Postfeminism: Cultural Texts and Theories

Postfeminism: Cultural Texts and Theories

Postfeminism: Cultural Texts and Theories

Postfeminism: Cultural Texts and Theories

Synopsis

This book is the first introductory text on postfeminism. It provides an indispensable guide that both surveys and critically positions the main issues, theories and contemporary debates surrounding the term. The book analyzes postfeminism's underpinnings and critical contexts, different definitions and meanings as well as popular media representations.

Adopting an inclusive and interdisciplinary approach, the authors situate postfeminism in relation to earlier feminisms and address its manifestations in popular culture, academia and politics. They draw on a wide range of well known examples and case studies to discuss such diverse topics as Backlash, Girl Power and Chick-lit, Postmodern Feminism, Queer Feminism, Third Wave Feminism and Enterprise Culture. The accessible, user-friendly format allows students and lecturers to explore the diverse postfeminist landscape as well as examine specific versions of it. The text is essential reading for all students and academics seeking a detailed and comprehensive understanding of postfeminism.

Excerpt

Postfeminism is a concept fraught with contradictions. Loathed by some and celebrated by others, it emerged in the late twentieth century in a number of cultural, academic and political contexts, from popular journalism and media to feminist analyses, postmodern theories and neo-liberal rhetoric. Critics have claimed and appropriated the term for a variety of definitions, ranging from a conservative backlash, Girl Power, third wave feminism and postmodern/poststructuralist feminism. In popular culture, it has often been associated with female characters like the Spice Girls and Helen Fielding’s chick heroine Bridget Jones, who has been embraced/criticised as the poster child of postfeminism. In academic writings, it sits alongside other ‘post-’ discourses – including postmodernism and postcolonialism – and here, it refers to a shift in the understanding and construction of identity and gender categories (like ‘Woman’, ‘Man’ and ‘Feminist’). Likewise, in social and political investigations, postfeminism has been read as indicative of a ‘post-traditional’ era characterised by dramatic changes in basic social relationships, role stereotyping and conceptions of agency (Gauntlett; Mann). While commentators have found fault with postfeminism’s interpretative potential and flexibility – Coppock and Gamble, for example, deplore the fact that ‘postfeminism remains a product of assumption’ and ‘exactly what it constitutes… is a matter for frequently impassioned debate’ (Coppock et al. 4; Gamble 43) – they also have acknowledged its significance and impact. As Rosalind Gill writes, ’[t]here is, as yet, no parallel for postfeminism’ (Gender and the Media 250).

This book endeavours to take stock of the postfeminist phenomenon, which has confounded and split contemporary critics with its contradictory meanings and pluralistic outlook. It provides an overview of postfeminism’s . . .

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