Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Interrogating Post-Feminism

1.) “Postfeminist culture’s centralization of an affluent elite certainly entails an emphatic individualism, but this information tends to confuse self-interest with individuality and elevates consumption as a strategy for healing those dissatisfactions that might alternately be understood in terms of social ills and discontents” (2). How is this solution different than how women have been viewed as consumers in the past? Tasker and Negra also discuss how post-feminist women must remain silent about feminism and uncritical of ‘hegemony’ and ‘patriarchy’ to maintain their freedoms (3). This silence combined with post-feminism’s emphasis on the “self as a project,” individual choice, etc. isolates women from the previous mass movement goals of feminism. Does post-feminism deprive us of a collective voice in exchange for new rationales for guilt-free consumerism? Is the right to be enthusiastic about the ability to perform patriarchal stereotypes sexually worth being denounced for articulating feminist discourse?

2.) The term post-feminism itself is troubling because it implies that feminism is both taken into account, and simultaneously irrelevant. Feminism has been transformed into a form of “Gramscian” common sense by society, and is simultaneously hated not only by men, but also ironically by women. Was the mainstream co-option of feminism only a hegemonic tool to support patriarchy under a guise of empowerment and choice? What triggered this denunciation of feminism, particularly by younger women? Is individualization replacing feminism—is the allegedly declining support for a political/social movement being replaced by the capacity for individual agency?

3.) Sarah Banet-Weiser says that gender and race identities, like Flavas, can be tried on. Does post-feminist culture make race and gender differences and identities into commodities for consumption? Weiser talks about how “race as flavor” and “girl power” are identity categories that are ambiguous instead of specific, would you categorize post-feminist identity construction that way? It seems counter to the individualization and promises of uniqueness created through materialism and consumption that post-feminism is known for. Why are Flavas different? Also, does the term post-racial have the same implications as post-feminism?

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