New British feminisms, UK Feminista and young women’s activism

Feminist Theory 19 (2):165-181 (2018)
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Abstract

Over the past few years we have witnessed a sharp resurgence in feminist activism as young women have become increasingly interested in feminist ideas as a means of making sense of their lives. This resurgence in feminist practice is evidenced by the formation of myriad groups and networks across Britain and the initiation of various feminist projects and campaigns, reported regularly and widely in local and national media. This article examines the renaissance of this new feminism through the example of one of the most active and publicly visible organisations, UK Feminista. It draws on ethnographic research into young women’s feminist activism, exploring the emergence of UK Feminista as part of this new wave of feminist activism in Britain. We argue that the wave metaphor has multifarious meanings and that to understand how the political practice of a small feminist organisation contributes to the amplification of this wave of feminist activism it is helpful to draw on concepts developed within social movement theory such as cycles of protest, repertoires of action and collective identities. We show how UK Feminista mobilises young women and provides resources to existing and new feminist organisations and activist groups, commenting particularly on its use of the Internet and social media as a mobilising device. We explore the role of the Internet in young women’s engagement with feminism, the forms of activism in which they take part and the importance of feminist cultural memory to the construction of a collective feminist identity. Our analysis reveals the significant part played by a small mobilising structure, UK Feminista, in the resurgence of feminist activism in the UK.

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