Feminism in a Nutshell

fem3Are You A Feminist?

Let’s Begin With The Definitions of
Feminism and Feminist

  •  fem•i•nism – nounfem13
    : the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
    : organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests
  •  fem•i•nist –
    adjective: advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.
    noun: an advocate of such rights.

The terminology is rather historical: Charles Fourier, a Utopian Socialist and French philosopher, is credited with having coined the word “feminism” in 1837. The words “feminism” and “feminist” first appeared in Great Britain in the 1890s and the United States in 1910.


The Waves of Feminism

The history of western feminist movement is divided into three “waves”. Each wave dealt with different aspects of the same feminist issues. The first wave comprised women’s suffrage movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, promoting women’s right to vote. The second wave was associated with the ideas and actions of the women’s liberation movement beginning in the 1960s. The second wave campaigned for legal and social equality for women. The third wave, beginning in the 1990s, is a continuation of, and a reaction to, the perceived failures of second-wave feminism.

First-Wave Feminism began in the United States in 1848 under the leadership of fem6Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, N.Y. In 1850, the National Women’s Rights Convention was held, led by Lucy Stone, an early activist. Both groups merged in the formation (1863) of the Women’s National Loyal League, led by Susan B. Anthony. In 1878, a proposed right-to-vote amendment to the Constitution was written and submitted. Interesting note, these women were influenced by the Quaker theology of spiritual equality, which asserts that men and women are equal under God.

The women’s suffrage movement experienced a resurgence that dovetailed with the growing antiwar movement. As four million young men were drafted to serve fem8in U.S. troops in World War I, women took over many jobs traditionally held by men. The result: finally, almost 72 years after Seneca Falls, the U.S. government ratified the Nineteenth Amendment. The first-wave feminism ended with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1919), granting women the right to vote in all states.

fem17Second-Wave Feminism began in the early 1960s. Second-wave feminists viewed women’s cultural, social and political inequalities as inextricably linked. Women were encouraged to understand aspects of their personal lives as deeply politicized and as reflecting sexist power structures. This wave was largely concerned with issues of equality such as equal pay, reproductive rights, legal rights and ending discrimination.
The 1980s were a depressing period for the American feminist movement. The fem4Equal Rights Amendment was dead. The conservative and hyper-masculine rhetoric of the Reagan years dominated national discourse. The Supreme Court began to drift incrementally to the right on important women’s rights issues. And an aging generation of predominantly white, upper-class activists largely failed to address issues impacting women of color, low-income women, and women living outside of the United States.

Third-Wave Feminism began in the early 1990s as a response to fem11perceived failures of the second wave and to the backlash against initiatives and movements created by the second wave. In fact, in 1993, feminist author Rebecca Walker–herself young, Southern, African-American, Jewish, and bisexual–coined the term “third-wave feminism” to describe a new generation of young feminists working to create a more inclusive and comprehensive movement. Third-wave feminism distinguished itself from the second wave around issues of sexuality, challenging female heterosexuality and celebrating sexuality as a means of female empowerment. It also seeked to challenge or avoid the second wave’s over-emphasis of upper middle-class white women.

Visible Progress Made:fem19

When NOW (National Organization for Women) organized a March for Women’s Lives in 1992, Roe v Wade was in danger. The March on DC took place on April 5th and had 750,000 present.

fem18When a second March for Women’s Lives was organized in 2004, it was led by a broader coalition that included LGBT rights groups and groups specifically focusing on the needs of immigrant women, indigenous women, and women of color. The turnout, 1.4 million, set a DC protest record–and showed the power of the new, more comprehensive women’s movement.

fem7Ultimately, the ongoing analyses and activism of feminists and including all factions – women of color, lesbian feminists, radical feminists, and young women from all backgrounds – raised the expectations of equality. In addition, the inclusiveness broadened the contemporary women’s liberation movement, strengthening it as it moved into the 21st century and a “new wave.”


If one calls oneself a feminist, does this necessarily make it so?  NO. Possessing a conscience of equality and human rights for all “IS” a requirement. Feminism is not just a label: it is a way of life.


If you are interested in finding out more about the Women’s Rights Movement and Progress, the NOW (National Organization for Women) San Antonio Area Chapter is meeting on Wednesday, May 21st, 6:30pm, at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, 922 San Pedro Ave.

Become Informed, Get Involved and Be a Feminist!

