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Third Wave Agenda: Being Feminist, Doing Feminism

Leslie Heywood
Jennifer Drake
Copyright Date: 1997
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Third Wave Agenda
    Book Description:

    Feminists born between the years 1964 and 1973 have grown up with a plethora of cultural choices and images. Here they discuss the things that matter now, both in looking back at the accomplishments and failures of the past and in planning for the challenges of the future. Contributors: Barry Baldridge, Ana Marie Cox, Ophira Edut, Tali Edut, Carol Guess, Freya Johnson, Melissa Klein, Dyann Logwood, Annalee Newitz, Jeff Niesel, Jennifer Reed, Jillian Sandel, Leigh Shoemaker, Michelle Sidler, Deborah L. Siegel, Jen Smith, Carolyn Sorisio, and Lidia Yukman.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3497-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)
    Leslie Heywood and Jennifer Drake

    Recently much media attention has been given to writings about third wave feminism, often labeled “postfeminism.” In the perpetual battle of representation and definitional clout, the slippage from “third wave feminism” to “postfeminist” is important, because many of us working in the “third wave” by no means define our feminism as a groovier alternative to an over-and-done feminist movement. Let us be clear: “postfeminist” characterizes a group of young, conservative feminists who explicitly define themselves against and criticize feminists of the second wave.

    Not surprisingly, it is these conservative feminists who are regularly called upon as spokespersons for the “next...

  5. PART ONE What Is the Third Wave?: Third Wave Cultural Contexts

    • CHAPTER ONE Living in McJobdom: Third Wave Feminism and Class Inequity
      (pp. 25-39)
      Michelle Sidler

      I recently read Changing Subjects: The Making of Feminist Literary Criticism (Greene and Kahn 1993), a collection of essays by women who were leaders in second wave feminism—literary scholars and teachers who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of the essays were personal and reflective, recounting the difficulties of working in departments as the first and only woman professor. These feminists defied blatant sexism and existing cultural norms against working women to fulfill their potential as intelligent, independent people. I was moved by the dedication to literary studies that initially led so many of the women...

    • CHAPTER TWO We Learn America like a Script: Activism in the Third Wave; or, Enough Phantoms of Nothing
      (pp. 40-54)
      Leslie Heywood and Jennifer Drake

      Embarrassed, heels in track gravel, wearing a borrowed suit, I heard myself named homecoming queen. Applause. A look of hate from my ex–best friend in the bleachers. People had joked that she and I must be lovers, we spent so much time together, and it was like a breakup when after five years I pulled away from her and her obsessions with guys, hair, makeup. At the time I had no language to talk about the intensity of that relationship or about how I had publicly become the beauty-queen image I had rejected in rejecting her. I had no...

    • CHAPTER THREE Reading between the Waves: Feminist Historiography in a “Postfeminist” Moment
      (pp. 55-82)
      Deborah L. Siegel

      In the spring of 1995, Gloria Steinem came to my town. When I announced the lecture in my first-year composition class, my students looked at me blankly. “Gloria who?” asked a woman in the front row. At twenty-six, I was baffled to find that my assumption that Steinem mattered was not necessarily shared by a new generation of women. Waiting in line with the other ticket holders on the night of the event, I stared in disbelief as a number of protesters—grown men in baseball caps and plaid shirts—passed out flyers that read, “Take Back the Penis!” Fed...

    • CHAPTER FOUR HUES Magazine: The Making of a Movement
      (pp. 83-98)
      Tali Edut, Dyann Logwood and Ophira Edut

      Hello, my name is Tali . . . and I was an addict. You see, once upon a time I had this problem. I just couldn’t stop myself from subscribing to magazines for women and girls “just like me.” I confess that I was a victim of the ill mainstream media; the glamorized trappings that amounted to just about every “ism” in the book. If a product was being pushed, in all its brightly colored wrapping, I was zealously tearing off the bow. Though I now publish a magazine that encourages intelligence and self-sufficiency “for women of all sizes, ethnic...

  6. PART TWO The Third Wave and Representation

    • [PART TWO Introduction]
      (pp. 99-102)

      Representation is a very general term that we make particular use of here. Recent theory has focused on the multiple ways that forms of media don’t just represent life or the “real world” but, rather, help to create it. Theorists of the mass media such as Jean Baudrillard go as far as to say that “reality” is a “simulacrum”—that is, contemporary culture is media saturated, dominated by simulations that shape our world and our perceptions of that world. Simulations aren’t a cheap imitation of a “real” thing—they are the real thing (like Coke ads, which claim to be...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Part Animal, Part Machine: Self-Definition, Rollins Style
      (pp. 103-121)
      Leigh Shoemaker

      A few years ago, sometime around 1991, I was traveling with a girlfriend to a small college town to see another friend’s struggling band play one of its first shows. My girlfriend had the Rollins Band cassette Do It (1988) in the stereo, and we were cruising along shouting out the lyrics to “Turned Out” with pure sincerity: “I don’t know you. . . . I know my enemies, They show themselves to me with honest eyes. . . . They hate my guts but at least it’s the truth. . . . I’ll trust ’em just as far as...

