What Is Third‐Wave Feminism? A New Directions Essay Article Review essay


WhatIs Third‐WaveFeminism? A New Directions Essay: Article Review

WhatIs Third‐WaveFeminism? A New Directions Essay: Article Review

Thispaper is a review of R. Claire Snyder’s article that seeks toexplain the concept of third-wave feminism. The author wrote thearticle when she was an associate professor at George MasonUniversity. Third-wave feminism offers a tactical approach to thedevelopment of feminist theory, which is a feature that distinguishesit from second-wave feminism. The author sought to dispel theperception among some scholars in women’s studies and feministsthat second-wave and third-wave feminism are essentially the samething(Snyder, 2008). The research method used in the article involved a review ofliterature about feminism by different authors.


Theauthor’s thesis is that third-wave feminism provides an approachthat can be used to solve some of the theoretical problems ofsecond-wave feminism. However, skeptics of third-wave feminism oftenpoint to the fact that it addresses the same set of issues assecond-wave feminism. Consequently, the skeptics do not considerthird-wave feminism to be a theory in its own right. The authorexamined the perspectives of different feminists and scholars inwomen’s studies and found a degree of truth to the views held bythe skeptics of third-wave feminism. One of the author’s keyfindings was that third-wave feminists usually overstate theirdistinctiveness from second-wave feminists(Snyder, 2008).However, this does not mean that differences do exist betweensecond-wave and third-wave feminism. Most notably, the author foundthat third-wave feminism illustrates the inaccuracy of a fundamentalnotion of second-wave feminism that assumes the existence of a commonidentity of women based on their shared experiences.


Theresearcher uses the symbolic interactionist perspective in thearticle. I came to this conclusion because the author highlights theimportance of individual experiences in third-wave feminist thought(Snyder, 2008).The focus on the individual is in line with the symbolicinteractionist perspective, which asserts that individuals actaccording to how they interpret the world around them. This assertionsupports the existence of different interpretations of feminism amongthird-wave feminists.

Theresearch findings challenge popular beliefs about third-wavefeminism. As mentioned earlier, a common perception exists thatthird-wave feminism is not different from second-wave feminism. Myprevious understanding of third-wave feminism was that it was merelya radical aspect of second-wave feminism. It is worth noting that theresearch findings also challenge popular beliefs among third-wavefeminists about the degree of their uniqueness from second-wavefeminists(Snyder, 2008).

Thefocus of research on third-wave feminism might differ from a focus onsecond-wave feminism. As seen from the article, the focus of researchon third-wave feminism is on establishing it as a separate theoryfrom second-wave feminism. In contrast, the focus of research onsecond-wave feminism might be on the split in this school of thought(Snyder, 2008),which resulted in conservative and liberal approaches to feminism.This differs from third-wave feminism, which emphasizes individualexperiences, and does not seek apply specific approaches to feminism.

Women’sempowerment is the social problem that might be most directly linkedto the research. Feminists play a crucial role in empowering womenand promoting gender equality in society. Therefore, an understandingof the concept of feminism is important. The author argues thatthird-wave feminism is a solution to the impasse experienced insecond-wave feminism when different opinions arose about the conceptof feminism(Snyder, 2008).According to the author, third-wave feminism furthers theunderstanding of feminism by embracing multiple perspectives of whatit means to be a feminist.


Snyder,R. (2008). What Is Third‐WaveFeminism? A New Directions Essay. Signs,34(1),175-196.