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
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... processes that a model of backlash , with its implication of achievements won and then subsequently lost - cannot effectively incorporate within the linear chronology of social change on which it seems to be premised .
It is thus also a strategy by which other kinds of social difference are glossed over . The limits of this construction and the challenges it poses for feminist scholarship are questions we return to below . Postfeminism does not always ...
Meanwhile postfeminism draws on and sustains an invented social memory of feminist language as inevitably shrill , bellicose , and parsimonious . Thus , while feminism is constituted as an unwelcome , implicitly censorious presence ...
... positions of social and economic power ) . For us , postfeminism signals more than a simple evolutionary process whereby aspects of feminism have been incorporated into popular culture — and thereby naturalized as popular feminism .
As Frank observes , in this period the concept of the market itself was invoked as proof of social egalitarianism and opportunity : " Markets were serving all tastes ; they were humiliating the pretentious ; they were permitting good ...