Interrogating Postfeminism: Gender and the Politics of Popular Culture
This timely collection brings feminist critique to bear on contemporary postfeminist mass media culture, analyzing phenomena ranging from action films featuring violent heroines to the “girling” of aging women in productions such as the movie Something’s Gotta Give and the British television series 10 Years Younger. Broadly defined, “postfeminism” encompasses a set of assumptions that feminism has accomplished its goals and is now a thing of the past. It presumes that women are unsatisfied with their (taken for granted) legal and social equality and can find fulfillment only through practices of transformation and empowerment. Postfeminism is defined by class, age, and racial exclusions; it is youth-obsessed and white and middle-class by default. Anchored in consumption as a strategy and leisure as a site for the production of the self, postfeminist mass media assumes that the pleasures and lifestyles with which it is associated are somehow universally shared and, perhaps more significantly, universally accessible.
Essays by feminist film, media, and literature scholars based in the United States and United Kingdom provide an array of perspectives on the social and political implications of postfeminism. Examining magazines, mainstream and independent cinema, popular music, and broadcast genres from primetime drama to reality television, contributors consider how postfeminism informs self-fashioning through makeovers and cosmetic surgery, the “metrosexual” male, the “black chick flick,” and more. Interrogating Postfeminism demonstrates not only the viability of, but also the necessity for, a powerful feminist critique of contemporary popular culture.
Contributors. Sarah Banet-Weiser, Steven Cohan, Lisa Coulthard, Anna Feigenbaum, Suzanne Leonard, Angela McRobbie, Diane Negra, Sarah Projansky, Martin Roberts, Hannah E. Sanders, Kimberly Springer, Yvonne Tasker, Sadie Wearing
... share is their relationship to the pastness of feminism, a feature commented on earlier; herein lies a suggestion that social change with respect to gender norms has been experienced, concretized even, through the passage of time.
In this way, we hope to address questions of cultural dissonance when an American “we” is presumed to be general—in other words, the inward-looking features of American cultural criticism (but also the assumption that the United States ...
... of feminist writing in relation to the action heroine or kick-ass girl is problematic to the extent that it evades an exploration of the meaning of violence, the feature that is for her most striking about these film texts.
Ironic references to feminism as “the F word” are a familiar feature of popular media culture in the United Kingdom. 6. Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise ofRaunch Culture; McCabe and Akass, Reading “Sex and the City.
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