Be(com)ing Feminist: Young Women's Feminist Journeys and Political Activism

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This paper is based on research with groups of young feminists and activists in a city in Northern England, which is part of a wider study exploring young people’s social and political participation in eight European cities. The data collection comprised biographical and “expert” interviews, and a period of ethnographic work that took place online (e.g. a group’s facebook site), during “street” protests, and in other feminist events. Four overlapping themes emerged from the study: the feminist journeys of these “post-third-wave” young women is invariably informed by their personal experiences and biographies and early transformative experiences, which have led to an explicit feminist identity and explicitly feminist political activism; they experience an “awakening” and empowerment in their feminist journeys, and particularly through the online spaces in which they interact; they stress the importance of story-telling, “speaking bitterness”, building coalitions and authenticity in their activism and in the feminist movement; and the focus of their activism, though sometimes single issue, is aimed at social change and particularly challenging (if not decimating) patriarchal social structures.

The paper considers the findings alongside historic accounts of women-led political activism, and oral histories from the feminist movement, in order to explore young, contemporary feminists’ journeys to be(com)ing feminist and the ways in which these personal and political journeys, offline and online, are generative of the feminist movement now.
Period10 Apr 2018
Event titleBritish Sociological Association Annual Conference: Identity, Community and Social Solidarity
Event typeConference
LocationNewcastle, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational