In the 1990s, as a feminist media studies scholar, I was reflecting on gender and popular culture and found myself intrigued by the various ways in which the rhetoric of “girl power” had found currency in so much of North America and Europe, from the Spice Girls to the Women's Soccer World Cup to television programs about self-confident, assertive, intelligent girls, for instance Nickelodeon's 1991 hit Clarissa Explains It All and the Cartoon Network's 1995 The Powerpuff Girls.1 “Girl power” practices and commodities were quickly becoming normative, and feminist and media scholars realized that these were not simply trends or fads, but part of an emerging culture: postfeminist culture. But postfeminism did not simply materialize within popular and commercial media. Like all political movements and practices, postfeminism has a history—not a linear one, to be sure—and its emergence as a normative frame for understanding gender relations is contingent...
Postfeminism and Popular Feminism
Sarah Banet-Weiser is a professor and director of the School of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California. She is the author of The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Beauty Pageants and National Identity (University of California Press, 1999), Kids Rule! Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship (Duke University Press, 2007), Authentic™: The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture (New York University Press, 2012), and the forthcoming Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny (Duke University Press, 2018). She is the coeditor of Cable Visions: Television beyond Broadcasting (New York University Press, 2007), Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times (New York University Press, 2012), and the forthcoming Race Post-Race: Culture, Critique and the Color Line (Duke University Press, 2019). She is currently the coeditor of the journal Communication, Culture, Critique.
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Sarah Banet-Weiser; Postfeminism and Popular Feminism. Feminist Media Histories 1 April 2018; 4 (2): 152–156. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2018.4.2.152
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