How is Third Wave feminism defined? What are the implications for self-labeling as a feminist and the evolution of the “I’m not a feminist, but. . . .” group? While much controversy surrounds the etiology and even the very existence of a “Third Wave” of feminism, this nascent movement is a significant aspect of the current dialogue on contemporary feminism. Therefore, it is important to examine the history and the meaning of the identity of Third Wave. In an attempt to elucidate contemporary feminism, four key Third Wave collections of personal narratives were chosen and analyzed for current definitions of feminism. The anthologies used for this research contain the voices of numerous activists from 1995 to 2006 and represent a diverse range of individuals. A thematic analysis produced four themes: inclusion, multiplicity, contradiction, and everyday feminism. An analysis of the interconnections of these themes brought forth the question of whether a movement that is genuinely attuned to inclusion, multiplicity and contradiction can embrace the feminist label, or any label. Labels create boundaries and define the in-group, which is antithetical to these principles of Third Wave feminism. This might explain the current trend in research that finds many individuals supporting feminist ideology but resisting the feminist label. That is, the phrase “I’m not a feminist, but. . . .” may not simply be a reaction to a disparaged label but more precisely, an acknowledgement of the limits and liabilities of categorization.
Evans, Meredith A. and Bobel, Chris
"I am a Contradiction: Feminism and Feminist Identity in the Third Wave,"
New England Journal of Public Policy: Vol. 22:
1, Article 17.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umb.edu/nejpp/vol22/iss1/17