Relatability, Feminism, and the Shifting Sexual Contract
In the wake of observations of the recent resurgence of feminism in Western media culture, this chapter examines how relatability structures the way feminism appears in the blogs. Whilst not arguing that the blogs are ‘postfeminist’ or ‘feminist’ per se, this chapter follows how feminist ideas and feelings are articulated in the everyday experiences shared in this public according to particular affective requirements. Drawing on McRobbie’s (The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change, Sage, London, 2009) insights into the management and accommodation of feminism within neoliberal capitalism, this chapter suggests that the feminist feeling articulated by the blogs appears in accordance with narrow affective constraints. I suggest that relatability can be seen as part of the sites of capacity mandated in what McRobbie (The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change, Sage, London, 2009) has termed the postfeminist sexual contract, requiring the girlfriendly attribute of being liked by other women, within particular terms of normativity. However, this relatable feminism also indicates that rather than the traditional repudiation and ‘pastness’ of feminism associated with the concept of postfeminism, feminism is subject to the requirements of distillation, balance and classification as explored in this book. Feminism becomes plastic and malleable, something that is articulated affectively, and may indeed be considered ‘appropriate’ if performed according to the requisite feeling rules.
KeywordsPostfeminist sexual contract Popular feminism Neoliberal feminism
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