Publications – Two articles on Third Wave Feminism

Title: Who’s Afraid of Third Wave Feminism?

Author: Jonathan Dean

Journal: International Feminist Journal of Politics

Abstract: This article addresses some issues related to the question of the ‘third wave’ within contemporary British feminism, situating British debates within an international context. My argument is that existing accounts of third wave feminism treat it either in terms of what the term means to the author, or it is treated as a coherent and easily recognizable movement or set of positions within contemporary feminism. By contrast, I adopt an approach drawn from poststructuralist discourse theory which emphasizes the diverse and overlapping ways in which the notion of a ‘third wave’ is appropriated by academics and activists alike. From this theoretical base, I trace two different conceptions of the ‘third wave’ – one referring to a poststructuralist and postcolonial critique of the second wave – and another referring to a specific generational cohort of young feminists. I argue that the latter conception has become dominant in the contemporary British context and to a lesser extent elsewhere. The second half of the article develops a critique of the ‘generational paradigm’ of third wave feminism, drawing on interviews with activists and postcolonial academic perspectives.

Title: What’s Political about the New Feminisms?

Author: Carisa R. Showden

Journal: Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies

Abstract: The “new feminisms”: postfeminism, power feminism, third-wave feminism, do-me feminism, libertarian feminism, babe feminism, I’m not a feminist, but . . . “feminism.” In this article, I examine these “new feminisms” to argue that they are not simply part of a backlash against feminism but are instead, in many cases, part of an ongoing contest over the meaning of feminism. Critical commentary on new feminisms has often accused this work of conflating consumerism with political action, personal change with political change, and cultural and cosmetic accommodations with economic and political restructuring. While not entirely unfounded, these criticisms undervalue the real contributions some recent feminisms are making to social liberation movements, because these contributions do not easily fit into more familiar models of feminist politics. Rather than dismissing all the new feminisms as media hype or conservative backlash, I prefer to subject them to careful interrogation, not least because in addition to influencing some feminist work in the academy, they have had a far-ranging influence in the political, economic, and cultural spheres.

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