We should stop referring to feminist “waves”
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the way people often describe feminism as occurring in “waves” and associate certain individuals, ideologies, and issues with each period of time. Although I understand why this may be appealing, I think it is a huge limitation of the movement to periodize feminism in this way. All of the so-called waves simultaneously reveal change and growth, while expressing continuity, as pertinent issues during past waves are still relevant today. Rather than using this as a reason to separate and compartmentalize feminism, we should see this as a natural progression of any social movement.
To assume that certain periods of time were more important than others privileges a very specific definition of activism based on widespread media coverage, large protests, and major legislative changes such as the right to vote. This also implies that certain years were more important than others, when in reality feminism has been present during all of these time periods.
Feminist activism is about so much more than rallying and reforming legislation; it is also about breaking silences, finding and using your voice, raising consciousness, and surviving oppression. We should not keep dividing ourselves from others because of these arbitrary categories of time, when there is already so much standing in the way of our unity and solidarity, such as racism, cissexism, heterosexism, classism, and ableism.