The 3rd WWWave: What's all this, then?
by Sidra M. S. Vitale
You know what? I didn't study feminism in school.
Not elementary school, not high school and not college.
How can I say what a 3rd Wave feminist is supposed to be, in comparison
to this mythic 2nd Wave I know next to nothing about?
All I can say is what I am, and that I consider myself a
feminist, fighting for a moral, ethical and legal system where women
have the same opportunities and rights as those other human
Those men people.
I want to live in a world where my not having children doesn't
Geez, I know plenty of parents who apparently aren't adults. So,
there's something wrong with that criteria, if having kids is supposed
to to hit you with the adulthood stick.
- Feeling sorry for me
- Feeling I'm not an adult
- Trying to set me up with 'some nice man who'll take care of me'
I want to live in a world where my having children doesn't
I want to work in a world where my second X chromosome does not
mean to a male executive or guest to the company that I
- Assuming I don't, or didn't, want a career
- Looking down at me for betraying the cause and giving into the
pressures of the patriarchy
- Or, telling me I've achieved my destiny and fulfilled my God-given
biological role as nurturer, care-giver and mother. How happy I must
You know, I quit my last job for many reasons. True, I wasn't working
in my field (I have a technical degree). But you'd be amazed how the
problem-solving techniques from physics carry over into corporate
America. So, yes, I wasn't planning on working there forever.
- am some form of secretary
- do work requiring little intellectual ability that can be done by
any other woman with little or no training.
But what self-respecting human being wants to work for someone
who thinks they are nothing? Not me. I left.
And if you won't treat me properly, then guess what? I won't
give you the benefit of my problem-solving skills, my years of
experience, or my specialized training. I'll find an employer who
will do those things, and I'll fight anyone who looks at me
and assumes I'm the office secretary, assumes I don't know what I'm
doing, assumes I am not as good as a man. A good idea is a good idea,
regardless of who it comes from.
- I expect to be recognized for doing a good job, just like a
- I expect to be respected for my years of experience, specialized
training and expertise, just like a man
- I expect to be listened to, my ideas taken seriously, my reports
read and responded to, my needs as a manager addressed, just like a
- I expect to be well-paid for the work I do, just like a man
I want to go home in a world where I don't have to wonder about
getting raped, or killed, in the parking lot. I want to drink in a pub
where "no" means "no", not "yes, but you'll have to work for it".
I want a decent paycheck, a decent home, and decent protection under
the law, just like a man. I want my creature comforts and
- I want judges whose injunctions against stalkers stick
- I want a legal system where I didn't lead him on by
wearing something provocative
And, by gum, if you won't help, then you'd better get out of the way.
If you want to yell and say I'm not a feminist, that I've got it all
wrong, that I have to do it your way, go yell somewhere else, because
I've got work to do. Because you brought me up to believe that I
can change the world, that I can make a difference.
I'm not into protests, I'm not into sit-ins, your doing that created the
chances to do what I'm doing right now. We're the next logical step
forward, not the same one over again. We're the next wave.
Copyright 1997 by Sidra M. S. Vitale