the fourth wave begins now

Welcome to a new era of feminism.
We're determined as hell and we're not going to take it anymore.

For a number of years, feminist scholars have been debating what to title the current feminist movement: The question many ask is, are we still in the Third Wave? That wave began sometime around the 90s, which doesn’t feel that long ago. 

It was a wave characterized by a newfound sex positivity and promotion of diversity. As well as continuing to embrace the choice of women to either pursue a career or not pursue a career, have babies or not have babies, be sexual or not be sexual, and of course, be economically, societally, and politically accepted as having the same importance as men. 

These ideals are still embraced by the growing Fourth Wave label, but I think we can all agree that, if it hadn’t already, on November 8, 2016, when one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for the office of United States President lost the race to a misogynistic, nationalistic, xenophobic, hateful, and all around terrifying man,

The Fourth Wave began.

So join the fold, sisters, it’s time to fight. For a woman’s right to equal pay for equal work. For a woman’s right to do whatever the hell she wants with her body - the same as any man legally and rightfully can. For a woman’s - and her child-rearing partner’s - right to paid maternity and paternity leave. For every right of our sisters of color, our Muslim sisters, our queer and transgender sisters, our refugee sisters, our plus-sized sisters, our sisters without access to education, and every damn sister who chooses to identify herself as a sister. 

All are welcome here. Including men. The Fourth Wave is a not a movement of women alone, it’s a movement humans.

I won’t pretend to be a scholar on the subject or to definitively explain the Fourth Wave to you. But I am a woman, and here’s what it means to me: unity. The goal of the Fourth Wave in my eyes is to bring every subgroup of feminists and women and humans together into one powerful, intersectional movement. 

While the Fourth Wave doesn’t believe that true and lasting change can come from social media alone, it also does not look down on digitized social activism. It utilizes the Internet to speak out and spread the good feminist word to all corners of the country and the globe - most especially to those feminists who might feel sequestered and alone in the world.

Some even argue that spirituality is an important aspect of this wave - whether you believe in a God, in many gods, or just in people, this wave emphasizes the connection that we all feel to our fellow humans. And the justice and equality that we all owe to each other.

The Fourth Wave includes women of color, queer rights, equal pay, sex positivity, education, social media activism, real life in-person activism, the right to choose what you do with your body and your mind and your career, and so much more.

At risk of sounding too cult-y, the Fourth Wave frame of mind is a beautiful one to have and I hope that you’ll join me in fighting for the lofty goals of this progressive movement (that actually aren’t that lofty at all because it’s about damn time for equality in 2016). Together, we can move mountains.

Welcome to a new world, fellow feminists. There’s a lot of work to be done here, but we’re going to make it good.

JUST A FEW places to read more on feminism:

1.   The Center for American Progress' Women Initiative, suggested by Mehreen Karim

2.   The UN’s HeForShe Initiative.

  3.  Michelle Obama’s United State of Women Initiative. 

 4.   The Huffington Post's Why We Need To Talk About White Feminism video.

5.    A Bustle article on 7 Things Feminists of Color Want White Feminists to Know, which includes a lot of good secondary links as well.

 6.   8 Feminist Leaders of Color that you need to know.

7.    Feministing blog.

8.    A Seat at the Table. Embrace your anger, then go out and do something about it.

9.    Lemonade, because if you haven’t used up your free trial of Tidal or bought the songs on iTunes (or even if you have), experiencing it a few times through is a pretty good way to start coping with what happened in the election.

10.    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, We Should All Be Feminists.

11. And Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s thoughts on Beyonce using her TED Talk.

12. Adichie ALSO wrote a book titled Americanah that is pretty damn relevant right now.

13. Rowan Blanchard’s pledge to stop apologizing for existing, found on Tavi Gevinson’s young feminist internet hangout Rookie Mag.

14. Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s feminist newsletter, Lenny, that albeit is too often problematic (perfect example of white feminism being an issue). But it does have some pretty good feminist pieces every now and then - usually the ones that aren't written by Lena herself. For example, thoughts on Fannie Lou HamerStacey Abrams (House Minority Leader in the Georgia General Assembly), Jenna LyonsJ LawHillary Clinton, and more.

15. Wikipedia, because we all know that that’s where we’re realistically going to look, and there are a lot of good links embedded in these pages.

16. And Man Repeller, of course, is always talking feminism:
White Privilege
Stop Apologizing
Female Body Hair
“Resting Bitch Face”

Oh Boy podcast with Whitney Cummings, in which Leandra quite perfectly says, "I think that in an ideal world, the fourth wave of feminism is just being. We don't fit in boxes. That's what it is, it's removing yourself from the freakin' box."

And this list is by no means exhaustive, so please share the feminist love and comment with your own resources below!