The Third Wave
By the beginning of the 21st century the third wave of feminism had become entrenched in American culture, and also in the cultures of Europe. By now the revolution was over, and feminism had taken over as the predominant belief system. It had installed its own brand of law, feminist law, which might be compared to the Sharia law used in fundamentalist Muslim countries, a law that operated according to the new fundamentalist feminist belief system.
The old belief system, which existed in America before the second wave of feminism, was a combination of classical liberal morality and religious morality. The founders of the constitution stressed religious freedom, pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, freedom of speech, and a kind of live and let live ethos. People were judged as individuals and whether they were open-minded and caring individuals. It was a system devised primarily by males, with the advice of women. The new feminist belief system was modeled after the Marxist system. It saw men as victimizers and women as victims. Feminist slogans became the cornerstone of a new morality, which establishes females as the superior and good sex and men as a bad sex who were responsible for all the wrongs that had happened to the world.
In the early 1990s in the USA, third-wave feminism began as a debate among feminists (men were not allowed in this discussion) as a response to perceived failures of the second wave and to the backlash against initiatives and movements created by the second wave. Wikipedia noted, on the history of the third wave, “Third-wave feminism distinguished itself from the second wave around issues of sexuality, challenging female heterosexuality and celebrating sexuality as a means of female empowerment”.20 In other words, “challenging heterosexuality” means that lesbianism was now seen as the ultimate form of rebellion against men and as the ultimate form of liberation and female empowerment.
When Betty Friedan helped found The National Organization, she wanted it to be an organization run by heterosexual women for heterosexual women. However, as the organization grew, lesbians began to join. Timeline notes, “Friedan and other straight feminists were concerned that the presence of “mannish” or “man-hating” lesbians would hinder the cause.” Del Martin, one of the early lesbian members of NOW, wrote about Friedan, “Betty Friedan was such a homophobe. She was so afraid of the stigma lesbians might bring to the organization…As soon as I was on the board [of NOW] she was on the phone to the New York Times saying that lesbians are ruining the movement and that some of them had tried to seduce her”.21 Friedan later resigned from NOW and The National Organization of Women was eventually run taken over by lesbians and, ironically, that meant lesbians now spoke for women in general. Lesbian values became mainstream.
And the lesbian conception of what a woman should be would eventually become the ideal toward which a majority of women aspired. This ideal was all about women doing without men. The ideal woman was independent, quick-witted, and able to compete with any man. She was anything but a damsel in distress. She was all about making sure that there were as many female judges as male judges and as many female senators as male senators and as many female truck drivers as male truck drivers. She could handle a machinegun as well as any man and drive any tank and nuke any city. To hell with being nurturing! To hell with being soft and caring! To hell with being empathetic! She would be hard, harder than any man.
Third-wave feminism debated long and devotedly with second-wave feminists over what it considered the second wave’s definitions of femininity, which, they argued, over-emphasized the experiences of upper middle-class white heterosexual women. Third-wave feminists focused on micro-prejudice (prejudicial notions and actions that were beneath awareness). and challenged the second wave’s theories about what is, or is not, good for women. New non-white feminist leaders emerged such as Gloria Anzaldúa, bell hooks, Chela Sandoval, Cherríe Moraga, Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and many others, too many to name. They sought to include within feminist thought race-related issues. Third-wave feminism also had internal debates between “difference feminists,” who believed that there are important differences between the sexes, and “equity feminists,” who believed that there are no inherent differences between the sexes and contended that gender roles are due entirely to social conditioning.22
“Women’s empowerment,” became the main slogan that began to be heard during this period (never men’s empowerment). There was also a distinction between liberal feminists and conservative feminists (conservative feminists seen as second-class feminists who were duped by conservative thinking). “Men have been controlling and exploiting women for thousands of years,” became the phrase feminist most repeated, “and now it is women’s turn to lead the world to a gentler and kinder kind of place.” The movement became less militant, having won its victory and having become the main belief system in America and in the Western world. It not only emphasized the rights of minority women but also began speaking of LGBT rights, which stood for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, all of whom were now viewed as victims under the feminist system. Once you were considered a victim, you were accorded special consideration under the feminist belief system as well as special privileges. For example, “hate crimes,” were passed as federal laws noting that when any of the designated victims were in some way violated, the punishment was to be even greater.
