4th wave of feminism: What’s wrong now?

Maram Faragallah

More stories from Maram Faragallah

A couple of months ago I was talking to a friend when the topic of feminism came up. I asked him playfully whether he was a feminist or not and he replied, “I’m not a feminist, but I believe that men and women are equal.”

“Well, congratulations, you just defined feminism,” I said.

We went into this lengthy discussion about what feminism really is. He was saying that a friend of his told him that women who falsely accuse men of rape shouldn’t be punished. As a result, he thought all feminists agree on that and decided he’s not a femenist.

A few days ago, I was telling another friend that I take women’s studies as a class. He asked me what we do and I explained that we talk about feminism and the patriarchy. His question immediately was, “Old feminism or new feminism?”

“Feminism is feminism,” I replied, “It’s equality between the sexes.”

His response was, “That’s old feminism. The new one talks about manspreading and mansplaining.”

I went into a lengthy explanation on why those things are wrong.

“It just seems like blaming men for doing something that everyone does,” he replied.

That’s where my mind stopped. On multiple occasions, I have met men who through actions, not words, have proven to respect women and find them on the same basis as them. What was the problem? Why couldn’t we get those men, who clearly aren’t sexist, on board?

So far, there have been four waves of feminism, and all have been attacked in their own ways. The first wave was women’s voting rights. It was attacked by both sexes saying that women shouldn’t vote. The second was in the 60s. It was mainly middle class white women and excluded other races and religions. The third wave was deemed too “man-hating” and “angry.” The fourth one focuses on intersectionality and equality. So what’s wrong now?

I always asked myself, “what is the feminism movement doing wrong?” Because when I say equality, almost everyone is on board, but when I say “feminism,” brains start flying and attacks are being thrown for it being too “man-hating,” too “angry,” or blaming men for things they didn’t do under the notion of sexism.

Feminism has been attacked through all its waves. Although it has developed so much since it started, there are still people complaining. So let me ask again, in this fourth wave of feminism, what’s wrong now?