POST-FEMINISM AND POPULAR CULTURE
Introduction: Complexiﬁcation of Backlash?
This article presents a series of possible conceptual frames for engaging with what
has come to be known as post-feminism. It understands post-feminism to refer to an
active process by which feminist gains of the 1970s and 80s come to be undermined. It
proposes that through an array of machinations, elements of contemporary popular
culture are perniciously effective in regard to this undoing of feminism, while simul-
taneously appearing to be engaging in a well-informed and even well-intended response
to feminism. It then proposes that this undoing which can be perceived in the broad
cultural ﬁeld is compounded by some dynamics in sociological theory (including the work
of Giddens and Beck) which appear to be most relevant to aspects of gender and social
change. Finally it suggests that by means of the tropes of freedom and choice which are
now inextricably connected with the category of “young women,” feminism is decisively
aged and made to seem redundant. Feminism is cast into the shadows, where at best it
can expect to have some afterlife, where it might be regarded ambivalently by those
young women who must in more public venues stake a distance from it, for the sake of
social and sexual recognition. I propose a complexiﬁcation then of the backlash thesis
which gained currency within forms of journalism associated with popular feminism
(Susan Faludi 1992).
The backlash for Faludi was a concerted, conservative response to the achieve-
ments of feminism. My argument is that post-feminism positively draws on and invokes
feminism as that which can be taken into account, to suggest that equality is achieved,
in order to install a whole repertoire of new meanings which emphasise that it is no
longer needed, it is a spent force. This was most vivid in The Independent (UK) newspaper
column Bridget Jones’s Diary, then in the enormously successful book and ﬁlm which
followed.1 For my purposes here, post-feminism permits the close examination of a
number of intersecting but also conﬂicting currents. It allows us to examine shifts of
direction in the feminist academy, while also taking into account the seeming repudiation
of feminism within this very same academic context by those young women who are its
unruly (student) subjects. Broadly I am arguing that for feminism to be “taken into
account” it has to be understood as having already passed away. This is a movement
detectable across popular culture, a site where “power … is remade at various junctures
within everyday life, (constituting) our tenuous sense of common sense” (Judith Butler,
Ernesto Laclau & Slavoj Zizek 2000, p. 14). Some ﬂeeting comments in Judith Butler’s short
book Antigone’s Claim (2000) suggests to me that post-feminism can be explored through
what I would describe as a “double entanglement”. This comprises the co-existence of
neo-conservative values in relation to gender, sexuality and family life (for example,
George Bush supporting the campaign to encourage chastity among young people, and
Feminist Media Studies Vol. 4, No. 3, 2004
ISSN 1468-0777 print/ISSN 1471-5902 online/04/030255-10
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd DOI: 10.1080/1468077042000309937
in March 2004 declaring that civilisation itself depends on traditional marriage), with
processes of liberalisation in regard to choice and diversity in domestic, sexual and
kinship relations (for example, gay couples now able to adopt, foster or have their own
children by whatever means, and in the UK at least, full rights to civil partnerships). It also
encompasses the co-existence of feminism as at some level transformed into a form of
Gramscian common sense, while also ﬁercely repudiated, indeed almost hated (Angela
McRobbie 2003). The taken into accountness permits all the more thorough dismantling
of feminist politics and the discrediting of the occasionally voiced need for its renewal.
Feminism Dismantling Itself
The impact of this “double entanglement” which is manifest in popular and political
culture, coincides however, with feminism in the academy ﬁnding it necessary to
dismantle itself. For the sake of periodisation, we could say that 1990 (or thereabouts)
marks a turning point, the moment of deﬁnitive self-critique in feminist theory. At this
time the representational claims of second wave feminism come to be fully interrogated
by post-colonialist feminists like Spivak, Trinh, and Mohanty among others, and by
feminist theorists like Butler and Haraway who inaugurate the radical de-naturalising of
the post-feminist body (Judith Butler 1990; Donna Haraway 1991; Chandra T. Mohanty
1995; Gayatri Spivak 1988; T. Minha Trinh 1989). Under the prevailing inﬂuence of
Foucault, there is a shift away from feminist interest in centralised power blocks—e.g., the
State, patriarchy, law—to more dispersed sites, events and instances of power conceptu-
alised as ﬂows and speciﬁc convergences and consolidations of talk, discourse, and
attentions. The body and also the subject come to represent a focal point for feminist
interest, nowhere more so than in the work of Butler. The concept of subjectivity and the
means by which cultural forms and interpellations (or dominant social processes) call
women into being, produce them as subjects whilst ostensibly merely describing them as
such, inevitably means that it is a problematically “she,” rather than an unproblematically
“we,” which is indicative of a turn to what we might describe as the emerging politics of
post-feminist inquiry (Butler 1990, 1993).
