The term postfeminism (alternatively rendered as post-feminism) is used to describe reactions against contradictions and absences in feminism, especially second-wave feminism and third-wave feminism. The term postfeminism is sometimes confused with subsequent feminisms such as 4th wave-feminism, and "women of color feminism" (e.g. hooks, 1996; Spivak, 1999).
The ideology of postfeminism is recognized by its contrast with prevailing or preceding feminism. Postfeminism strives towards the next stage in gender-related progress, and as such is often conceived as in favor of a society that is no longer defined by gender binary and gender roles. A postfeminist is a person who believes in, promotes, or embodies any of various ideologies springing from the feminism of the 1970s, whether supportive of or antagonistic towards classical feminism.
Postfeminism can be considered a critical way of understanding the changed relations between feminism, popular culture and femininity. Postfeminism may also present a critique of second-wave feminism or third-wave feminism by questioning their binary thinking and essentialism, their vision of sexuality, and their perception of relationships between femininity and feminism. It may also complicate or even deny entirely the notion that absolute gender equality is necessary, desirable or realistically achievable.
Second-wave feminism is often critiqued for being too "white", too "straight", and too "liberal", thus resulting in the needs of women from marginalized groups and cultures being ignored. However, since intersectionality is a product of third-wave feminism, the references to such as postfeminist are open to challenge and may be more properly considered feminist.
While postfeminism was first used in the 1980s to describe a backlash against second-wave feminism, it is now used as a label for a wide range of theories that take critical approaches to previous feminist discourses and includes challenges to the second wave's ideas. It may also be used to invoke the view that feminism is no longer relevant to today's society.
Over the years, the meaning of postfeminism has broadened in scope, encompassing many different meanings, as is the case with feminism. Within feminist literature, definitions tend to fall into two main categories: 1) “death of feminism”, “anti-feminism”, “feminism is irrelevant now” and 2) the next stage in feminism, or feminism that intersects with other “post-” philosophies/theories, such as postmodernism, post-structuralism and postcolonialism.
In 1919, a journal was launched in which "female literary radicals" stated "'we're interested in people now—not in men and women'", that "moral, social, economic, and political standards 'should not have anything to do with sex'", that it would "be 'pro-woman without being anti-man'", and that "their stance [is called] 'post-feminist'".
The term was used in the 1980s to describe a backlash against second-wave feminism. Postfeminism is now a label for a wide range of theories that take critical approaches to previous feminist discourses and includes challenges to the second wave's ideas. Other postfeminists say that feminism is no longer relevant to today's society. Amelia Jones has written that the postfeminist texts which emerged in the 1980s and 1990s portrayed second-wave feminism as a monolithic entity and were overly generalizing in their criticism.
The 1990s saw the popularization of this term, in both the academic world as well as the media world. It was seen as a term of both commendation and scorn. Toril Moi, a professor at Duke University, originally coined the term in 1985 in Sexual/Textual politics to advocate a feminism that would deconstruct the binary between equality based on "liberal" feminism and difference-based or "radical" feminism. There is confusion surrounding the intended meaning of "post" in the context of "postfeminism". This confusion has plagued the very meaning of "postfeminism" since the 1990s. While the term has seemed on the one hand to announce the end of feminism, on the other hand it has itself become a site of feminist politics.
Currently, feminist history is characterized by the struggle to find out the present situation—often articulated as a concern about whether there is still such a thing called "feminism"—by writing in the past. It is here that the meaning of "post" as a historical break is troubling, for "post" offers to situate feminism in history by proclaiming the end of this history. It then confirms feminist history as a thing of the past. However, some claim that it is impossible that feminism could be aligned with "post" when it is unthinkable, as it would be the same as calling the current world a post racist, post-classist, and post-sexist society.
The early part of the 1980s was when the media began labeling teenage women and women in their twenties the "postfeminist generation". After twenty years, the term postfeminist is still used to refer to young women, "who are thought to benefit from the women's movement through expanded access to employment and education and new family arrangements but at the same time do not push for further political change", Pamela Aronson, Professor of Sociology, asserts. Postfeminism is a highly debated topic since it implies that feminism is "dead" and "because the equality it assumes is largely a myth".
Research conducted at Kent State University narrowed postfeminism to four main claims: support for feminism declined; women began hating feminism and feminists; society had already attained social equality, thus making feminism outdated; and the label "feminist" was disliked due to negative stigma.
In her 1994 book Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women, Christina Hoff Sommers considers much of modern academic feminist theory and the feminist movement to be gynocentric. She labels this "gender feminism" and proposes "equity feminism"—an ideology that aims for full civil and legal equality. She argues that while the feminists she designates as gender feminists advocate preferential treatment and portray women as victims, equity feminism provides a viable alternative form of feminism. These descriptions and her other work have caused Hoff Sommers to be described as an antifeminist by some other feminists.
