By: Athena Brown
4th Wave Feminism has three goals. This distinguishes it from egalitarianism.
First, much like the NAACP, it can work as a special interest group for women’s issues. There’s lots of very helpful things 4th Wavers can do in that regard. Second, we refute the misinformation put out by the 3rd Wave, and try to repair the animosity caused between genders with public awareness and other measures. The most distinguishing feature that sets them apart is that 3rd Wave is Faith Based, while 4th Wave is Evidence Based! 4th Wave has evidence backing it’s observations, while 3rd Wave relies on narratives. Third, other countries desperately need the improved quality of life that is strongly associated with gender equality. Later, when we have the ability to do so, we could advocate for women in countries who are being *actually* oppressed (being stoned to death is just a slightly bigger deal than being told to smile on the subway).
The practical applications of making equality the focus is demonstrated by a number of examples.
A woman who expresses sexual interests should not be “slut shamed”, but a man who does the same thing should not be called a “pervert”. By acknowledging only one side, we come off as disingenuous. This is not “equal”.
Women are judged by their looks – but a woman who doesn’t fit the ideal should not be “fat shamed”. Men are judged by their achievements – but a man who doesn’t earn a 6 income salary is not a “bum”. My girlfriends shouldn’t be gathering around to tell me I can “do better” when because doesn’t earn enough – the same exact way dudes shouldn’t be telling him that he can do better because I’m not a size 6. (Though personally, I would argue that it’s easier for me to fit into a size 6 than it is for him to earn over 100,000 a year.)
If a woman wants to join the military, she needs to fill the exact same requirements that a man does. No special treatment, no privileges. I specialized in biomechanics for 10 years. There is no reason why a woman can’t do the same number of pushups and pull ups that are required of men. Being given a free pass on a fitness test is a privilege. Equality means “both sides are equal” – equal in privileges, and equal in responsibilities to earn those privileges.
If we want to build a movement with effective public relations, with a foundation of transparency and trust, then we need to acknowledge all societal judgments that are unfair, that all groups have them, and that everyone may participate in making these judgments from time to time, regardless of how much money they do or don’t have, what colour their skin is, or whether or not they have a penis.
In her book, “When God Was A Woman”, Merlin Stone investigates earlier religions that worshiped a female deity rather than a male deity. She states that the intention of her book is that it “may lead to a better understanding, cooperation, and mutual respect between men and women”. This statement is very typical of a 2nd Waver, and personally I find this to be a fantastic attitude. Mutual respect. Not demanding that men start respecting women, as if no woman is ever respected, or that respect isn’t a two way street.