Now feminists took the battle out of the public arena and into the courts. Roe vs. Wade (1973), was a landmark decision issued in 1973 by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of the constitutionality of laws that criminalized or restricted access to abortions. The Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the state’s interests in regulating abortions: protecting women’s health and protecting the potentiality of human life. This case was the beginning of feminism’s use of the legal system to fight their battles.23 By now almost all government officials had been converted to the feminist way of thinking.
During the third wave feminists concentrated on consolidating their power, not through demonstrations but through the courts. They looked for and found discrimination against women everywhere and tested their vision and court case after court case. They almost always won, and before long women had in effect established a sort of “divine rule.” Below is a partial timeline of feminist court cases, some with merit, many with the intent of overturning the alleged patriarchy.24
1978: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed. It banned employment discrimination against pregnant women.
1981: Kirchberg v. Feenstra, overturned state laws designating a husband “head and master” with unilateral control of property owned jointly with his wife.
1984: In Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees was about sex discrimination in membership policies of organizations, such as the Jaycees. Feminists were against men having any private clubs to which women weren’t invited. The new law forced the opening of many previously all-male organizations (Jaycees, Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions) to women.
1984: Hishon v. King and Spaulding. The U.S. Supreme Court, cowing to feminist pressure, ruled that law firms were not entitled to discriminate on the basis of sex in promoting lawyers to partnership positions.
1986: In Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, feminists succeeded in convincing the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that a hostile or abusive work environment could prove discrimination based on sex.
1987: Johnson v. Santa Clara County led the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that it was permissible to take sex and race into account in employment decisions even where there was no proven history of discrimination but when evidence of a manifest imbalance existed in the number of women or minorities holding the position in question. In other words, if a company had more male managers than female managers, that was now considered evidence of discrimination.
1993: Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc., pushed the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the victim in cases of sexual harassment did not need to show that she suffered physical or serious psychological injury as a result of the harassment.
1994: Feminists pressured Congress to adopt the Gender Equity in Education Act to train teachers in gender equality, promote math and science learning by girls, counsel pregnant teens, and prevent sexual harassment.
1994: The Violence Against Women Act was passed, funding services for victims of rape and domestic violence, allows women to seek civil rights remedies for gender-related crimes, provides training to increase police and court officials’ sensitivity and a national 24-hour hotline for battered women.
1996: United States v. Virginia, affirmed that the male-only admissions policy of the state-supported Virginia Military Institute violateed the Fourteenth Amendment.
1997: Elaborating on Title IX, the Supreme Court ruled that college athletics programs must actively involve roughly equal numbers of men and women to qualify for federal support.
1998: Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America agreed to pay $34 million to settle an E.E.O.C. lawsuit contending that hundreds of women were sexually harassed. Mitsubishi decided to pay this settlement rather than go through a civil suit where women would be believed and they would not.
2000: CBS Broadcasting agreed to pay $8 million to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit by the E.E.O.C. on behalf of 200 women. Like Mitsubishi, CBS had no choice but to settle.
2003: Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs was a suit in which The Supreme Court ruled that states can be sued in federal court for violations of the Family Leave Medical Act.
2005: Hillary Clinton becomes the first First Lady to be elected to public office as a U.S. Senator from New York. Condoleezza Rice becomes the first black female Secretary of State. Feminists keep track of those kinds of things. To feminists, if a woman is the first First Lady to be elected to office, that a victory over male oppression and she is a hero. If a male is elected to office, it’s just another entitled male getting into office.
2005: Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education was a case in which feminists pressured The Supreme Court to rule that Title IX prohibits punishing someone for complaining about sex-based discrimination.
2005: The Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act allocated federal funds to aid victims, provided housing to prevent victims from becoming homeless, ensured victims have access to the justice system, and created intervention programs to assist children who witnessed domestic violence and to those at risk of domestic violence.
