This essay asks: If current third-wave controversy continues to reify oppositions between the second and third waves of feminism, largely based on caricatures, or "straw feminisms," how can the grrrls and women who occupy the space of a "third-wave political moment," or a "third-wave feminist consciousness," accomplish the formidable tasks of feminisms? By addressing the primacy and pitfalls of dominant generational rhetoric and applying an alternative Kristevan framework, this piece examines the potentiality entailed in such a moment and challenges the limits of existing debates.
Both the concepts of "generation" and "wave" reinscribe heteronormative principles in their assertion of both hegemonic familial structures and a heterosexist narrative of reproduction. Further, the unidirectional, linear (masculinist) logic of cause-effect narratives creates a sense of perpetual debt to the past. The dangers surrounding the use of a generational model of feminist intellectual exchange may suggest that it is reasonable, or even necessary, to cast aside such paradigmatic attachments. However, this essay suggests that by replacing the prevailing tripartite model with the schematic of feminist struggle outlined by Julia Kristeva in her classic essay, "Women's Time," we can avoid some of the pitfalls of generational thinking and transform unproductive anxieties and closed debates into careful, open, and productive intergenerational dialogue.