What Makes a (Third) Wave? How and why the third-wave narrative works for contemporary feminists

Elizabeth Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
1779 Downloads (Pure)


The wave narrative has come to frame academic and popular discussions of western feminist activism. Yet there are overlapping and contradictory ways of interpreting “third-wave feminism,” which has resulted in much confusion surrounding its use and relevancy within western feminist praxis. Hence the need for a greater understanding of the term “third-wave feminism.” This article sets out a framework for understanding third-wave feminism, highlighting the importance of political context. The article, drawing upon interview data generated with activists in the USA and the UK, argues that while chronology is the most prevalent way in which feminist activists interpret third-wave feminism, many also cite age and intersectionality as indicators of third-wave feminism. Moreover, differing interpretations influence the extent to which it is seen as a positive development. While third-wave feminism is more developed in the USA, many within the UK recognize and use the term.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-428
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Issue number3
Early online date20 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2015


  • third-wave feminism
  • intersectionality
  • US feminism
  • UK feminism


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