From French féminisme circa 1837, ultimately from Latin fēminīnus, from fēmina (“woman”). First recorded in English in 1851, originally meaning "the state of being feminine." Sense of "advocacy of women's rights" is from 1895.
- (dated) The state of being feminine. [from 1851; less common after 1895]
- A social theory or political movement arguing that legal and social restrictions on females must be removed in order to bring about equality of both sexes in all aspects of public and private life.
1996, Jan Jindy Pettman, Worlding Women: A feminist international politics, page ix-x:
- There are by now many feminisms (Tong, 1989; Humm, 1992). Alongside and often overlapping with older-identified distinctions between liberal, socialist, radical and cultural feminisms, for example (important as they are in their different accounts of sexual difference and gender power), are variously named black, third-world ethnic-minority feminisms, themselves far from homogenous.
- first-wave feminism
- fourth-wave feminism
- second-wave feminism
- third-wave feminism