Sexism, Exploitation, Celebration or Empowerment?

Two views of the female body in the gaze, society’s and men’s, from a Second Wave and Third Wave perspective are provided for your viewing and comment. Are Playboy bunnies exploited or celebrated and empowered? Should young girls grow up in a culture that reinforces reliance on their bodies for their power? Click on the words “Second Wave” and “Third Wave” above to see the vimeo and article.

Below are definition excerpts from an informative essay entitled “The Three Waves of Feminism” by Martha Rampton of Pacific University of Oregon, October 23, 2014, outlining the history of feminism in a very readable composition:

The first wave of feminism took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, emerging out of an environment of urban industrialism and liberal, socialist politics. The goal of this wave was to open up opportunities for women, with a focus on suffrage. The wave formally began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when 300 men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (d.1902) drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration outlining the new movement’s ideology and political strategies.

The second wave began in the 1960s and continued into the 90’s. This wave unfolded in the context of the anti-war and civil rights movements and the growing self-consciousness of a variety of minority groups around the world. The New Left was on the rise, and the voice of the second wave was increasingly radical. In this phase, sexuality and reproductive rights were dominant issues, and much of the movement’s energy was focused on passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing social equality regardless of sex.

The third phase of feminism began in the mid-90’s and is informed by post-colonial and post-modern thinking. In this phase many constructs have been destabilized, including the notions of “universal womanhood,” body, gender, sexuality and hetreronormativity. An aspect of third phase feminism that mystifies the mothers of the earlier feminist movement is the readoption by young feminists of the very lip-stick, high-heals, and cleavage proudly exposed by low cut necklines that the first two phases of the movement identified with male oppression. Pinkfloor expressed this new position when she said; “It’s possible to have a push-up bra and a brain at the same time.”

8 Replies to “Sexism, Exploitation, Celebration or Empowerment?”

  1. My real experience dictates other than what the general public and the media seem to subscribe to. My sister Leslie and I both worked for Kaiser at one time, the Huntington Park Clinic. I was a file clerk in the chart room and she worked on the appointment wheel. I made a few more cents on the hour than she did.
    We lived at our parents house at the time. One day she tells me to look out the window, there in the driveway is a brand new Honda. She then opens her closet door to reveal a whole new, very expensive wardrobe.
    By this time my face is red with injustice, how the hell did you get all this???? I make more than you do!! She’s sleeping with the head Dr. Dr, Rowe is a tall, very handsome, Black man from Cuba. Very sophisticated, involved in the LA community, wife, kids.
    My sister went around with him seemed like for a couple years, same as what your previous reference described as the time frame for such. She would brag about it, relate her “doctor” appointments with the hanky panky taking place in the exam room during the days.
    This is something I could never do. I do not believe it is possible for me to fuck my way to the top, but would not mind having that weapon in my business arsenal. I can verify that my another sister, Susan, has culled more business accounts with her boobs than with her ability at selling. Most women wear their boobs as a weapon, and when I see them coming with a well armed rack, I know they have some kind of hustle on their mind does nothing for me and all for them, I mean, why not. Luckily, I grew up with all girls and know their best game.

    1. Jim, I would imagine your pay inequity story is not unique; obviously some women use their bodies to unfair advantage to men in the work place. The shame is still that many women believe their bodies are their only tools to financial success in the scenario you described. I will bet your sisters are very smart.
      What I like about the Third Wave Feminist agenda is the attempt to break apart stereotypes about gender, sexuality and feminism itself, which is opening up choice. Stereotyping is what humans rely upon/do so easily but there is a real danger in it, even as there is a convenience and certain amount of wisdom with which to be forewarned in certain “types.”

      1. What I admire is your dialogue is couched in the terms of the many. As a self centered, artistic type who tends to be self absorbed, it is beneficial to see this perspective irregardless of the subject. It is hard for me to cross that bridge and I admire those that can. I feel I really cannot indulge myself as I do if it were not for these souls that seem to monitor the universe. When I see them I feel as if I am looking up at the stars in the sky so I am trying to expand and understand.

  2. The other side of Leslie’s coin at that time, bit her in the ass pretty hard. Came Christmas I was at my parents house with my girlfriend, she was there alone and spent the holiday without a partner. The lash of the Devil’s tongue whispered in her ear, now come to claim what is his in the currency he covets most, your soul.

  3. Justice, yes. Perhaps something much more from the darkness I remember her enduring.
    She sought status, the tribal designation for the ambitions of the youngest and strongest females in a pack.
    Buying into the subjugation of the man pack and emblems that confirmed a membership, be it money, a car, a title, a uniform.
    A predator facing the justice a lone predator creates for itself, within the formula of this universe anyway.
    Live by the fang, die by the fang.

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