Cultural reviews explores pop culture in a uniquely fascinating and leading edge method. Encouraging experimentation, intervention and discussion, Cultural reviews is either politically and theoretically worthwhile.
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The male is rendered into an object of derision as his hypersexuality is rendered transparent. 21 When she refused to end her polemic, Mailer interrupted and called for a vote from the audience to end Johnston’s diatribe. 22 Mistaking the pause as their cue, two women bounded on stage for a theatrical enactment of ‘love making’ with Johnston. The three women offered a bodily performance (one that Johnston felt was far too tame) of lesbian erotics in ‘reserved public space’ (Miller, 1995). This cut against the very rules that constituted the moment and broke the codes of speech and bodily deportment.
Feminism in the popular has been consumed by and with ‘Girl Power’ and its corollaries. I am not concerned with feminism examining and making connections with youth, or with ‘young’ feminists, but instead with the exoticization, commodification and containment of feminism in a juvenile form and the implications and possibilities this might have for feminist politics and history in the USA. 1 Similarly, the most prominent discourses pertain to feminism’s death and its pubescence. While the discourses of feminism’s death are most explicitly visible (Bellafante, 1998; Brown, 1998; CNN/ Time, 1998; Deem, 2001), there are also intersecting discourses of feminism’s pubescence and its inability to mature (Wolcott, 1996; Bellafante, 1998; CNN/ Time, 1998).
Interestingly, this advent of cultural feminism and decline has everything to do with sexuality coming to the foreground for feminist politics. In this narrative, the feminist development of a counter public sphere—as articulated in the work of Rita Felski (1989) and Nancy Fraser (1992)—with its Habermasian roots becomes threatened as feminism is transformed from a political movement into a cultural one. Of course, the rupture of women as a cohesive category around the boundaries of sexuality is what, for Echols, displaces feminism from a political movement to a cultural one, thereby disrupting the democratic promise and political transformations of feminist counter publics.
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