Random Historical Events ~ May 14th – 20th

May 14

  • 1787 – Delegates gather in Philadelphia to draw up US Constitution
  • 1796 – The first vaccination against smallpox was administered by English doctor Edward Jenner
  • 1804 – Lewis & Clark’s expedition began from St. Louis for the Pacific Coast
  • 1853 – Gail Borden patents her process for condensed milk
  • 1878 – Vaseline is first sold (registered trademark for petroleum jelly)
  • 1904 – The first Olympic Games were held in the United States in St. Louis
  • 1908 – 1st passenger flight in an airplane
  • 1918 – Sunday baseball is made legal in Washington, DC
  • 1921 – Florence Allen is 1st woman judge to sentence a man to death
  • 1942 – US Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) forms
  • 1949 – Harry Truman signs bill establishing a rocket test range at Cape Canaveral
  • 1961 – Bus with 1st group of Freedom Riders bombed & burned in Alabama
  • 1969 – Last Chevrolet Corsair built
  • 1973 – Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In last airs on NBC-TV
  • 1973 – Skylab launched, 1st Space Station
  • 1973 – US Supreme Court approves equal rights to females in military
  • 1980 – Department of Health & Human Services begins operation
  • 1986 – Institute for War documents publishes Anne Frank’s complete diary
  • 1989 – Final TV episode of “Family Ties” airs
  • 1991 – Robert M Gates becomes head of CIA
  • 1991 – World’s Largest Burrito created at 1,126 lbs.
  • 1991 – Winnie Mandela sentenced to 6 years for complicity in kidnapping and beating of four youths, one of whom died.  She is freed pending appeal
  • 1998 – Last episode of Seinfeld on NBC (commercials are $2M for 30 seconds)
  • 2012 – Stanford University scientists develop prototype bionic eye
  • 2013 – Brazil becomes the 15th country to legalize same-sex marriage

May 15

  • 1817 – Opening of the first private mental health hospital in the United States, the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason (now Friends Hospital) in Philadelphia
  • 1829 – Joseph Smith ordained by John the Baptist, according to Joseph Smith
  • 1869 – National Woman Suffrage Association forms
  • 1905 – Las Vegas, Nevada founded
  • 1911 – Supreme Court dissolves Standard Oil (Sherman Antitrust Act)
  • 1915 – A T & T becomes 1st corporation to have 1 million stockholders
  • 1918 – 1st airmail postal service (New York City, Philadelphia & Washington DC)
  • 1928 – Mickey Mouse made his 1st appearance in “Plane Crazy”
  • 1930 – Ellen Church becomes 1st airline stewardess, United (San Francisco to Cheyenne)
  • 1934 – Department of Justice offers $25,000 reward for Dillinger, dead or alive
  • 1940 – McDonald’s opens its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California
  • 1944 – Eisenhower, Montgomery, Churchill & George VI discuss D-Day plan
  • 1945 – World War II: The final skirmish in Europe is fought near Prevalje, Slovenia
  • 1947 – The Truman Doctrine was approved
  • 1967 – Paul McCartney meets his future wife Linda Eastman
  • 1970 – Elizabeth Hoisington & Anna Mae Mays named 1st female US Generals
  • 1972 – Alabama Governor George Wallace was shot and wounded in Laurel, Maryland
  • 1993 – Alamodome in San Antonio opens
  • 2008 – California becomes the second U.S. state after Massachusetts in 2004 to legalize same-sex marriage after the state’s own Supreme Court rules a previous ban unconstitutional
  • 2010 – Jessica Watson becomes the youngest person to sail, non-stop and unassisted around the world solo

May 16

  • 1817 – Mississippi River steamboat service begins
  • 1860 – Chicago: Republican convention selects Abraham Lincoln candidate
  • 1861 – Twiggs Surrender in San Antonio during US Civil War
  • 1861 – Confederate government offers war volunteers $10 premium
  • 1861 – Kentucky proclaims its neutrality
  • 1866 – Charles Elmer Hires invents root beer
  • 1866 – Congress authorizes the nickel 5 cent piece (replaces silver half-dime)
  • 1868 – By one vote, Senate fails to impeach President Andrew Johnson
  • 1891 – George A Hormel & Co introduce Spam
  • 1894 – Fire in Boston destroys baseball stadium & 170 other buildings
  • 1918 – The Sedition Act of 1918 is passed by the U.S. Congress, making criticism of the government an imprisonable offense
  • 1927 – Supreme Court ruled bootleggers must pay income tax
  • 1929 – The first Academy Awards were held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
  • 1946 – Annie Get Your Gun opened on Broadway starring Ethel Merman
  • 1948 – Chaim Weizmann elected 1st President of Israel
  • 1963 – Astronaut Cooper orbited the Earth 22 times
  • 1965 – The Campbell Soup Company introduces Spaghetti-O’s under its Franco-American brand
  • 1966 – Beach Boys’ “Pets Sounds” is released
  • 1971 – 1st class postage now costs 8 cents (was 6 cents)
  • 1981 – “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes hits #1 for next 9 weeks
  • 1985 – Michael Jordan named NBA Rookie of Year
  • 1986 – “Top Gun,” movie premieres
  • 1986 – Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) comes back from dead on Dallas
  • 1988 – Surgeon General C Everett Koop reports nicotine as addictive as heroin
  • 2013 – Human stem cells are successfully cloned

