The Changing Color of Feminism: Haunani-Kay Trask and a Multi-Cultural Perspective

Plagued with a history of division, confusion, and radicalism, the feminist movement, specifically in the US, is fractured. Some academics purport that a return to the notion of embodied politics is insufficient and juvenile, claiming that the contemporary feminism, or the third wave, is ignorant of its historical predecessors. This claim is valid to some extent, for the majority of conflict present in second-wave feminism ofthe 1960's and 1970's stems from its narrow parameters. Mainly a white middle-class endeavor, the focus of the second wave, whether intentional or not, failed to address issues of a broader scope. This discussion identifies one aspect of third wave feminism, multicultural feminism, as a necessary evolution as women of color challenge the limitations of traditional feminism. For practical application of a multicultural feminist theory I will be looking at the life and works ofHaunani-Kay Trask, a Hawaiian Native and activist as well as a feminist. Trask's life and work demonstrate the necessary evolution of feminism into a multicultural perspective. A look inside the Hawaiian traditions and Trask's feminist approach to Hawaiian sovereignty reveals how the two systems, feminism and sovereignty, coalesce and provide a model for a global feminist ideal, materializing in a new multicultural feminist perspective.