Some contemporary feminists, such as Katha Pollitt or Nadine Strossen, consider feminism to hold simply that "women are people." Views that separate the sexes rather than unite them are considered by these writers to be sexist rather than feminist.
Amelia Jones has authored post-feminist texts which emerged in the 1980s/1990s and portrayed second-wave feminism as a monolithic entity and criticized it using generalizations.
One of the earliest modern uses of the term was in Susan Bolotin's 1982 article "Voices of the Post-Feminist Generation", published in New York Times Magazine. This article was based on a number of interviews with women who largely agreed with the goals of feminism, but did not identify as feminists.
Susan Faludi, in her 1991 book Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, argued that a backlash against second wave feminism in the 1980s had successfully re-defined feminism through its terms. She argued that it constructed the women's liberation movement as the source of many of the problems alleged to be plaguing women in the late 1980s. She also argued that many of these problems were illusory, constructed by the media without reliable evidence. According to her, this type of backlash is a historical trend, recurring when it appeared that women had made substantial gains in their efforts to obtain equal rights.
Angela McRobbie argued that adding the prefix post- to feminism undermined the strides that feminism made in achieving equality for everyone, including women. In McRobbie's opinion, postfeminism gave the impression that equality has been achieved and feminists could now focus on something else entirely. McRobbie believed that postfeminism was most clearly seen on so-called feminist media products, such as Bridget Jones's Diary, Sex and the City, and Ally McBeal. Female characters like Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw claimed to be liberated and clearly enjoy their sexuality, but what they were constantly searching for was the one man who would make everything worthwhile.
Representations of post feminism can be found in pop culture. Postfeminism has been seen in media as a form of feminism that accepts popular culture instead of rejecting it, as was typical with second wave feminists. Many popular shows from the 90s and early 2000s are considered to be postfeminist works because they tend to focus on women who are empowered by popular cultural representations of other women. Because of this, postfeminists claimed that such media was more accessible and inclusive than past representations of women in the media; however, some feminists believe that postfeminist works focus too much on white, middle-class women. Such shows and movies include The Devil Wears Prada, Xena: Warrior Princess, The Princess Diaries, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Another example is Sex and the City. Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City is an example of a character living a post feminist life. While her character attempts to live a sexually liberated lifestyle, Bradshaw is stuck endlessly pursuing the love and validation of a man. The balance between Bradshaw's independent life as a successful columnist and desire to find a husband exemplifies the tension of post feminism. Many of these works also involve women monitoring their appearance as a form of self-management, be it in the form of dieting, exercise, or—most popularly—makeover scenes. Postfeminist literature—also known as chicklit—has been criticized by feminists for similar themes and notions. However, the genre is also praised for being confident, witty, and complicated, bringing in feminist themes, revolving around women, and reinventing standards of fiction. Examples can also be found in Pretty Little Liars. The novels explore the complexity of girlhood in a society that assumes gender equality, which is in line with postfeminism. The constant surveillance and self policing of the series' protagonists depicts the performance of heterosexuality, hyperfemininity, and critical gaze forced upon girls. The materialism and performance from the girls in Pretty Little Liars critiques the notion that society has full gender equality, and thus offers a critique of postfeminism.
In an article on print jewelry advertisements in Singapore, Michelle Lazar analyses how the construction of 'postfeminist' femininity has given rise to a neo-liberal hybrid "pronounced sense of self or 'I-dentity'". She states that the increasing number of female wage earners has led to advertisers updating their image of women but that "through this hybrid postfeminist I-dentity, advertisers have found a way to reinstall a new normativity that coexists with the status quo". Postfeminist ads and fashion have been criticized for using femininity as a commodity veiled as liberation.
The Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) is a nexus of feminist thought, activism, and collaboration for scholars and activists. Since its founding in 1971, BCRW has promoted women's and social justice issues to its local communities at Barnard College and within New York City. It is a member organization of The National Council for Research on Women.Feminism
Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unfairly within those societies. Efforts to change that include fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.
Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to work, to earn fair wages or equal pay, to own property, to receive education, to enter contracts, to have equal rights within marriage, and to have maternity leave. Feminists have also worked to ensure access to legal abortions and social integration, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. Changes in dress and acceptable physical activity have often been part of feminist movements.Some scholars consider feminist campaigns to be a main force behind major historical societal changes for women's rights, particularly in the West, where they are near-universally credited with achieving women's suffrage, gender neutrality in English, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property. Although feminist advocacy is, and has been, mainly focused on women's rights, some feminists, including bell hooks, argue for the inclusion of men's liberation within its aims because they believe that men are also harmed by traditional gender roles.Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; it has developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues concerning gender.Numerous feminist movements and ideologies have developed over the years and represent different viewpoints and aims. Some forms of feminism have been criticized for taking into account only white, middle class, and college-educated perspectives. This criticism led to the creation of ethnically specific or multicultural forms of feminism, including black feminism and intersectional feminism.Feminism and modern architecture
Feminist theory as it relates to architecture has forged the way for the rediscovery of such female architects as Eileen Gray. These women imagined an architecture that challenged the way the traditional family would live. They practiced architecture with what they considered feminist theories or approaches. The rediscovery of architecture through feminist theory is not limited to female architects. Architects like Le Corbusier and Adolf Loos have also had their architecture reexamined through feminist theory.Feminism in Bangladesh
Feminism in Bangladesh seeks equal rights of women in Bangladesh through social and political change. Article 28 of Bangladesh constitution states that "Women shall have equal rights with men in all spheres of the State and of public life".Feminism in Taiwan
Taiwan has a complex history of feminist and women's-rights movements with periods of progressiveness where feminism and strong female icons flourished and periods of strict authoritarianism where equality and individual rights were devalued.Feminist constructivism
Feminist constructivism is an international relations theory which builds upon the theory of constructivism. Feminist constructivism focuses upon the study of how ideas about gender influence global politics. It is the communication between two postcolonial theories; feminism and constructivism, and how they both share similar key ideas in creating gender equality globally.Feminist metaphysics
Where metaphysics tries to explain what is the universe and what it is like, feminist metaphysics questions how metaphysical answers have supported sexism. Are ideas we have about fundamental subjects like: the self, mind and body, nature, essence, and identity formed with gendered bias? For instance, feminist metaphysics would ask if Cartesian dualism—the concept of humans having minds separate from our bodies—privileges men or masculinity.Feminist revisionist mythology
Feminist revisionist mythology is feminist literature informed by feminist literary criticism, or by the politics of feminism more broadly and that engages with mythology, fairy tales, religion, or other areas.Gender studies
Gender studies is a field for interdisciplinary study devoted to gender identity and gendered representation as central categories of analysis. This field includes women's studies (concerning women, feminism, gender, and politics), men's studies and queer studies. Sometimes, gender studies is offered together with study of sexuality.
These disciplines study gender and sexuality in the fields of literature, language, geography, history, political science, sociology, anthropology, cinema, media studies, human development, law, public health and medicine. It also analyzes how race, ethnicity, location, class, nationality, and disability intersect with the categories of gender and sexuality.Regarding gender, Simone de Beauvoir said: "One is not born a woman, one becomes one." This view proposes that in gender studies, the term "gender" should be used to refer to the social and cultural constructions of masculinities and femininities and not to the state of being male or female in its entirety. However, this view is not held by all gender theorists. Beauvoir's is a view that many sociologists support (see Sociology of gender), though there are many other contributors to the field of gender studies with different backgrounds and opposing views, such as psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and feminists such as Judith Butler.
Gender is pertinent to many disciplines, such as literary theory, drama studies, film theory, performance theory, contemporary art history, anthropology, sociology, sociolinguistics and psychology. However, these disciplines sometimes differ in their approaches to how and why gender is studied. For instance in anthropology, sociology and psychology, gender is often studied as a practice, whereas in cultural studies representations of gender are more often examined. In politics, gender can be viewed as a foundational discourse that political actors employ in order to position themselves on a variety of issues. Gender studies is also a discipline in itself, incorporating methods and approaches from a wide range of disciplines.Each field came to regard "gender" as a practice, sometimes referred to as something that is performative. Feminist theory of psychoanalysis, articulated mainly by Julia Kristeva (the "semiotic" and "abjection") and Bracha L. Ettinger (the feminine-prematernal-maternal matrixial Eros of borderlinking and com-passion, "matrixial trans-subjectivity" and the "primal mother-phantasies"), and informed both by Freud, Lacan and the object relations theory, is very influential in gender studies.
