Women: Assertive and Powerful

Celebrating Women's History Month in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Stafford, VA

By Siena Schaller, Junior Reporter for Macaroni Kid Fredericksburg March 23, 2023

The first and second waves of feminism achieved a significant amount of rights for women, however, there were still many issues left to tackle. Beginning in 1990, the third wave of feminism took the achievements of the second and enhanced them to reach greater equality.

After the second wave of feminism, women began to fill more jobs within the workplace, which brought many issues. One issue was an increase in sexual harassment. In 1991, Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court nominee, of sexual harassment. This was the first time someone had shared their experience with workplace harassment publicly. which sparked many conversations. Other women who had similar experiences began to speak out. The year after Hill’s accusation, a record number of females were elected to political positions. This became known as the “Year of the Woman,” and would be the start of a diversified government.

Many could say that the third wave of feminism truly started in 1992 after Rebecca Walker coined the term. After watching Anita Hill’s earnings, she wrote an essay outlining the need for another wave of feminism to combat the ongoing misogyny. In the essay for Ms. Magazine, she stated, “I am not a post-feminism feminist. I am the Third Wave,” implying another wave of feminism had begun.

Throughout the third wave, women began to embrace and express their sexuality and individuality. Rather than conforming to their stereotypical images of being weak and passive, they redefined themselves as assertive and powerful. Many icons arose and helped further redefine women’s image. For example, singers, such as Madonna, Queen Latifah, and Mary J. Blige, became strong and powerful women for many to look up to. In addition, many fictional female characters in children’s programs, such as Mulan, Violet (The Incredibles), and Dora, were depicted to be smart and independent.

The third wave of feminism was a powerful time for women. Through many types of media, they broke through stereotypes and brought more inclusivity to gender. Women were redefined and able to further empower others to embrace their femininity.