The Third Wave of Feminism

While there is not a set time span for the third wave of feminism, it is believed to have started in the early 1990s and extends into today. This Third Wave rose as a response to failures of previous waves of feminism and to reject initiatives created between the 1960s- 1980s. The shift from the Second Wave of feminism came from the legal and institutional rights expanded to women. Third-Wave feminists believe that along with these rights, there needs to be further changes in stereotypes, media portrayals, and language to define women. The purpose behind this new wave is to celebrate diverse identities and abandon the “victim feminism” ideology. Unlike previous waves, the Third Wave of Feminism works to include women that are of “many colors, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, and cultural background” and the Third Wave has embraced the idea of intersectionality. Rebecca Walker, a prominent voice of the Third Wave, coined “Third Wave” to show the focus on queer and non-white women and that women’s issues were far from over.


The goals of Third Wave feminists have been broadened to include ideas such as queer theory, abolishing gender role expectations and stereotypes but feminists are still divided on the themes of women in pornography, sex work, and prostitution. The Third Wave is ongoing is focused less on political changes and more on individualistic identity and continues to struggle with a lack of cohesion in these efforts.