–while also recognizing their faults, their racism, homophobia, etc.
Name the problem of male violence.
Promote critical thinking. Analyze and question everything, no matter how small or how much you take it for granted.
Provide resources/content/news freely and through an open source whenever we can, to accommodate women from every location and social class.
Discuss, invent and utilize different activist strategies to affect change in the real world.
Debate thoughtfully and without malice, and teach our radfem sisters to do the same. Continual debate will make our movement stronger and more ideologically sound. We are not a cult. We allow for respectful disagreement and will always make time to listen to each other.
Make our own spaces, resources, and communities where there are none. Center our activism around creation, not destruction.
Support other radical feminists in their creative/personal/educational/political endeavors.
Consider which women will benefit when planning political action. Consider which barriers to liberation it will destroy. Consider how we can expand our activism to help women from every race, class, sexuality, and socioeconomic background.
Research and support female-owned industry and arts.
Do the hard work of being a feminist.