I still think 2nd wave is less fucked than 3rd and 4th. At least you can revise and critique 2nd wave… 3rd/4th is too fundamentally absurd, not to mention reactionary, for critique. IN MY EVER SO HUMBLE OPINION.
I do not think that any wave or more or less fundamentally fucked up. Everything needs to be understood in it’s rightful historical context though. Second wave feminists presented us with a foundational understanding of gender as an operating force; it is from these books, articles, conferences that new ideas & critiques emerged and feminism as a whole was forced to challenge push itself. None of this exists in a vacuum, you know?
I do think it’s true though that way too much of fourth wave is absurdly reactionary, aimed solely at distancing itself from any / all contributions of older feminists. In the process, it winds up dismissing really valid contributions that older feminists made simply because those people did not share the same cultural references & actually re-affirming some really misogynistic positions.
As a “wave,” we are particularly reactionary when it comes to removing oneself from anything that can even begin to mimic essentialist feminist theory. Obviously, there is a lot that is problematic about essentialist thought and, without going into much detail, let’s just say that I’ve witnessed the violence that ensues when you equate biology to destiny first hand. I even went as far as to actually get massive anti-essentialist tattoo on my back a few months ago. But we have to understand that back in the 70’s, when abortion was illegal, there were no domestic violence shelters, sexual harassment was not a thing, there was value in talking about “collective female experiences” & using the monolithic category of “woman” as shorthand. “Woman” allowed individuals with similar (albeit not identical) experiences to work together in affinity with one another. The political myth of “us” motivated enough people to enlist in collectivity so that critiques of gender as something that is forced upon us by patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism were then able to emerge from the people who felt “othered” by feminist spaces.
It’s noteworthy how “queer” today is applied for similar reasons as “woman” was in the past - to unify people through coalition & affinity. The difference with “queer” is that it is presented as a being a completely ubiquitous category. “Queer” however has so few boundaries that it has actually become yet another monolith. It falls into way too many of the traps of “woman” - some identities are erased, others are posited to the front etc. etc.
Let’s not even go into how the blanket dismissal of anything / everything “second wave” without even dropping names or references has become yet another culturally acceptable PC way to thinly disguise yr misogyny.