2009: The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act allowed victims, usually women, of pay discrimination to file a complaint with the government against their employer within 180 days of their last paycheck.
2010: Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act was signed into law and contained a clause, influenced by feminists, requiring private health insurance companies to provide birth control without co-pays or deductibles.
2013: The ban against women in military combat positions was removed; this overturned a 1994 Pentagon decision restricting women from combat roles. This law ensures that militant women have the right to get shot in war, and that men will be the targets of rape and harassment cases.
2013: Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The new bill extended coverage to women of Native American tribal lands who are attacked by non-tribal residents, as well as protecting lesbians and immigrants.
2016: A #Me Too movement arose and women across America began accusing men of sexual misconduct. Men who were accused, sometimes by anonymous accusers, were often immediately fired from their jobs without a trial. These were usually men who were high up in the entertainment industry, television industry, or government. Meanwhile, the women who made the accusations were never questioned. Feminists had now succeeded in vigilante justice and no longer needed the court’s help.
By 2018, feminism had apparently achieved a complete take-over of our culture. Feminism now strongly influenced government, education, entertainment, television news and other industries. On television, three out of four hosts on new programs were female. Almost two-thirds of students in undergraduate colleges were female.25 A majority of graduate students in many fields were female. A majority of middle managers in businesses were female. The laws passed over the years and the value system that had been erected had, in essence, put women into an “untouchable” position, and rather than equality between men and women, there was now a system almost entirely in favor of women. This had a far-reaching effect.
For example, it affected parenting and education: There was now a double-standard in favor of girls. Girls were raised to feel entitled because women, according to the new gospel, had historically been victims, and boys were raised to believe they were guilty because they were members of a biased and contaminated sex. Almost all elementary school teachers were now female, and they invariably identify themselves as feminists and therefore fostered a double standard in favor of women. They taught about women’s rights and diversity. If there were a feminist Ten Commandments, they would probably go something like this:
- A man may never say anything negative about a woman. (But women can feel free to say anything they want about men.) If men say anything negative about a woman they must be punished (i.e., lose their jobs).
- A man may never question any aspect of feminism lest he be seen as a sexist, in which he must be punished (i.e., lose his job).
- A man may never show any sexual interest in a woman’s body (that is, “objectify” her).
- A man may never make sexual advances toward a woman unless she specifically gives him permission to do so, and if she later changes her mind he must be made to apologize or punished.
- If a husband has sex with his wife and the wife at first consents to it, but changes her mind later, the sex will be considered rape and the man can be punished in court.
- Women decide all issues regarding equality, since men are unconscious of their bias toward women.
- Men are never to question a woman if she accuses a man of sexual misconduct of any kind. The man is considered guilty as soon as the woman makes an accusation against a man.
- All men must be feminist men, that is, they must agree with all tenants of feminism. Men who disagree (as well as women who disagree) must be punished.
- All women must be empowered, since they were formerly oppressed by patriarchy, which means women must be allowed to dominate culture and have the final say in all aspects of culture. Men have dominated and exploited women for thousands of years and therefore now have no further say with regard to relations between the sexes.
- Feminists, and only feminists, will determine the rules and policies with regard to relations between the sexes.
The new radical feminist value system had been firmly established, and it had stunted almost all fields, censoring what could be said, what movies could be produced, what television shows could be shown, what scientists could study and what laws government officials could pass. It was a kind of feminist tyranny, and if one crossed the party line, one would be shown the door.
