The Aftermath of Feminism
Gender, Culture and Social Change
- Angela McRobbie - Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK
These essays show Angela McRobbie reflecting on a range of issues which have political consequence for women, particularly young women, in a context where it is frequently assumed that progress has been made in the last 30 years, and that with gender issues now 'mainstreamed' in cultural and social life, the moment of feminism per se is now passed.
McRobbie trenchantly argues that it is precisely on these grounds that invidious forms of gender -re-stabilisation are able to be re-established. Consumer culture, she argues, encroaches on the terrain of so called female freedom, appears supportive of female success only to tie women into new post-feminist neurotic dependencies.
These nine essays span a wide range of topics, including
- the UK government's 'new sexual contract' to young women,
- popular TV makeover programmes,
- feminist theories of backlash and the 'undoing' of sexual politics,
- feminism in a global frame
- the 'illegible rage' underlying contemporary femininities.
McRobbie has written a profound and profoundly disturbing analysis of the state of feminism in contemporary Britain. Weaving together analyses of culture, economics, politics and everyday life, this is a superb demonstration of why cultural studies matters, and of why McRobbie remains one of its most original and important contributors. This book will enlighten you, anger you, inspire you, and force you to ask new questions - I can't ask for anything more from a book.
McRobbie has produced a landmark text. She argues for a form of feminism that is aware of the contemporary complexities of global media culture while still attentive to political questions of identity, engagement and justice. The Afternath of Feminism is highly sophisticated and theoretically informed, yet also readable and inspiring. It is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary cultural politics.
Angela McRobbie has written a courageous and much-needed book, exploring the after-effects of the shift to neoliberalism in which young women today can appear to have everything they wanted, presented in an array of choice and empowerment. She interrogates its dark underbelly and exposes the huge losses for women that ensue.
The inter-disciplinary nature of McRobbie's account is one of its strengths, drawing as it does on psychoanalysis, feminist sociology and cultural studies to provide a powerful breadth of analysis… for a thought-provoking and articulate analysis of what is left for feminism - and what has been lost - this book is excellent.
Angela McRobbie is one of the most prolific and inspiring feminist theorists in the wide field of cultural and media studies... the compilation of these essays in one volume brilliantly shows the consistency in McRobbie's analysis of gender in widely different contemporary cultural products and discourses.
To those feminists who assumed that women’s increased labor force participation and a handful of legal victories would, perhaps, engender a continuing commitment to socialist-feminist values, The Aftermath of Feminism is a sobering wake-up call. McRobbie’s various references to films, television, magazines, and popular culture are not simply a stroll down a post-feminist lane; rather, these texts help illuminate the forms of gender power which help produce and reproduce women’s continued domination and subordination. The book is an assault on 'gender mainstreaming', or the idea that, though feminism may have lost popularity as a public protest movement, it is alive and well 'behind the scenes' in the 'practical world of women’s issues'.
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Best book on the topic and it worked brilliantly for my class.
A really fascinating and provocative text, makes me wish we did more gender studies in our PR teaching!
I am hoping that this book will be a valuable resource for my students when they are trying to understand concepts of female agency, the body and beauty practices. It is quite comprehensive but the level of scholarship/theory remains high which is a difficult balancing act. The examples make this book quite accessible, but the discussion of theory is complex and demanding, so I will be interested to see how readable my students find it.
Sample Materials & Chapters
Ch.1: Post-Feminism and Popular Culture: Bridget Jones and The New Gender Regime