    • CHAPTER SIX Roseanne: A “Killer Bitch” for Generation X
      (pp. 122-133)
      Jennifer Reed

      In an interview in the Advocate, the longest-running national lesbian and gay magazine of American culture, Roseanne marks herself as a cultural worker who speaks to Generation X feminists. Like many Generation X women (women who grew up with the second wave of feminism), Roseanne eschews the label “feminist“ and says she prefers instead “killer bitch.” She goes on: “It’s women’s self-hatred that doesn’t allow us to be fighters or artists. It’s the same way for black people and gay people.”¹ Not only does Roseanne make explicit connections between sexist, racist, and heterosexist oppressions—a project central to third wave...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN A Tale of Two Feminisms: Power and Victimization in Contemporary Feminist Debate
      (pp. 134-150)
      Carolyn Sorisio

      We have heard the old tale—how Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique brushed against a generation of women’s lips with a hard kiss, waking Adrienne Rich’s dead. The feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s brought tangible change. In my field of feminist literary criticism, the newly resurrected struggled for representation of women writers in the curriculum and a better understanding of women in history. Thinkers as diverse as Hélène Cixous and the team of Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar held one common assumption—“woman” was a category that merited serious scrutiny; it was a word with weight. Yet...

  7. PART THREE Third Wave Negotiations

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Deconstructing Me: On Being (Out) in the Academy
      (pp. 155-167)
      Carol Guess

      Am I a lesbian?

      I’ve asked myself this question twice now, and answered it once. some years back, a series of events and realizations led me to feel and think that lesbian might be the best word I could find to describe many of the most significant emotions, thoughts, and actions of my life. Those emotions, thoughts, and actions had consistently been a part of my way of being in the world; I had simply had no words with which to describe them, and no context in which to imagine that they might enable me to feel connected to other...

    • CHAPTER NINE Feminism and a Discontent
      (pp. 168-177)
      Lidia Yukman

      Not for nothing have I undertaken a specifically creative project. Although it is true enough that the subject matter of this work concerns teaching and difference, I am also drawing attention to the form of the narrative fragment by submitting it to critical discourse. Part of my premise is that feminist critical language, in many cases, breaks down at the very point at which autocritique might occur. In my mind, critical language itself must be deconstructed, not with itself but with other forms. Which is to say that I am choosing to bring fiction in where I perceive critical language...

    • CHAPTER 10 Masculinity without Men: Women Reconciling Feminism and Male-Identification
      (pp. 178-200)
      Ana Marie Cox, Freya Johnson, Annalee Newitz and Jillian Sandell

      Recent work on the “crisis in masculinity” in popular culture has drawn attention to the fact that masculinity has always had an ambivalent relationship to power and domination. For example, masculinity in a straight, white man and masculinity in a gay, black man are differently valued, reminding us that the relationship between sex, gender, and social power is less fixed than we might often think. Masculinity is, in other words, as much a construction and a performance as femininity is. Therefore, the idea that some women might want to assume certain “masculine” traits or consider themselves as “male-identified” does not...

  8. PART FOUR Third Wave Activism and Youth Music Culture

    • [PART FOUR Introduction]
      (pp. 201-206)

      Activism in the third wave takes diverse and compelling forms, but one—music production (and consumption)—is particularly important, because of the ways it has spawned so many forms of youth culture. There are good reasons for this. Immediately accessible, emotionally compelling, and most often produced by “youth” themselves, music has long existed as a site of complicated rebellions against, complicities with, and revisions of various forms of the cultural status quo. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw a major insurgence of politically motivated revisionary forms, discussed here under the rubrics “Riot Grrrl” and “gangsta rap/hip-hop.”

      Music is a...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Duality and Redefinition: Young Feminism and the Alternative Music Community
      (pp. 207-225)
      Melissa Klein

      I am twenty-five years old. On my left upper arm I have a six-inch long tattoo of a voluptuous cowgirl. One of her hands rests jauntily on her jutting hip. The other is firing a gun. An earlier feminist might frown upon my cowgirl’s fringed hot pants and halter top as promoting sexual exploitation, and might see her pistol as perpetuating male patterns of violence. Yet I see this image as distinctly feminist. Having a tattoo signifies a subculture that subverts traditional notions of feminine beauty. That this tattoo is a pinup girl with a gun represents the appropriation and...

    • CHAPTER TWELVE Doin’ It for the Ladies—Youth Feminism: Cultural Productions/Cultural Activism
      (pp. 226-238)
      Jen Smith

      I am a punk feminist interested in telling a story. This is a story about the creation of an alternate meaning system. It is a story about identity, about networking, about community. It is also a story about cultural resistance from a particular cultural location. But maybe it is a story about conquest and domination, the human body as a landscape defined by political boundaries. Maybe it is a story about fragmentation, about synthesis, about physiological dysfunction. Maybe it is a story disguised as a pamphlet about toxic shock syndrome. Maybe this story is called, “What every girl should know.”...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN Hip-Hop Matters: Rewriting the Sexual Politics of Rap Music
      (pp. 239-254)
      Jeff Niesel

      By the time I graduated from high school in 1986, the popularity of alternative and indie rock had started to soar—and not because record labels were pushing their artists down consumers’ throats as though they were the latest soft drinks. As I started writing about popular music for my college newspaper, I noticed an increase in the number of artists who cultivated their fan bases through grassroots channels and played music unlike anything heard on mainstream radio. Female singers with feminist perspectives (Suzanne Vega and Siouxsie Sioux), male singers with ambiguous sexual preferences (Michael Stipe and Morrissey), and co-ed...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 255-260)
  10. Index
    (pp. 261-268)