In 2017 James Damore, a male Engineer of Google circulated a memo criticizing what he called a “cult” that ruled Google. The memo went viral. In the memo he spoke his mind about his disagreement with what he saw as a kind of reverse sexism that was taught in training seminars at the company, training seminars that males were required to take, teaching them to be sensitive to women’s issues. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” he wrote and went on to suggest that the gender gaps may be due to biological differences between males and females. Damore was subsequently fired for, among other things, using gender stereotypes.26
In 2016, Tim Hunt, an English biochemist who won a Nobel prize, commented at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea, saying: “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls… three things happen when they are in the lab … You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry.” Because of this statement he was forced to resign from his position as Professor at University College, London. All of his many accomplishments, including his Nobel prize, fell by the wayside and his reputation was ruined, all because of this one tongue-in-cheek statement.27
After the revolution of the second wave and the court cases of the third wave, feminists had not only cemented their control of American culture, but also had influenced other countries all over the world. They were constantly thinking up new ways to get people to show support for feminism, and to make them think that if they didn’t show support they were, to say the least, “out of it.” One of the first instances of getting people to show support was the “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” in 1993, which encouraged all parents to take their daughters (not their sons) to work for a day. Feminists think it was empowering for daughters to be taken to work. Sons weren’t included in this day until 2003. Nowadays the event is federally sponsored and takes place in other countries as well. The effect of this was to make daughters value work over domesticity and, in my opinion, pitted them against men and led to a worsening of parenting and family life. Later feminists encouraged everyone to wear pink ribbons in support of breast cancer research for women (whatever happened to support for men’s prostate cancer, which is just as prevalent?).
In 2016 we had the #Me Too Movement, in which feminists made heroes of women who called out men in high positions for instances of “sexual misconduct.” Some of the accusers revealed their identities, others remained anonymous. Many of the accused, who had often done no more than make advances at a woman in a clumsy way, were punished by getting fired from their jobs, while none of the accusers were ever questioned. Indeed, they were held up as heroes who had courageously stood up for women and empowered themselves and other women. The #Me Too movement led to women and men wearing all white at an awards ceremony and white roses at another ceremony, and eventually this movement appeared in other countries. You either had to wear a white rose or be shamed.
Feminists were all solidly against President Trump when he was elected President in late 2016 and formed a “resistance” against his Presidency, as if he were from a foreign country and had taken over America through a dictatorship. If you didn’t put down Trump, you were stigmatized and could no longer be accepted in the “popular group” (i.e. the feminists and liberals). It was similar to what happened during the Nazi era in Germany; if you didn’t put down the Jews, you were considered misguided as well as stigmatized and reviled as a “Jew lover.”
The Western world and parts of the East were influenced by what was happening in America, and much of the world started following the feminist movement, which gave feminists the power to dictate the values at home and abroad. None of the millions of people who joined the feminist movement realized that they had been terrorized into becoming feminists, they had been terrorized into celebrating “Bring Your Daughter to Work Day” and had been terrorized into wearing pink ribbons and wearing white roses. They all convinced themselves that they were doing “the right thing.”
Doing the right not only meant wearing white roses, but punishing anyone who didn’t do the right thing, mocking them, smearing them, getting them fired and persecuting them in all kinds of ways. Ultimately feminism gave permission to women to treat men almost anyway they wanted and succeeded in putting a huge wedge between the genders. Ultimately they modeled rude, self-righteous and arrogant behavior and it became common to see such behavior and have it rationalized as justified by male sexism. America became a ruder and more out-of-control country. And as has often happened throughout the history of humankind, a disturbed element of a culture took over that culture.
By the start of the fourth wave, feminism had become synonymous with lesbianism (but with a front of pretty women on TV shows and in movies who still gave it a heterosexual feel). All of America and Europe were practicing lesbian values which disparaged men, sought to depict them as sexual miscreants, encouraged women not to depend on men, pressed women to become militant women who could take care of themselves and didn’t need men for anything. The new values idealized gay men while demonizing straight men.
“I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them,” noted Robin Morgan, Editor of Ms. Magazine. “The nuclear family must be destroyed… Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objective revolutionary process,” stated Linda Gordon back in the second wave. “When a woman reaches orgasm with a man she is only collaborating with the patriarchal system, erotizing her own oppression,” said Sheila Jeffreys, noted feminist writer. “I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He’s just incapable of it,” wrote Barbara Jordan, former Congresswoman. “Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is clear that the women’s movement must concentrate on attacking this institution. Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage,” stated Sheila Cronin, former leader of the National Organization of Women.”28
As I have more or less stated before, it appears that feminism has now become the bible of the Western World, and is beyond reproach. As a psychoanalyst, if I had a client who regarded himself or herself as beyond reproach, unwilling to discuss or look objectively as himself or herself, with a tendency to punish anybody who disagreed, I would diagnose that person as having some kind of personality disturbance. When I do couples therapy I try to encourage constructive communication, in which each takes responsibility for their contribution to the couple’s problems. Feminists do not take any responsibility. They no longer need to.