In feminist cultural studies the early 1990s also marks a moment of feminist
reﬂexivity. In her article “Pedagogies of the Feminine” Brunsdon queried the hitherto
assumed use value to feminist media scholarship of the binary opposition between
femininity and feminism, or as she put it the extent to which the “housewife” or “ordinary
woman” was conceived of as the assumed subject of attention for feminism (Charlotte
Brunsdon  1997). Looking back we can see how heavily utilised this dualism was,
and also how particular it was to gender arrangements for largely white and relatively
afﬂuent (i.e. housewifely) women. The year 1990 also marked the moment at which the
concept of popular feminism found expression. Andrea Stuart (1990) considered the
wider circulation of feminist values across the landscape of popular culture, in particular
magazines, where quite suddenly issues which had been central to the formation of the
women’s movement like domestic violence, equal pay, and workplace harassment, were
now addressed to a vast readership. The wider dissemination of feminist issues was also
a key concern in my own writing at this time, in particular the intersection of these new
representations with the daily lives of young women who as subjects (“called into being”)
of popular feminism, might then be expected to embody more emboldened (though also
of course “failed”) identities. This gave rise to the idea of feminist success. Of course no
POST-FEMINISM AND POPULAR CULTURE
sooner is the word “success” written than it is queried. How could this be gauged? What
might be the criteria for judging degrees of feminist success?
Admittedly there is some extravagance in my claim for feminist success. It might be
more accurate to remark on the keen interest across the quality and popular media
(themselves wishing to increase their female readers and audiences), in ideas of female
success. As feminist values are indeed taken on board within a range of institutions,
including law, education, to an extent medicine, likewise employment, and the media,
high proﬁle or newsworthy achievement of women and girls in these sectors shows the
institutions to be modern and abreast with social change. This is the context then within
which feminism is acknowledged and this is what I mean by feminism taken into account.
Feminist success has, so far, only been described sporadically (for accounts of girls’
achievement in education see Madeleine Arnot, Miriam David & Gaby Weiner 1999; and
also Anita Harris 2003). Within media and cultural studies both Brunsdon and myself have
each considered how with feminism as part of the academic curriculum, i.e. “canonised,”
then it is not surprising that it might also be countered, that is feminism must face up to
the consequences of its own claims to representation and power, and not be so surprised
when young women students decline the invitation to identify as a “we” with their
feminist teachers and scholars (Charlotte Brunsdon  1997; Angela McRobbie 1999a).
This interface between the feminist academy and the student body has also been
discussed in US feminist journals particularly in regard to the decline of women’s studies
(Wendy Brown 1997). Back in the early 1990s and following Butler, I saw this sense of
contestation on the part of young women, and what I would call their “distance from
feminism” as one of potential, where a lively dialogue about how feminism might develop
would commence (Judith Butler 1992; Angela McRobbie 1994). Indeed it seemed in the
very nature of feminism that it gave rise to dis-identiﬁcation as a kind of requirement for
its existence. But still, it seems now, over a decade later, that this space of “distance from
feminism” and those utterances of forceful non-identity with feminism have consolidated
into something closer to repudiation rather than ambivalence, and it is this vehemently
denunciatory stance which is manifest across the ﬁeld of popular gender debate. This is
the cultural space of post-feminism.
