Postfeminism: Cultural Texts and Theories

By Stéphanie Genz; Benjamin A. Brabon | Go to book overview

9
Third Wave Feminism

OVERVIEW

In this chapter we examine the notion of ‘third wave feminism’, which emerged in the 1990s and has often been described by its advocates in antithesis to postfeminism. According to third wave feminists, postfeminism can be understood in terms of a conservative/patriarchal discourse that seeks to criticise and undermine second wave feminism. By contrast, third wave feminism defines itself as a budding political movement with strong affiliations to second wave feminist theory and activism – the conflict between third wavers and postfeminists often being exemplified by the supposed dichotomy between the politically informed Riot Grrrls and the mainstream, fashionable Spice Girls. Third wave feminism speaks to a generation of younger feminists – born in the 1960s and 1970s – who see their work founded on second wave principles, yet distinguished by a number of political and cultural differences. Third wave feminists embrace contradiction and diversity as inherent components of late twentieth-century and twenty-first-century women’s (and men’s) lives, and they envision a new model of feminist thinking and practice that goes ‘beyond black or white’ and situates itself within popular culture in an effort to bridge the gap between consumption and critique (Siegel, Sisterhood, Interrupted 142). We suggest that the adoption of a binary logic to conceptualise the relationship between third wave feminism and postfeminism is misleading in many cases as it does not account for the slippage between the two terms and often rests on an overly simplistic view of postfeminism as defeatism. We analyse the rifts and overlaps between the third wave and postfeminism through an examination of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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Postfeminism: Cultural Texts and Theories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Introduction- Postfeminist Contexts 1
  • 1 - Backlash and New Traditionalism 51
  • 2 - New Feminism- Victim vs. Power 64
  • 3 - Girl Power and Chick Lit 76
  • 4 - Do-Me Feminism and Raunch Culture 91
  • 5 - Postmodern (Post)Feminism 106
  • 6 - Queer (Post)Feminism 124
  • 7 - Men and Postfeminism 132
  • 8 - Cyber-Postfeminism 145
  • 9 - Third Wave Feminism 156
  • 10 - Micro-Politics and Enterprise Culture 166
  • Afterword- Postfeminist Possibilities 178
  • Bibliography 180
  • Index 196
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