The ‘personal is political’ has long been recognised as the definitive slogan of second-wave feminism but can it still inform our understanding of the contemporary practice of feminism? Questioning the importance of this claim now invites us to critically reflect upon the trajectory Western feminism has followed in light of the efforts made by the Women’s Liberation movement to politicise formerly unquestioned aspects of social relations. In this paper, the significance of this feminist slogan will be assessed by locating it within two broadly defined historical periods. Firstly we identify the critical work performed by the ideas expressed in the slogan in the early years of the 1970s and then assess their continued relevance within the context of the early 21st century. Drawing upon the empirical analysis of young women’s experience of and relationship to feminism via their engagement with social media in Britain, this research critically assesses digital spaces as places where young women explore their personal experiences. We aim to understand how this may constitute a contemporary form of feminist practice consistent with the claim that ‘the personal is political’.
- second-wave feminism
- the Women’s Liberation Movement
- digital culture
- feminist politics
- social media