In this context it requires both imagination and hopefulness to argue that the
active, sustained, and repetitive repudiation or repression of feminism also marks its (still
fearful) presence or even longevity (as afterlife). What I mean by this is that there are
different kinds of repudiation and different investments in such a stance. The more gentle
denunciations of feminism (as in the ﬁlm Bridget Jones’s Diary) co-exists however with the
shrill championing of young women as a “metaphor for social change” on the pages of
the right wing press in the UK, in particular the Daily Mail. This anti-feminist endorsement
of female individualisation is embodied in the ﬁgure of the ambitious “TV blonde” (Angela
McRobbie 1999b).2 These so-called “A1” girls are glamorous high-achievers destined for
Oxford or Cambridge and are usually pictured clutching A-level certiﬁcates. We might say
these are ideal girls, subjects par excellence, and also subjects of excellence. Nor are these
notions of female success exclusive to the changing representations of young women in
the countries of the afﬂuent west. As Gayatri Spivak (1999) has argued in the impover-
ished zones of the world, governments and NGOs also look to the minds and bodies of
young women for whom education comes to promise enormous economic and demo-
graphic rewards. Young women are a good investment, they can be trusted with
micro-credit, they are the privileged subjects of social change. But the terms of these
great expectations on the part of governments are that young women must do without
more autonomous feminist politics. What is consistent is the over-shadowing indeed
displacement of feminism as a political movement. It is this displacement which reﬂects
Butler’s sorrowful account of Antigone’s life after death. Her shadowy, lonely existence,
suggests a modality of feminist effectivity as spectral, she has to be cast out, indeed
entombed for social organisation to once again become intelligible.
The media has become the key site for deﬁning codes of sexual conduct. It casts
judgement and establishes the rules of play. Across these many channels of communi-
cation feminism is routinely disparaged. This is another Butler point, why is feminism so
hated? Why do young women recoil in horror at the very idea of the feminist? To count
as a girl today appears to require this kind of ritualistic denunciation, which in turn
suggests that one strategy in the disempowering of feminism includes it being histori-
cised and generationalised and thus easily rendered out of date. It would be far too
simplistic to trace a pattern in media from popular feminism (or “prime time feminism”
including TV programmes like L.A. Law) in the early 1990s, to niche feminism (BBC Radio
4, Women’s Hour, and the Women’s Page of The Guardian newspaper), in the mid-1990s,
and then to overtly unpopular feminism (new century), as though these charted a
chronological “great moving right show” as Stuart Hall might put it (1989). We would
need a more developed conceptual schema to account for the simultaneous feminisation
of popular media with this accumulation of ambivalent, fearful responses. We would
certainly need to signal the full enfranchisement of women in the west, of all ages as
audiences, active consumers of media and the many products it promotes, and by virtue
of education, earning power, and consumer identity a sizeable block of target market. We
would also need to be able to theorise female achievement predicated not on feminism,
but on “female individualism,” on success which seems to be based on the invitation to
young women by various governments that they might now consider themselves free to
compete in education and in work as privileged subjects of the new meritocracy. Is this
then the new deal for, in the UK, New Labour’s “modern” young women, female
individualisation and the new meritocracy at the expense of feminist politics?
There are various sites within popular culture where this work of undoing feminism
with some subtlety becomes visible (see also Charlotte Brunsdon 2004). The Wonderbra
advert showing the model Eva Herzigova looking down admiringly at her substantial
cleavage enhanced by the lacy pyrotechnics of the Wonderbra, was through the mid-
1990s positioned in major high street locations in the UK on full size billboards. The
composition of the image had such a textbook “sexist ad” dimension that one could be
forgiven for supposing some familiarity with both cultural studies and with feminist
critiques of advertising (Judith Williamson 1987). It was, in a sense, taking feminism into
account by showing it to be a thing of the past, by provocatively “enacting sexism” while
at the same time playing with those debates in ﬁlm theory about women as the object
of the gaze (Laura Mulvey 1975) and even with female desire (Rosalind Coward 1984;
Teresa de Lauretis 1988). The picture is in noirish black and white and refers explicitly
POST-FEMINISM AND POPULAR CULTURE
through its captions (from “Hello Boys” to “Or Are You Just Pleased To See Me?”) to
Hollywood and the famous lines of the actress Mae West. Here is an advertisement which
plays back to its viewers, well known aspects of feminist media studies, ﬁlm theory and
semiotics, indeed it almost offers (albeit crudely) the viewer or passing driver Laura
Mulvey’s theory of women as object of the gaze projected as cityscape within the frame
of the billboard. Also mobilised in this ad is the familiarity of the term “political
correctness,” the efﬁcacy of which resides in its warranting and unleashing such energetic
reactions against the seemingly tyrannical regime of feminist puritanism. Everyone and
especially young people can give a sigh of relief. Thank goodness it is permissible, once
again, to enjoy looking at the bodies of beautiful women. At the same time the
advertisement expects to provoke feminist condemnation as a means of generating
publicity. Thus generational differences are also generated, the younger female viewer,
along with her male counterparts, educated in irony and visually literate, is not made
angry by such a repertoire. She appreciates its layers of meaning; she gets the joke.
