A fellow blogger tinceiri has left the following definition of third-wave feminism in the comment section of one of my recent posts:
Let me explain what third-wave feminism is about:Everything listed here, of course, sounds fantastic. What kind of a maniac could be opposed to these great things?
* Against Ableism
* Against Classism
* Against Ethnocentrism or Western-centrism
* Against Homo-/bi-/queerphobia or Heterosexism
* Against Racism
* Against Sexism or Misogyny
* Against Transphobia or CISsexism
* Against Religious Bashing
* Honoring Bodily Autonomy
* Supporting Sex Workers
* Anti-Biological Essentialism
Unfortunately, the excellent intentions of third-wave feminists are completely undermined by the statement (from the same blogger I quoted before) that "third-wave feminism respects the choices of everyone." After a very short discussion, it always comes out that these feminists do not really support any kind of choice on the part of everybody. People who abuse others, racists, chauvinists, ableists, and xenophobes make all kinds of vile choices, and obviously third-wave feminists do not support those choices.
The question arises, then, if you do not in reality respect everybody's choices, why say you do? Why take up as your movement's motto something which is so patently untrue? My explanation is that when these feminists say they "respect the choices of everyone", what they are actually trying to say is that they do not want any of their choices to be questioned. Gaining rights always entails gaining responsibilities, and it is precisely the burden of extra responsibility that these feminists do not want. They want to exist in this comfortable reality where personal is not political, it is just a matter of choice. They want to preserve the right to live in a decidedly non-feminist way and still call themselves feminists. This discussion, for example, was one of the perfect examples of wanting to have your cake and eat it too.
Third-wave feminism is, in my opinion, a brand of feminism that has no future. Unless we accept that having the rights of a valid and complete human being implies having the responsibilities of a valid and complete human being, our struggle for equality is meaningless.