Singled Out: Postfeminism's “New Woman” and the Dilemma of Having It All

Stephanie Genz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

First Page: All I ever wanted was to be rich and to be successful and to have three kids and a husband who was waiting home for me at night to tickle my feet … And look at me! I don't even like my hair. (Ally McBeal) “The term‘new woman’seems to reappear with nearly every generation,” Janet Lee remarks in her discussion of female/feminine representations (168). From the “‘new woman’ in the late nineteenth century, who so shocked society with her ‘independence,’ to that of the present day, who so preoccupies the theorists of ‘post-feminism,’” women have been presented with a regularly updated and evolving range of subject positions that celebrate assorted female roles and practices as improved and emancipatory versions of womanhood (Lee 168). The media has been instrumental in the construction and marketing of female subjectivities and it has urged women to leave behind their “old” self and change into the “new woman” of the moment. Popular culture reflects the transient and changing definitions of modernity and liberation as it propagates a number of diverse and even paradoxical forms of in vogue femaleness and femininity.1 The differing incarnations of the “new woman” are bound up with the socially and historically specific politics of identity that circumscribe and delineate the conditions of female subjectivity and agency. In this way, the concept of the “new woman” serves as “a recurrent sales technique” that promotes and sells a protean but durable image of female selfhood (Lee 168).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-119
JournalThe Journal Of Popular Culture
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

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