When in a TV advertisement (1998/9) another supermodel, Claudia Schiffer, took off
her clothes as she descended a ﬂight of stairs in a luxury mansion on her way out of the
door towards her new Citreon car, a similar rhetoric is at work. This advert appears to
suggest that yes, this is a self-consciously “sexist ad,” feminist critiques of it are deliber-
ately evoked. Feminism is “taken into account,” but only to be shown to be no longer
necessary. Why? Because there is no exploitation here, there is nothing remotely naı¨ve
about this striptease. She seems to be doing it out of choice, and for her own enjoyment;
the advert works on the basis of its audience knowing Claudia to be one of the world’s
most famous and highly paid supermodels. Once again, the shadow of disapproval is
introduced (the striptease as site of female exploitation), only instantly to be dismissed as
belonging to the past, to a time when feminists used to object to such imagery. To make
such an objection nowadays would run the risk of ridicule. Objection is pre-empted with
irony. In each of these cases a spectre of feminism is invoked so that it might be undone;
for male viewers tradition is restored or as Beck puts it there is “constructed certitude,”
while for the girls what is proposed is a movement beyond feminism, to a more
comfortable zone where women are now free to choose for themselves (Ulrich Beck
If we turn attention to some of the participatory dynamics in leisure and everyday
life which see young women endorse (or else refuse to condemn) the ironic normalisation
of pornography, where they indicate their approval of and desire to be pin up girls for the
centrefolds of the soft porn “lad mags,” where it is not at all unusual to pass young
women in the street wearing T-shirts bearing phrases such as “Porn Queen” or “Pay To
Touch” across the breasts, and where in the UK at least young women quite happily
attend lap dancing clubs (perhaps as a test of their sophistication and “cool”), we are
witness to a hyper-culture of commercial sexuality, one aspect of which is the repudiation
of a feminism invoked only to be summarily dismissed (see also Rosalind Gill 2003). As a
mark of a post-feminist identity young women journalists refuse to condemn the
enormous growth of lap dancing clubs despite the opportunities available for them to do
so across the media. They know of the existence of the feminist critiques and debates (or
at least this is my claim) through their education, as Shelley Budgeon (2001) has described
the girls in her study, they are gender aware. Thus the new female subject is, despite her
freedom, called upon to be silent, to withhold critique, to count as a modern sophisti-
cated girl, or indeed this withholding of critique is a condition of her freedom. There is
quietude and complicity in the manners of generationally speciﬁc notions of cool, and
more precisely an uncritical relation to dominant commercially produced sexual represen-
tations 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.3
By using the term “female individualisation” I am explicitly drawing on the concept
of individualisation which is discussed at length by sociologists including Anthony
Giddens (1991), Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim (2002) as well as Zygmunt
Bauman (2000, 2001). This work is to be distinguished from the more directly Foucauldian
version found in the work of Nikolas Rose (2000). Although there is some shared ground
between these authors, insofar as they all reﬂect on the expectations that individuals now
avidly self-monitor and that there appears to be greater capacity on the part of
individuals to plan “a life of one’s own,” there are also divergences. Beck and Giddens are
less concerned with the effectivity of power in this new friendly guise as personal advisor,
and instead emphasise the enlargement of freedom and choice, while in contrast Rose
sees these modes of self government as marking out “the shaping of being,” and thus the
“inculcation of a form of life” (Rose 2000). Bauman bewails the sheer unviability of naked
individualisation as the resources of sociality (and welfare) are stripped away, leaving the
individual to self-blame when success eludes him or her. (It is also possible to draw a
political line between these authors with Bauman and Rose to the left, and Giddens and
Beck in the centre.4) My emphasis here is on the work of Giddens and Beck, for the very
reason that it appears to speak directly to the post-feminist generation. In their writing
there are only distant echoes (if that) of the feminist struggles that were required to
produce the new-found freedoms of young women in the west. There is little trace of the
battles fought, of the power struggles embarked upon, or of the enduring inequities
which still mark out the relations between men and women. All of this is airbrushed out
of existence on the basis that, as they claim, “emancipatory politics” has given way
instead to life politics (or in Beck’s terms the sub-politics of single interest groups).