May 17

  • 1792 – The New York Stock Exchange was established
  • 1792 – 24 merchants form NY Stock Exchange at 70 Wall Street
  • 1803 – John Hawkins & Richard French patent the Reaping Machine
  • 1875 – The first Kentucky Derby was held; the winner was “Aristides”
  • 1881 – Revised version of New Testament
  • 1883 – Buffalo Bill Cody’s 1st Wild West Show premieres in Omaha
  • 1884 – Alaska becomes a US territory
  • 1932 – Congress changes name “Porto Rico” to “Puerto Rico”
  • 1946 – President Harry Truman seizes control of nation’s railroads to delay a strike
  • 1954 – Supreme Court unanimously rules on Brown v Topeka Board of Education reversed 1896 “separate but equal” Plessy vs Ferguson decision
  • 1961 – Castro offers to exchange Bay of Pigs prisoners for 500 bulldozers
  • 1971 – Washington State bans sex discrimination
  • 1971 – Godspell opened on Broadway
  • 1973 – The Senate opened its hearings into the Watergate scandal
  • 1973 – Stevie Wonder releases “You are the Sunshine of my Love”
  • 1990 – World Health Organization takes Homosexuality out of its list of mental illnesses
  • 2004 – Massachusetts becomes the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage

May 18

  • 1631 – English colony Massachusetts Bay grants Puritans voting right
  • 1631 – John Winthrop is elected 1st governor of Massachusetts
  • 1642 – Montreal Canada founded
  • 1652 – Rhode Island enacts 1st law declaring slavery illegal
  • 1804 – The French Senate proclaimed Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor
  • 1917 – US Legislature passes Selective Service Act
  • 1926 – Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished in Venice, California. She showed up a month later and said she had been kidnapped
  • 1933 – The Tennessee Valley Authority was created
  • 1934 – Academy Award 1st called Oscar in print
  • 1934 – Congress approves “Lindbergh Act,” making kidnapping a capital offense
  • 1934 – TWA began commercial service
  • 1951 – UN moves HQ to NYC
  • 1953 – 1st woman to break sound barrier (Jacqueline Cochrane, USA)
  • 1970 – The Beatles US Album, “Let It Be,” was released
  • 1980 – Mt. St. Helen’s volcano in Washington State erupted
  • 1982 – Unification Church founder Rev Sun Myung Moon convicted of tax evasion
  • 1983 – Senate revises immigration laws, gives millions of illegal aliens legal status under an amnesty program

 May 19

  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England’s King Henry VIII was beheaded
  • 1643 – Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut & New Harbor form United Colonies of New England
  • 1848 – 1st department store opens
  • 1848 – Mexico gives Texas to US, ending the war
  • 1862 – Homestead Act becomes law provides cheap land for settlement of West
  • 1884 – Ringling Brothers circus premieres
  • 1891 – Rice Institute, which became Rice University, is chartered
  • 1892 – Charles Brady King invents pneumatic hammer
  • 1892 – National Society of Colonial Dames of America founded
  • 1898 – Post Office authorizes use of postcards
  • 1906 – Federated Boys’ Club (Boys’ Club of America) organizes
  • 1964 – US diplomats find at least 40 secret microphones in Moscow embassy
  • 1967 – US bombs Hanoi
  • 1977 – “Smokey & the Bandit,” premieres
  • 1979 – “In The Navy” by Village People hits #3
  • 1982 – Sophia Loren jailed in Naples for tax evasion
  • 1989 – Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) last appearance on Dallas
  • 1992 – Amy Fisher shoots Mary Jo Buttafuoco in Massapequa Long Island
  • 1992 – VP Dan Quayle attacks Murphy Brown for being a single mother and as a poor example of family values
  • 1994 – Final Episode of LA Law after 8 year run
  • 1994 – First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died

May 20

  • 1506 – Christopher Columbus died in poverty in Spain
  • 1830 – The first railroad timetable was published in the newspaper the Baltimore American
  • 1861 – North Carolina becomes 11th and last state to secede from Union
  • 1873 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patent first blue jeans with copper rivets
  • 1927 – Charles Lindbergh began his historic solo flight
  • 1930 – University of California dedicates $1,500 to research on prevention and cure of athlete’s foot
  • 1932 – Amelia Earhart leaves Newfoundland 1st woman to fly solo across Atlantic
  • 1942 – US Navy 1st permitted black recruits to serve
  • 1944 – US Communist Party dissolves
  • 1961 – White mob attacks “Freedom Riders” in Montgomery, Alabama
  • 1969 – US troop capture Hill 937/Hamburger Hill Vietnam
  • 1979 – 1st western pop star to tour USSR-Elton John
  • 1995 – CBS News fires co-anchor Connie Chung

LOL  is  Thursday  at  Tycoon  Flats on N. St. Mary’s!  Come Enjoy Food, LOLDrinks, Music and Dancing! Celebrate!!!


You Matter and What You Do Matters!


Have a Phenomenal Week!
Gayl Newton


What Are You Waiting For…Get On With It!