Elevate Difference

The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change

UK-based scholar and author Angela McRobbie has written extensively on women in contemporary popular culture. All of her writings present interesting and thought-provoking analyses of the roles assigned to women in various cultural spaces ranging from women's magazines to visual media. While her previous writings appear somewhat more optimistic about the ability to use subversive strategies as a form of resistance to the power dynamics and constraints inherent in popular images of women in the world of consumer culture, her newest book represents a departure from her earlier lines of argument.  In [The Aftermath of Feminism](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761970622?ie=UTF8&tag=feminrevie-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0761970622), McRobbie examines our current social and cultural landscape, one that is often referred to as "post-feminist," and presents a compelling analysis of how images of women in contemporary pop culture contribute to an "undoing" of feminism. Throughout the book, McRobbie positions post-feminism as not just anti-feminism (in the sense of anti-feminism being a straightforward backlash against feminist positions and ideas), but as a form of backlash that "takes feminism into account." This taking into account casts feminism itself as a thing of the past, as something that is no longer needed in a time when women are encouraged to pursue an education, a career, and be sexually independent. At the same time, it plays off of stereotypes that have cast feminism as associated with and often equivalent to hatred of men. McRobbie convincingly exposes this "taking into account" in popular television shows and movies, like Sex and the City and Bridget Jones's Diary, and analyzes how the obsession with femininity and middle-class whiteness in these and other programs undermines feminism as a whole.

While the analyses revolving around popular culture are enlightening and rich in complexity, the most powerful passages of the book are those in which McRobbie ventures beyond pop culture and analyzes the post-feminist "undoing" of feminism in consumer culture, the workplace, representations of "female" disorders or (symbolic) violence. It is particularly this venturing beyond analyses of television shows that turns [The Aftermath of Feminism](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761970622?ie=UTF8&tag=feminrevie-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0761970622) from an interesting read into one of the most powerful analyses of why feminism is not a thing of the past and maybe more needed today than ever before.

Written by: Annette Przygoda, January 21st 2009

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