Both of these authors provide a sociological account of the dynamics of social
change understood as “reﬂexive modernisation” (Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens & Scott
Lash 1994). The earlier period of modernisation (“ﬁrst modernity”) created a welfare
state and a set of institutions (e.g. education) which allowed people in the “second
modernity” to become more independent and able, for example, to earn their own
living. Young women are, as a result, now “dis-embedded” from communities where
gender roles were ﬁxed. And, as the old structures of social class fade away, and lose
their grip in the context of “late or second modernity,” individuals are increasingly
called upon to invent their own structures. They must do this internally and
individualistically, so that self-monitoring practices (the diary, the life plan, the career
pathway) replace reliance on set ways and structured pathways. Self-help guides,
personal advisors, lifestyle coaches and gurus, and all sorts of self-improvement TV
programmes provide the cultural means by which individualisation operates as a social
POST-FEMINISM AND POPULAR CULTURE
process. As the overwhelming force of structure fades so also does the capacity for
Individuals must now choose the kind of life they want to live. Girls must have a
lifeplan. They must become more reﬂexive in regard to every aspect of their lives, from
making the right choice in marriage, to taking responsibility for their own working lives,
and not being dependent on a job for life or on the stable and reliable operations of a
large-scale bureaucracy which in the past would have allocated its employees speciﬁc,
and possibly unchanging, roles. Beck and Giddens each place a different inﬂection on
their accounts of reﬂexive modernisation, and these arguments appear to ﬁt very directly
with the kinds of scenarios and dilemmas facing the young women characters in the
narratives of contemporary popular culture (especially so-called chick lit). There is also a
real evasion in this writing of the ongoing existence of deep and pernicious gender
inequities (most manifest for older women of all social backgrounds but also for young
black or Asian women, and also for working class young women), but so also are Beck and
Giddens inattentive to the regulative dimensions of the popular discourses of personal
choice and self improvement. Choice is surely, within lifestyle culture, a modality of
constraint. The individual is compelled to be the kind of subject who can make the right
choices. By these means new lines and demarcations are drawn between those subjects
who are judged responsive to the regime of personal responsibility, and those who fail
miserably. Neither Giddens nor Beck mount a substantial critique of these power relations
which work so effectively at the level of embodiment. They have no grasp that these are
productive of new realms of injury and injustice.
The ﬁlm Bridget Jones’s Diary (an international box ofﬁce success) draws together so
many of these sociological themes it could almost have been scripted by Anthony
Giddens himself. Aged 30, living and working in London, Bridget is a free agent, single
and childless and able to enjoy herself in pubs, bars and restaurants, she is the product
of modernity in that she has beneﬁted from those institutions (education) which have
loosened the ties of tradition and community for women, making it possible for them to
be disembedded and re-located to the city to earn an independent living without shame
or danger. However, this also gives rise to new anxieties. There is the fear of loneliness,
for example, the stigma of remaining single, and the risks and uncertainties of not ﬁnding
the right partner to be a father to children as well as a husband. In the ﬁlm the opening
sequence shows Bridget in her pyjamas worrying about being alone and on the shelf. The
soundtrack is All By Myself by Jamie McNeal and the audience laughs along with her, in
this moment of self doubt. We immediately know that what she is thinking is “what will
it be like if I never ﬁnd the right man, if I never get married?” Bridget portrays the whole
spectrum of attributes associated with the self-monitoring subject; she conﬁdes in her
friends, she keeps a diary, she endlessly reﬂects on her ﬂuctuating weight, noting her
calorie intake, she plans, plots and has projects. She is also deeply uncertain as to what
the future holds for her. Despite the choices she has, there are also any number of risks
of which she is regularly reminded; the risk that she might let the right man slip from
under her nose (hence she must always be on the lookout), the risk that not catching a
man at the right time might mean she misses the chance of having children (her
biological clock is counting). There is also the risk that partnerless she will be isolated,
marginalised from the world of happy couples. Now there is only the self to blame if the
right partner is not found.
