Feminism in the 1990s was a movement unique to its time but also deeply connected to earlier movements for women’s rights and gender equality. Often referred to as the “third wave”, the feminism of the ’90s was a reaction to both the incomplete accomplishments of earlier waves and the contradictory—yet popular—belief that feminism was no longer necessary.
Beginning with a brief overview of the various goals and phases of feminism from the early 19th century onward, writer and feminist theorist Jennifer Baumgardner takes you on a tour of a tumultuous decade full of complex issues and contradictions through the lens of the feminist movement and the ways it shaped—and was shaped by—the closing years of the 20th century. From abortion rights to ‘zines, Feminism in the 1990s explores the ways third-wave feminism reacted to popular culture while simultaneously being co-opted by it.
As you will see, feminism in the 1990s was about more than “girl power”. It was about politics on scales both personal and global as well as a reaction to the rising power of commodification and persistent sexism in everything from film and music to sports and education. These lectures also look closely at the weaknesses that plagued feminism’s attempts at inclusivity and the many ways the movement has branched off to address these issues, including the vital concept of intersectionality and the power of anger to inspire change.
Every wave of feminism encountered derision and backlash from those devoted to preserving the status quo, and the feminism of the 1990s was no different. Despite opposition from politicians, traditionalists, and even earlier feminists, you will discover how the movement for women’s equality became stronger and louder than ever before, often led by a new generation raised with feminist ideals who wanted to build a better, more equitable world.
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