Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Post: Postfeminism

GROUP NAMES: Darshana Sreedhar , Julia Van Valkenburg, Raymond Talovera, Anna Ogunkunle,  Christian Harris, Zeke Saber 

Summary Notes of Articles
Postfeminism is trying to use ambivalence and irony
Bringing together neoconservative ideas under the garb of neoliberalism
Lack of political commitment doesn’t give you a sense of community or shared ideas
It’s all fragmented and there’s no set of values--very individualistic
Common sense
Subjectivity and experience in the sense of postfeminism
Is there an “us” at the end of the day or is it always about you
Privilege and access to certain commodities based on status
Structure where you don’t have to think about it because of privilege
Who claims the label of feminist? 
-Is it given to you or do you choose to be associated and labeled to it based on choice?
Is postfeminism constructing to be inclusive?
Meritocracy is part of postfeminism and they overlap
Individual and free of politics 

Jess Butler
“As these criteria suggest, postfeminism is, by definition, incredibly ambivalent: it simultaneously rejects feminist activism in favor of feminine consumption and celebrates the success of feminism while declaring its irrelevance.” (44)
  • Here, Butler points out the negotiation postfeminists must perform by distancing themselves from the issues that plagued waves of feminism, like exclusivity, as well as celebrating prior waves of feminisms political successes. It also highlights the requirement that post feminists buy into neoliberal values of individualism and consumption.

“Yet, while third-wave feminism actively engages with feminist history, if only to deem it inadequate, postfeminism displaces or replaces feminism altogether.” (42)
  • In this quote, Butler is further juxtaposing the differences between third-wave feminism and post-feminism to further accentuate her overall point that postfeminism’s main goal is to disassociate itself from feminism.  She is highlighting the two kinds of contemporary feminists where although they both see past movements as somewhat antiquated, at least one side of the spectrum is willing to continue with a political discourse.

“Propped up by the (imagines) success of the women’s movement, a sex-positive (and racially exclusive) feminist legacy, and the ever-expanding neoliberal celebrations of autonomy, individualism, and consumer choice, postfeminism surfaces as a more attractive alternative to previous forms of gender politics.” (41)
  • Here, Butler points out the depoliticization of postfeminism thanks to feminism’s “completion of its goals” in addition to postfeminism’s cooptation of neoliberal values.

Sarah Benet Weiser
“Given the contemporary representation context, what are the consequences when race or gender becomes cultural--a “competency” or mode of consumption witching the world of media entertainment.” (205)
  • This question acts as the thrust of Banet-Weiser’s article, in that it’s concerned with how the economic models of postracial television also inform the production of postfeminism. When race “or” (she says “or,” but might use “and” later in her article) gender are subsumed into a mode of consumption, what results is a sensibility through which reframed and commodified versions of feminist ideas/values are normalized. 

“In other words, the normalization of feminism has prevented it from existing as a discrete politics; rather it emerges as a kind of slogan or generalized “brand”. (208)
  • Benet-Weiser references the mainstreaming of feminism (pointing specifically to liberal feminism) as having the effect of depoliticizing the movement. Instead, and presumably as a result of the individualism and consumerism perpetuated by neorealism, feminism’s existence in popular culture becomes that of a label or brand. The quote contributes to Benet-Weiser’s position that postfeminism and current conceptions of feminism benefit consumerism in media culture.

“...McRobbie calls a “double failure,” for, “In its over-emphasis on agency and the apparent capacity to choose in a more individualized society, it has no way of showing how subject formation occurs by means of notions of choice and assumed gender equality coming together to actually ensure adherence to be new unfolding norms of femininity.” (208)
  • Sarah Benet-Weiser refers to McRobbie’s idea of “double failure” in arguing how postfeminism uses individualized identities to chisel agential possibilities to engage with self care. But there is a certain negation in this mode of subject formation as it creates isolated individuals who can choose from a set of seemingly empowering choices only to be deluded into a double entanglement where political commitments are traded off for fragmented sensibilities of empowerment.

Angela McRobbie
“To count as a girl today appears to require this kind of ritualistic denunciation, which in turn suggests that one strategy in the deem powering of feminism includes it being historicised and generation aliased and thus easily rendered out of date.” (258) 
  • The idea of feminism in the past has usually been in a negative and radical perspective by the media. Feminism is seen as this idea of denouncing many parts of being a woman and part of a political stance.Therefore, many girls and women of modern society don’t want to be aligned with the notion of feminism or being called a feminist because of its history. It tends to leave a negative impression of people and makes people seem radical and obscure.

“Although there is some shared ground between authors, insofar as they all reflect on the expectation that individuals now avidly self-monitor and that there appeared to be greater capacity on the part of individuals to plan “a life of one’s own,” there are also divergences.” (260)
  • McRobbie here is putting postfeminism in the larger context of neoliberal ideas.  She shows how both concepts overlap in the way that it puts emphasis on individuals bettering themselves.  The main crux of postfeminism focuses on choosing ideas of feminism that empowers oneself, and also through commodities, females can empower themselves if they so choose to be, creating this dialogue of meritocracy.  This female individualization is what Mcrobbie sees as the reason politics is erased from the conversation of postfeminist, mainly because we see it now as a self-managing problem and not a holistic issue.  
“There is quietude and complicity in the manner of generationally specific notions of cool, and more precisely an uncritical relation to dominant commercially produced sexual representations which actively invoke hostility to assumed feminist positions from the past in order to endorse a new regime of sexual meanings based on female consent, equality, participation and pleasure, free of politics.” (260)
  • McRobbie is pointing out that contemporary women face a different socio-political environment than their parents - one where it seems that all rights have been achieved and feminism is outdated. Feminism is no longer cool. Feminism brings to mind notions of incivility and anger. With these stigmas postfeminists do not critically engage as a group with the issues still plaguing women and instead subscribe to notions of achievements of individual rights.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 3 Intro
Angela McRobbie in her article talks about the female individuality. The women in the promo are self marketing and all about individual planning “a life of one’s own”. They each begin their short bio by using the pronoun “I” to reassert the individualistic thought of women in postfeminism. It’s also interesting that none of the women on the show are actually housewives and mainly business women that are in some way educated and part of the upper-middle/upper class. Butler extends the idea of postfeminism across race and how it can attribute to black women by referencing The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She says, “the women of color featured in the above representations clearly embody and enact postfeminism: they embrace feminist and the consumption of feminine goods; they espouse a vocabulary of independence, choice, empowerment, and sexual freedom, and they construct themselves (or are constructed by other) as heterosexual subjects” (48). The women on the show heavily embrace the consumption of goods and their individuality through their ability to consume products, whether it’s food or material objects. Many of their meetings are usually at a restaurant or a clothing stores which emphasizes their commercial mediation of their interactions.


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