Topic 5 Ruptures and prospects: Fourth wave?

The question posed is whether 21st century feminism can be described by a coherent definition. According to Cameron (2020), the feminist movement has never been unified in terms of its ideas or political goals, and the same is true now. However, what is different today is that a form of cohesion is imposed on it by external factors, as for political reasons, the situation of women is getting more difficult.

Indeed, the situation of women seems to have worsened even in Western societies since the 2008 financial crisis. Austerity programs implemented by many governments and a new form of right-wing authoritarianism have played a decisive role in this. Thus, in many countries setbacks have been observed, such as the fact that Turkey decided to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention .

Moreover, a key feature of this period is the particular interest in gender identity and its diversity, which leads to a questioning of the traditional role of the feminist movement as a women’s movement. Young feminists view the feminist movement not as a movement that seeks to end the oppression of women but as a movement that seeks to liberate all people from the bipolar gender system that produces the categories of “woman” and “man.” In this context, each subject is free to define their social gender as they wish . According to this conception, gender will refer to “a set of behaviours that expresses a person’s personality or something like that” (Cameron, p.182).

Αn important issue that concerns the feminist movement today is the connection of feminism “as an identity” with fashion, its commercialisation and consumerism, but also the image of the modern woman as a dynamic woman who pays special attention to her appearance (Cameron, 2020, pp. 187-188).

Discussing this issue, Cameron (2020) emphasises that it is important to always think that women make decisions about their appearance, influenced by the context of their socialisation but are also aware of their practices as an attempt to comply or not with the prevailing beauty standards.

Notwithstanding the fact that there were and still are differences and frequent conflicts within the feminist movement, which today faces great challenges, Cameron (2020, p. 190) adopts the view of many ordinary women active within the feminist movement: “Feminism evokes optimism. It gives you the opportunity to create change” and as she points out, although feminism will continue to meet resistance in some circles,” the radical notion that women are human has come to stay: it will never leave us.”

It is suggested that you watch the digital discussion “8 Women Discuss: Patriarchy, Sexism, and Gender-Based. Violence in Greek-Society” in Onassis Channel on YouΤube.