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Confessions of a Free Woman: telling feminist stories in postfeminist media culture
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Cinema Studies.
2009 (English)In: Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, ISSN 2000-4214, Vol. 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Since its inception in late 1980s, the notion of postfeminism has been a highly contested term. While today circulating as an established description of ‘‘prime time feminism,’’ a highly visible media discourse of gender and sexuality that foregrounds individualism and consumerist tropes of choice and empowerment, its meanings for feminism as political agenda and cultural criticism nevertheless remain a point of disagreement. Is postfeminist discourse of gender and sexuality to be seen as a sign of second-wave feminism being partially incorporated into mainstream narratives? Or, rather, does it articulate a historical shift within feminist thought and cultural imaginary itself, or even a break-up with or a rejection of feminist historical legacy? In this article, these issues are investigated through a reading of a six-hour documentary Flying*Confessions of a Free Woman 1-6 (Jennifer Fox 2007, Easy Films, Denmark and Zohe Film Productions, USA) as a case of highbrow postfeminist television. Investigating how the documentary constructs an account of ‘‘the modern female life’’ in a global perspective, the article argues that Flying both articulates a sense of historicity and denies it. While never uttering the f-word, in its refiguring domestic ethnography as a mode of autobiographical self-interrogation, the documentary series evokes, albeit implicitly, a number of key tropes of 1960-1970s radical feminism: the notion of personal as political, the investment in consciousness-raising as a form of activism, the emphasis on shared experiences and emotions, and the idea of global sisterhood. As a consequence, it is argued, feminist critique is acknowledged and actualized only as an incitement to communication (sharing) and community-building in an affirmative sense. In this postfeminist story of feminism, hence, dissonant and critical voices are excluded as politics is reduced to an affect.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 1
Keyword [en]
documentary, television, feminism, postfeminism, intimacy, gender, confession
National Category
Studies on Film Gender Studies Media and Communications
Research subject
Cinema Studies; Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35616DOI: 10.3402/jac.v1i0.4644OAI: diva2:287616
Available from: 2010-01-19 Created: 2010-01-19 Last updated: 2012-01-04Bibliographically approved

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