• The Feminist Times

Flowing in the Waves of Feminists: The Periodic Table of Feminism by Marisa Bate



Whenever Feminism is debated, I come across various intersectional women who straightaway disassociate themselves with the original fighters of Feminism, specifically, the white feminists. They say how the Feminists who started the struggle for emancipation have “failed” and did not consider the other sections. I agree to this but being a Literature student, when I first read about the three Waves of Feminism and how the second learned from the flaws of first and the third from second’s, and thereon, I actually felt proud of the First Wave Feminists around the world who questioned the male-dominance and led Suffrage Movement successfully. I do not say that intersectionality of Feminism should not be there, it should be, but one must not forget and demean the women who initiated the struggle and because of whom we are enjoying certain rights today.


Two years ago, a book took Bookstores and Social Media by storm when it was released. The book is The Periodic Table of Feminism by Marisa Bate. This book is the encyclopaedia for Feminists who want to know about women from all over the world who have been part of the four waves of Feminism and have contributed extensively. You name any influential woman and you will find her here, you name any cause for women’s rights, you will find it here. This book has introduced me to a plethora of women who were not just writers or theorists but activists, singers, actors, artists and what not! But among all, they were women who wanted to be recognized and who wanted to see other women stand erect.


Every woman mentioned here have made a difference and brought out changes which today we are enjoying. Say, if the women had not initiated the Suffrage Movement for voting rights, have we been able to vote today? Yes, I am aware of the argumentative fact that the Suffrage was led by ‘white women’ and completely disregarded the Black women in America. But this first step encouraged Blacks of America to fight for their rights as well. The first step is always important to bring light to a buried issue. I have read essays by almost all the major women from all the four waves and have read how the successors questioned the predecessors, which is right in a way, but ruthless too on their part. When I started reading the segregated achievements of women in The Periodic Table of Feminism, I could understand how individual rebellion was of utmost importance.


The feminist movement needs to be endured and this is probably the reason why Bate chose to include a Fourth Wave of Feminism with contemporary field workers; only to show how the fourth generation is still succeeding the legacy in the internet world.



- Aayushi



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