The Fourth Wave
Feminists are now writing about a Fourth Wave, which apparently started in about 2008. Researcher Diana Diamond defined fourth-wave feminism as a movement that “combines politics, psychology, and spirituality in an overarching vision of change”.29 This definition is vague and is idealistic. When feminists talk about feminism, they invariably speak in glowing terms and describe the leaders of feminists as heroes who dared to speak up about the inequalities between men and women.
My take on the so-called Fourth Wave is that it is an attempt to paint in pretty colors what has in fact been a brutal revolution, lasting several decades, that served the needs of an extreme and militant minority of women while becoming destructive to our culture. Any culture that favors one group (militant women) while demonizing other groups (men, conservatives, Christians, disbelievers of all types) is merely a tyranny under a different name.
If feminists continue to rule our culture, there may be a Fifth Wave and a Sixth Wave and a Seventh Wave and so on and so on. All of these waves will be described by feminists in glowing and heroic terms. Meanwhile, the objective truth of what has happened and what will keep happening has been and will continue to be obscured. Feminists have put parenting and children’s rights on a backburner and the result is that our culture has become increasingly disturbed. Our divorce rate is the highest in the civilized world. We have an opioid epidemic. We have an obesity epidemic. Mass killings are on the rise. Democrats hate Republicans and Republicans hate Democrats and divisiveness predominates our culture. Our leaders can no longer lead. We have become a virtual anarchy. I cannot help but believe that the feminist revolution is somehow connected with all these issues. Feminism has ruled with an iron fist and has modeled aggressive behavior. It has shut out the truth and is only willing to hear what it wants to hear. And without the truth, we cannot find a remedy.
The most harmful thing that feminists have done, from the beginning of the first wave, is revolt against playing what was regarded as the woman’s role throughout history—bearing and raising children. The question is, why would Betty Friedan and others think that being a slave to a company is better than staying home and being a mother? Looked at psychologically, such a woman would likely have psychological issues about being a mother, which would also suggest she has issues with attachment and intimacy. From the standpoint of society, there is nothing more important than raising healthy, well-adjusted children. The feminist derogatory view of stay-at-home mothers and emphasis on work and careers not only encourages women to compete with men, but it also de-emphasizes parenting. If feminists de-emphasize parenting and look down on women who want to be mothers, it has a negative effect on mothering and influences mothers to point their female children toward careers rather than toward raising healthy children. Hence, the older a civilization becomes, the more perverse its children are.
Hardcore feminists have no personal identity: for them the personal is political. They identify themselves as feminists first, then women, then humans. If they feel angry, their remedy is to force others to do what they want: political change. But the only real remedy that goes to the core of things is internal, not external change. Feminists are resistant to introspection and hence to psychotherapy unless it is with a feminist therapist, in which case it becomes a collusion of two people who tell each other what they want to hear and who become allies against the enemy—men. Perhaps, as Minogue says, we are a waning civilization and the decline is not in our control. A contributor to Reddit.com, Tomek77, put it this way:
Based on past history, it appears that a civilization that embraces feminist values will cease to exist in just a few centuries. This is why we have never seen a feminist civilization aside from very short spans at the end of the Roman empire and possibly a few other more ancient civilizations.30
If feminism, as Tomek77 states, appears in the waning days of a civilization, are we in fact now in the waning days of our civilization? Have we as a nation become arrogant with power, and is feminism part of this arrogance? Will we decay and will we fall? Where will the fourth wave lead us? Do feminist’s know? Do they care? Does anybody care? A friend wryly commented, “The only way the feminist steamroller can be stopped is if men start standing up to feminists. Let them rant, let them rave, let them call the usual names and make the usual guilt-trips, outrage and threats. Let them drop all the usual feminist word bombs. When they run out of energy and the men are still standing there patiently waiting, maybe then feminists will be ready to engage in a meaningful dialogue with men.”