Weaving a tapestry, compassionately: towards an understanding of young women’s feminisms

Ruth Lewis, Susan Marine

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This article challenges representations of so-called ‘third wave’ feminist politics which have over-simplified the complex, multi-faceted nature of young women’s feminism and, by relying on written accounts, have overlooked the empirical realities of ‘everyday’ feminisms. While much scholarly attention has been paid to the ‘new femininities’ – that is, how young women negotiate the contemporary gender order – as well as to the published work of relatively high-profile ‘third wave’ feminists, there are surprisingly few empirical examinations of young feminists’ politics, views and activism, despite an exciting and heartening resurgence of feminist activity in the US and UK, the countries in which this study is located. To better incorporate analysis of such activity into feminist theorizing, we argue for a three-fold approach to understanding young women’s contemporary feminisms: theoretically-informed empirical examinations of young women’s politics; a more compassionate approach that understands the political, social and cultural contexts in which feminist politics and sensibilities are (re)produced and enacted; and a consideration of feminism as a tapestry, with its history reflexively woven into its present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-140
JournalFeminist Formations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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