Lewis Honors College Capstone Collection

Year of Publication



Communication and Information



Degree Name

BA in Journalism

First Capstone/Thesis Advisor

Doug Boyd


The feminist movement has gone through many different stages, three to be exact. Each stage, or as they are called in the academic world, “waves”, had its own history and unique defining qualities. Media played a role in the movement in the past, and continue to do so today. My research focused on how the two, feminism and media, intertwine with one another and the affect the movement had, and continues to have, on mainstream media. With the recent news of sexual assault allegations in the media industry, the two seem to go hand-in-hand, now more than ever before.

The exact question my research sought to answer was: How were the different waves perceived in media of their respected time period? This research can be applied by showing mainstream media that they have a hand in social change and positive impacts on society. I conducted my research through scholarly articles and through keyword searching of certain archived media articles and objects of the past. For example, I looked at headlines of newspapers and the number of readers certain feminist books received.

The results I found connected to what I assumed. As women’s issues were becoming a familiar topic in society and politics, the media took notice. The uprising of the movements led to media coverage, as well as a change in the business of media as well. Women became writers and editors, which allowed them to have a voice of their own and tell about feminism and why women’s rights were important to them. My paper will dive into the backgrounds and beginnings of each wave of feminism while connecting media history and the power media had on the movement.