New British feminisms, UK Feminista and young women’s activism

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Charles, Nickie ; Wadia, Khursheed (2018)

In recent years there has been a resurgence of feminist activism in the UK with young women becoming increasingly interested in feminist ideas as a means of making sense of their lives. This is accompanied by claims from media commentators that we are witnessing a third or even fourth wave of feminism, and debates within feminist theory over the meaning of the wave metaphor and whether it is helpful in understanding the temporality of feminist activism. In this paper we engage with this debate, suggesting that our understanding of waves and how they are amplified could benefit from an analysis of feminist activism which draws on concepts borrowed from social movement theory. In order to do this we examine the renaissance of feminist activism through the example of one of the most active and publicly visible organisations in the UK, UK Feminista. Drawing on ethnographic research into young women’s feminist activism we explore the role of UK Feminista in mobilising young women, focussing particularly on the role of the Internet in young women’s engagement with feminism, the forms of activism in which they take part, and the importance of feminist cultural memory to the construction of a collective feminist identity. We begin with a consideration of the wave metaphor and its relation to the idea of cycles of protest.
  • References (2)

    Aune, K and Holyoak, R (this issue) Navigating the third wave: Contemporary UK feminist activists and 'third-wave feminism'. Feminist Theory Bagguley P (2002) Contemporary British feminism: a social movement in abeyance. Social Movement Studies 1(2): 169-185.

    Snow DA and Benford, R (1992) Master frames and cycles of protest. In: Morris A and Mueller CM (eds) Frontiers in Social Movement Theory. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp.133- 155.

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