Forty years after the Second Wave feminist movement took the western world by storm, this excerpt from the UK daily newspaper The Independent, embodies common perceptions of feminism’s legacy. Rather than being celebrated like other social movements of the twentieth century (Civil Rights, gay liberation, the environmental movement), feminism has been turned into a ‘dirty word’ — a euphemism for the old, unattractive, unfeminine and unkempt, which, unsurprisingly, many avidly disavow. Yet, at the same time, it is common to support feminist goals such as equal rights, through the phrase ‘I’m not a feminist, but ...’. As a young woman growing up in this supposedly ‘post’ feminist era — a time when feminism is considered unnecessary or dead — such constructions raise questions not only about why feminism is held in such contempt, but whether this has always been the case. Has there ever been a time when feminists were celebrated in the news, and, if so, what ideologies were used in such accounts? Finally, to what extent are discourses of feminism localized, or do they transcend national boundaries in areas experiencing feminism in similar ‘waves’?
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- Palgrave Macmillan UK