Feminism and Pop Culture
No matter how sophisticated you believe yourself to be, consuming pop culture is often inevitable in modern life. From reacting to coverage of major news events to understanding how advertising permeates our media landscape, chances are most self-identified feminists have considered how so-called low culture affects our perceptions of our selves and our world. As the lines between high and low culture have increasingly blurred over the past several decades, feminists—both polished academics and dilettantes—have begun to examine how mainstream media affects our activism and how we have become necessary agents in the deconstruction of pop culture.
In Feminism and Pop Culture, Bitch magazine cofounder Andi Zeisler is able to do what does not regularly happen in the pages of the magazine. Introducing readers to the reasons why the relationship between feminism and popular culture is important, example after example illustrates how feminist interpretation of television, music, film, and news events has progressively become an important part of understanding our world. While many know Bitch as a “feminist response to pop culture,” some do not always recognize the value in making celebrity gossip, B movies, and shoddy mainstream reporting the locus of activism and (re)action. If you haven’t spent years sifting through Bitch magazine archives, or haven’t read BitchFest, Feminism and Pop Culture will shine new light on these relationships. If you’re already immersed in the language and analysis of the B-word, here you’ll find one more piece of Zeisler’s Bitch-y empire in which she continues to find comprehensive ways to state her purpose.
Feminism and Pop Culture traces the history of popular culture from the 1920s to today, drawing on a wealth of resources and debunking cultural myths about women along the way. An easily digestible read with helpful fact boxes and sidebars, we come to understand the importance of Bridget Jones alongside theoretical concepts like the male gaze. The book does not just explain the relationships between theory and practice. It slowly introduces readers to the not-so-secret techniques of feminist critical analysis and equips them to begin interpreting popular culture for their own empowered selves.
Zeisler makes feminist theory applicable and accessible, so while this book is the first in the Seal Studies series and will arguably to be utilized in introductory Women’s Studies and media theory courses, it retains an approachable quality. Feminism and Pop Culture explains the necessary truth about our frivolous media consumption: popular culture is about fun and pleasure, yet it is because of this that it retains and wields such power.