Mike Rugnetta explains the three waves of feminism
Tags: gender, inequality, media, social mvmts/social change/resistance, sex/sexuality, adventure time, bmo, feminism, first wave feminism, gender binary, popular culture, pronouns, second wave feminism, third wave feminism, subtitles/CC, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: This quirky little clip comes from the Idea Channel, which describes itself as "a weekly web series that examines the evolving relationship between modern technology and art." In it, bearded host Mike Rugnetta explores a connection between feminist theory and the animated television show Adventure Time. Fans of the animated series will recall that one of the minor characters is a sentient video console named BMO. Rugnetta argues that since this walking and talking gadget generally skirts the strictures of the gender binary system in a number of creative ways, the character can be read as expressive of Third Wave Feminism. On that point, Rugnetta breaks into a useful discussion of the three waves of feminism. The first wave emerged from the 19th century, and as Rugnetta surmises, it was concerned with "institutionalized inequalities, like women gaining the right to vote, executing contracts, or owning property." Another way of thinking about the first wave is that it sought to remove obstacles that prevented women from fully participating in public life and spheres of formal power. The right to vote is one such obstacle, but first wavers were also concerned with securing the right to attend such organizations as medical schools and labor unions. The second wave, by contrast, is most associated with the 1960s and 1970s. Rugnetta explains that the second wave "broadened its focus to cultural inequalities." It should also be noted that the second wave expanded the struggle for equality back into the private sphere, and cast a spotlight on such issues as domestic violence. Finally, the third wave, which is typically associated with the present moment, has broadened its focus even more by recognizing the way people are intersected by such dimensions as gender, race, class, and sexuality. As the BMO character exemplifies, Third Wave Feminism is also critical of the gender binary, or the cultural and social structures that divide people, roles, behaviors, occupations, and objects of consumption into strictly masculine and feminine spheres.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
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