With the burden of self-management so apparent, Bridget fantasies tradition. After
a ﬂirtatious encounter with her boss (played by Hugh Grant) she imagines herself in a
white wedding dress surrounded by bridesmaids, and the audience laughs loudly
because they, like Bridget, know that this is not how young women these days are meant
to think. Feminism has intervened to constrain these kinds of conventional desires. It is
then, a relief to escape this censorious politics and freely enjoy that which has been
disapproved of. Thus feminism is invoked in order that it is relegated to the past. But this
is not simply a return to the past, there are, of course, quite dramatic differences between
the various female characters of current popular culture from Bridget Jones to the girls
in Sex and the City and to Ally McBeal, and those found in girls’ and women’s magazines
from a pre-feminist era. The new young women are conﬁdent enough to declare their
anxieties about possible failure in regard to ﬁnding a husband, they avoid any aggressive
or overtly traditional men, and they brazenly enjoy their sexuality, without fear of the
sexual double standard. In addition, they are more than capable of earning their own
living, and the degree of suffering or shame they anticipate in the absence of ﬁnding a
husband is countered by sexual self-conﬁdence. Being without a husband does not mean
they will go without men.
With such light entertainment as this, suffused with irony and dedicated to
re-inventing highly successful women’s genres of ﬁlm and TV, a bold and serious
argument about feminism being so repudiated might seem heavy handed. These are
hardly rabid anti-feminist tracts. But relations of power are indeed made and re-made
within texts of enjoyment and rituals of relaxation and abandonment. These young
women’s genres are vital to the construction of a new “gender regime,” based on the
double entanglement which I have described; they endorse wholeheartedly what Rose
calls “this ethic of freedom,” and young women have come to the fore as the pre-eminent
subjects of this new ethic. These popular texts normalise post-feminist gender anxieties
so as to re-regulate young women by means of the language of personal choice. But even
“well regulated liberty” can backﬁre (the source of comic effect), and this in turn gives rise
to demarcated pathologies (leaving it too late to have a baby, failing to ﬁnd a good catch,
etc.) which carefully deﬁne the parameters of what constitutes liveable lives for young
women without the occasion of re-invented feminism.
Bridget Jones’s Diary appeared ﬁrst as a weekly column in The Independent UK newspa-
per in 1996, its author Helen Fielding then published the diaries in book form, and the
ﬁlm, Bridget Jones’s Diary directed by Sharon McGuire, opened in 2001.
The Daily Mail has the highest volume of female readers of all daily newspapers in the
UK. Its most frequent efforts in regard to promoting a post-feminist sensibility involve
commissioning well known former feminists to recant, and blame feminism for contem-
porary ills among women, for example, Saturday August 23, 2003 has Fay Weldon on
“Look What We’ve Done.” The caption then reads, “For years feminists campaigned for
sexual liberation. But here, one of their leaders admits all they have created is a new
generation of women for whom sex is utterly joyless and hollow” (pp. 12–13).
POST-FEMINISM AND POPULAR CULTURE
By the normalisation of porn, or “ironic pornography” I am referring to the new popular
mainstreaming of what in the past would have been soft core pornography out of reach
of the young on the “top shelf.” In a post AIDS era, with sexual frankness as an
imperative for prevention, the commercial UK youth media now produce vast quantities
of explicit sexual material for the teenage audience, in recent years and as a strategy
for being ahead of the competition this has been incorporated into the language of
“cool.” With irony as a trademark of knowingness, sexual cool entails “being up for it”
(i.e. lap dancing clubs) without revealing any misgivings, never mind criticism, on the
basis of the distance entailed in the ironic experience.
Anthony Giddens is architect of the Third Way politics which were embraced by New
Labour in its ﬁrst term of ofﬁce; this polemic in turn drew on his earlier work titled
Beyond Left and Right (Anthony Giddens 1995, 1998). Likewise Ulrich Beck was connec-
ted with the Neue Mitte in Germany, though the German Third Way had rather less
success than its UK counterpart.
ARNOT, MADELEINE, DAVID, MIRIAM & WEINER, GABY (1999) Closing the Gender Gap, Polity Press,
BAUMAN, ZYGMUNT (2000) Liquid Modernity, Polity Press, Cambridge.
BAUMAN, ZYGMUNT (2001) The Individualised Society, Polity Press, Cambridge.