According to Sam Killermann, Gender can also be broken into three categories, gender identity, gender expression, and biological sex. These three categories are another way of breaking down gender into the different social, biological, and cultural constructions. These constructions focus on how femininity and masculinity are fluid entities and how their meaning is able to fluctuate depending on the various constraints surrounding them.Hipster sexism
Hipster sexism, also known as everyday sexism, or ironic sexism, is defined by Alissa Quart in New York magazine's fashion blog The Cut as "the objectification of women but in a manner that uses mockery, quotation marks, and paradox". It is a form of self-aware sexism that is deemed acceptable given that its perpetrators are conscious of the inherent sexism and objectification of women in whatever action or statement is being carried out by them. It is rooted in the idea that sexism is an outdated and archaic institution which people do not engage in anymore, thereby making the demonstration of sexism seem satirical and ironic.Hipster sexism may be presented with derision and expressed as harmless. Quart posits that hipster sexism "is a distancing gesture, a belief that simply by applying quotations, uncool, questionable, and even offensive material about women can be alchemically transformed". She notes this form of sexism as having a particular public admissibility, saying that it perpetuates sexism in general due to a public tolerance based upon reasoning that instances of hipster sexism are humorous. Distinguishing socially critiquing comedy from hipster sexism, feminist discourse discusses hipster sexism as humor which, rather than offering critique, employs an evasive methodology which maintains stereotypes and prejudice. Psychology professor Octavia Calder-Dawe suggests that due to this, the practice of hipster sexism also unconsciously influences the idea that sexism should not be spoken of. Hipster sexism relates to postfeminism in that it downplays sexism at large by casually normalizing it on the basis that sexism has been eradicated and thus is not appropriate for serious consideration or discussion.A tenet of hipster sexism is the casual use of derogatory words such as "bitch" and "slut", on the basis that such use is intended as ironic. Jessica Wakeman, a contributor to The Frisky, suggests that the label hipster sexism enables casual sexism as a means of being ironic, and thus being seen as an acceptable form of sexism.Hipster sexism can often be found in an entire company and not just a singular person. A short lived company by the name of Thinx is one prime example of this in that its one product was menstruation underwear, a product meant solely for women, yet according to "reports across female focused media," employees that worked for this company were underpaid and offered only two weeks of maternity leave.Quart coined the term "hipster sexism" in 2012, partly as a comment on "hipster racism", a term coined by Carmen Van Kerckhove in circa 2007 which had been popularized earlier in 2012. She differentiated it from "classic sexism", which she describes as being "un-ironic, explicit, violent [and] banal".Lad culture
Lad culture (also laddish culture and laddism) is a British subculture initially associated with the Britpop movement. Arising in the early 1990s, the image of the "lad" – or "new lad" – was that of a generally middle class figure espousing attitudes typically attributed to the working classes. The subculture involves young men assuming an anti-intellectual position, shunning sensitivity in favour of drinking, violence, and sexism.List of conservative feminisms
Some variants of feminism are considered more conservative than others.Because almost any variant of feminism can have a conservative element, this list does not attempt to list variants of feminism simply with conservative elements. Instead, this list is of feminism variants that are primarily conservative.List of ecofeminist authors
An alphabetized list of ecofeminist writers includes the following:
Carol J. Adams
Carol P. Christ
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Allison Hedge Coke
Wangari Muta Maathai
Gloria Feman Orenstein
Rosemary Radford Ruether
Carol Lee Sanchez
Sheri S. Tepper
Karen J. Warren
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Sue Monk Kidd
Ursula K. Le Guin
Nandini SahuList of women's studies journals
This is a list of peer-reviewed, academic journals in field of women's studies.
Note: there are many important academic magazines that are not true peer-reviewed journals. They are not listed here.Neofeminism
Neofeminism describes an emerging view of women as becoming empowered through the celebration of attributes perceived to be conventionally feminine, that is, it glorifies a womanly essence over claims to equality with men. It is a term that has come into use in the early 21st century to refer to a popular culture trend, what critics see as a type of "lipstick feminism" that confines women to stereotypical roles, while it erodes cultural freedoms women gained through the second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s in particular.Rae Bryant
Rae Bryant is an American writer most known for experimental prose styles with a focus on magic realism, surrealism, satire and postfeminism. Her story collection, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals, was nominated for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and Pushcart Prize.
Bryant has received fellowships and grants from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and The Johns Hopkins University, where she teaches creative writing and multimedia and is the founding editor of The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, a literary and arts journal housed at Johns Hopkins. Bryant has also taught creative writing and multimedia at the University of Iowa's International Writing Program.
Her short fiction, creative nonfiction, and multimedia have published in numerous literary magazines including StoryQuarterly, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Gargoyle Magazine, Blip Magazine, and Redivider, among others.
Bryant lives in the DC/Baltimore area with her husband and two children.Rosalind Gill
Rosalind Clair Gill (born 22 April 1963), is a British sociologist and feminist cultural theorist. She is currently Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at City, University of London. Gill is author or editor of ten books, and numerous articles and chapters, and her work has been translated into Chinese, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish.Stop Porn Culture
Stop Porn Culture is an international feminist anti-porn organization with branches in the United States, Norway, and the United Kingdom. It works as an advisory body, trains trainers, and builds public health educational materials based on empirical research. It has a network of volunteers and activists and collaborates with other organizations in the U.S. and Europe. Some of its work is grassroots activist work.Timeline of feminism
The following is a timeline of the history of feminism.
It should contain events within the ideologies and philosophies of feminism. It should not contain material about changes in women's legal rights. See also: Timeline of women's legal rights (other than voting), Timeline of women's suffrage and Women's suffrage.