I would like to take this moment to formally welcome you to fourth wave feminism.
Like many young people, my introduction to feminism came from the internet. The zines of the 90s transformed into the blogs of the 21st century and, by doing so, feminism expanded its reach to a larger audience than ever before.
The internet allows us to interact with feminists across the world. Before the internet, we may have only talked with other feminists in our city, but now I can reach out to feminists on the other side of the globe.
With this new technology, we have gained new knowledge. We are able to hear other points of view and understand where feminism failed many in the past.
Today’s feminism more readily addresses intersectionality. As a white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, middle class woman, I understand that I have privileges many people do not. I also know that society tries to hide this information. My experiences and the experiences of most people like me are so normalized that we forget they even exist.
I’m just as guilty as the next white person of forgetting the ways my race positively influences my life. I’m as guilty as the next able-bodied person of forgetting how difficult it must be to navigate campus in a wheelchair.
As participants in society, we all exist within circles of privilege. On some level, most of us are oppressors and most of us are oppressed.
Fourth wave feminism is more trans-inclusive than any other wave. “Support your sisters, not just cisters” is a common cry of action. Fourth-wavers recognize that not all women have vaginas. I know that as a woman, I have less privilege than a man, but as a cisgender woman, I have more privilege than a transgender woman.
Although I encounter sexism, I do not face anywhere near the same level of oppression as a transgender woman. Fourth wave feminism forces me to recognize that.
Even though the fourth wave shows us our privilege, it does not want us to be someone else’s knight. It is not my place to save you from society, but I can empower you to save yourself.
Our intersectionalities cause us to experience life differently, but we are all people who deserve to live without oppression and prejudice.
Welcome to the fourth wave.