BECK, ULRICH (1992) Risk Society, Sage, London.
BECK, ULRICH & BECK-GERNSHEIM, ELISABETH (2002) Individualisation: Institutionalized Individualism and
Its Social and Political Consequences, Polity Press, Cambridge.
BECK, ULRICH, GIDDENS, ANTHONY & LASH, SCOTT (1994) Reﬂexive Modernization, Polity Press, Cambridge.
BROWN, WENDY (1997) ‘The impossibility of women’s studies’, Differences: A Journal of Feminist
Cultural Studies, vol. 9, pp. 79–102.
BRUNSDON, CHARLOTTE  (1997) Screen Tastes: Soap Opera to Satellite Dishes, Routledge,
BRUNSDON, CHARLOTTE (forthcoming, 2004) ‘Feminism, post-feminism: Martha, Martha, and
Nigella’, Cinema Journal.
BUDGEON, SHELLEY (2001) ‘Emergent feminist identities’, European Journal of Women’s Studies, vol.
8, no. 1, pp. 7–28, Sage, London.
BUTLER, JUDITH (1990) Gender Trouble, Routledge, New York.
BUTLER, JUDITH (1992) ‘Contingent foundations: feminism and the question of postmodernism’, in
Feminists Theorise the Political, eds J. Butler & J. W. Scott, Routledge, New York.
BUTLER, JUDITH (1993) Bodies That Matter, Routledge, New York.
BUTLER, JUDITH (2000) Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death, Columbia University
Press, New York.
BUTLER, JUDITH, LACLAU, ERNESTO & ZIZEK, SLAVOJ (eds) (2000) Contingency, Hegemony and Universality,
COWARD, ROSALIND (1984) Female Desire, Paladin, London.
DE LAURETIS, TERESA (1988) Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory Film and Fiction, Indiana
University Press, Bloomington, IN.
FALUDI, SUSAN (1992) Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women, Vintage, London.
GIDDENS, ANTHONY (1991) Modernity and Self Identity, Polity Press, Cambridge.
GIDDENS, ANTHONY (1995) Beyond Left and Right, Polity Press, Cambridge.
GIDDENS, ANTHONY (1998) The Third Way, Polity Press, Cambridge.
GILL, ROSALIND (2003) ‘From sexual objectiﬁcation to sexual subjectiﬁcation: the resexualisation
of women’s bodies in the media’, Feminist Media Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 100–106.
HALL, STUART (1989) The Hard Road to Renewal, Verso, London.
HARAWAY, DONNA (1991) Simians Cyborgs and Women, Free Association Books, London.
HARRIS, ANITA (2003) Future Girl, Routledge, New York.
MCROBBIE, ANGELA (1994) Postmodernism and Popular Culture, Routledge, London.
MCROBBIE, ANGELA (1999a) In the Culture Society, Routledge, London.
MCROBBIE, ANGELA (1999b) ‘Feminism v the TV Blondes’, Inaugural lecture Goldsmiths College
University of London.
MCROBBIE, ANGELA (2003) ‘Mothers and fathers who needs them? A review essay of Butler’s
Antigone’, Feminist Review, vol. 73, Autumn, Palgrave, London.
MOHANTY, CHANDRA T. (1995) ‘Under western eyes’, in The Postcolonial Studies reader, eds B.
Ashcroft, G. Grifﬁths & H. Tifﬁn, Routledge, London.
MULVEY, LAURA (1975) ‘Visual pleasure and narrative cinema’, Screen, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 6–18.
ROSE, NIKOLAS (2000) Powers of Freedom, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
SPIVAK, GAYATRI (1988) ‘Can the subaltern speak?’, in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, eds
C. Nelson & L. Grossberg, University of Illinois Press, Chicago, IL, pp. 271–317.
SPIVAK, GAYATRI (1999) A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
STUART, ANDREA (1990) ‘Feminism dead or alive?’, in Identity, ed. J. Rutherford, Lawrence and
TRINH, T. MINHA (1989) Woman Native Other, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.
WILLIAMSON, JUDITH (1987) Decoding Advertisements, Marion Boyars, London.
Angela McRobbie is Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths College, University of
London, and is author of books and many articles on young women, popular
culture, the culture industries and feminism. E-mail: email@example.com