Feminism/Post-Feminism in Popular Culture

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feminism pop culture, , feminist studies current, and feminist post-feminist popular culture

Baer, H. (2016). Redoing feminism: digital activism, body politics, and neoliberalism. Feminist Media Studies, 16(1), 17-34.

This study looks at the influence of digital platforms in projecting feminism in the 21st century. The author discusses subjects such as Pussy Riot and Twitter movements like #YesAllWomen. The point the author makes is that neoliberal societies are still oppressive towards women and that feminism is both needed and alive on social and digital media. This source comes from a peer-reviewed journal and is relevant to my topic of interest because it discusses whether feminism is still possible or prevalent in the 21st century, since it seems so often taken for granted. The strength of the article is its case study focus with specific examples of feminism on digital platforms. The main weakness of the article is its lack of discussion on post-feminism and what it means for feminism in popular culture.

Castillo, M. (2019). Hesitating to go see Captain Marvel? Then you must be a bad feminist. Retrieved from

This article discusses why Feminists are expected to cheer on any movie produced by Hollywood that stars a strong or heroic female lead. The author takes issue with this expectation and argues that Hollywood is trying to exploit the Feminist movement in order to market its wares to audiences. The author argues that criticseven Feminist criticsare not permitted to criticize a film if it is marketed as a Feminist film, which the author contends is bad both for the Feminist movement and for film criticism. The source is a website newspaperThe Washington Postand it is relevant to my study because it shows how Feminism can be exploited in pop culture for corporatist gains. The strength of the article is that it calls out the hypocrisy of corporations trying to sell Feminism to audiences and not accepting any criticism from anyone, whether Feminist or anti-Feminist. The weakness of the article is that it does not really discuss whether Captain Marvel, the pop culture source of controversy, is good or bad.

Dickson, E. J. (2019). How Lean In Feminism Created Elizabeth Holmes and the Toxic Ladyboss. Retrieved from

This article discusses the subject of lean in Feminism, a concept propagated by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. The author explains why this type of Feminism is actually bad both for women and for companies. She uses the example of Elizabeth Holmes and the debacle that was Theranos to make her point. The source for this article is the popular magazine Rolling Stone and its relevance to my topic is that it shows how Feminism can be misapplied today in the corporate world. Its strength is its use of a Theranos as a ready-made example of the toxic Ladyboss and its weakness is that it does not discuss at great length a pro-argument for lean in Feminism.

Gill, R. (2007). Postfeminist media culture: Elements of a sensibility. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 10(2), 147-166.

This study examines the way in which women present themselves in media today and what it shows about perceptions of power, strength, authority and creativity. The ideas of post-feminism suggest that sexuality is now viewed by women as a tool for gaining leverage over men, whereas this was not such an explicit or accepted idea among early Feminists. The source is a peer-reviewed journal and its relevance to my topic is that it explains a gulf or gap between Feminist and Post-Feminist ideas. Its strength is its use of media examples that show how Feminism has morphed into Post-Feminism. Its weakness is that it does not, ultimately, say whether this is a natural development or a corruption of earlier Feminism.

Kang, I. (2019). That Movie About Charlize Theron Falling for a Schlubby Seth Rogen Is Actually Pretty Feminist. Retrieved from https://slate..html

The author makes the argument that the film Long Shot is a perfectly Feminist film in popular culture because it shows how a man can be happy supporting a high-powered wife, which is what women were doing for men prior to the arrival of the Feminist movement. The source of this article is the online site Slate and its relevance to my topic is that it discusses how Feminism is still being represented well in mainstream pop culture expressions. Its strength is its ability to show how a Seth Rogen film contains Feminist ideals. Its weakness is that it does not consider to a great extent that the fantastical elements of the film actually undermine the Feminist ideal and make it seem unrealistic.

Krischer, H. (2017). Everyday Sexism in a ‘Post-Feminist’ World. Retrieved from

The author explains how even though Feminism is paid lip service in popular culture, the same old sexist jokes and challenges are still faced by girls, especially those going to secondary school. The article explains that post-Feminism is actually a defeat for Feminism because it suggests that Feminism has succeeded when the reality is that sexism is still deeply ingrained in popular culture. The source for the article is the online site The Atlantic and its relevance to my topic is that it shows how Post-Feminism is masking over the realities of gender inequality underneath the supposedly Feminist-accepting popular culture of today. Its strength is its reference to real-world women and girls who discuss their experiences of sexism in school. Its weakness is that it does not give much focus on why after all these years of Feminism, sexism still exists.

Mulvey, L. (1975). Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. Screen, 16(3), 6-18.

This seminal article on Feminism shows how women are used as eye candy to please males in modern cinema. The author uses numerous examples of women in film to show that they are being exploited for their looks in order to sell tickets to male audiences. The author argues that this is against the ideals of Feminism. The source is the peer-reviewed journal Screen and its relevance to my topic is that it indicates how different Feminist and are. The strength of the article is its definition of Feminism from the early days. Its weakness is that it does not envision Post-Feminism in which women are perfectly happy to be eye candy for the male gaze for the reason that they feel it gives them control.

Richter, L. (2015). Rebel girl and the wrecking ballthe cruel optimism of empowerment

and the revival of feminism in contemporary popular music. Multilingual Discourses, 2(1, 2).

The author argues that the modern pop music icons like Miley Cyrus and Pussy Riot are good for the Feminist Movement because they are rebellious, even if they embrace the idea of exploiting their sexuality for the purposes of control. The argument flies in the face of Mulvaneys and thus shows an inconsistency at the heart of what Feminism is, was or should be. The source is from a peer-reviewed journal, and its relevance to my topic is in its focus on pop culture female icons as Feminists. Its strength is that it defines Feminism in rebellious terms. Its weakness is that dismisses the argument that exploitation is an issue to be discussed, as Sinead OConnor said it should be in her letter to Cyrus after her MTV grinding performance.

Stanford, E. (2019). How the Showrunner of Netflixs You Took Aim at Self-Righteous

Male Feminists. Retrieved from

The author discusses the pop culture show You and explains how it deconstructs the male Feminist who thinks he knows what is best for women. The article describes the show and why it works in terms of undermining mansplaining for Millennials. The source is the New York Times and its relevance to my topic is its focus on a pop culture TV show that attacks the idea of Feminist men who are only posing as Feminists. It strength is its ability to explain why the show works in this way, but its weakness is its lack of substance in terms of examples of what a male Feminist should be like.

Unger, M. A. (2015). The Aporia of Presentation: Deconstructing the Genre of K?pop

Girl Group Music Videos in South Korea. Journal of Popular Music Studies, 27(1), 25-47.

This author looks at the inherent contradiction of todays pop culture Feminist/Post-Feminist music icons as they demonstrate empowerment yet also embrace the idea of being objectified and reduced to a commodity based on appearance and sex appeal. The source is a peer-reviewed journal and its relevance to my topic is that it discusses the contradiction of what Feminism means today. Its strength is its willingness to discuss this contradiction directly. Its weakness is that it does not arrive at any type of conclusion to explain why this contradiction exists, where it comes from or what it means.