Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny

Book Pages: 240 Illustrations: 33 illustrations Published: November 2018

American Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Media Studies

In Empowered Sarah Banet-Weiser examines the deeply entwined relationship between popular feminism and popular misogyny as it plays out in advertising, online and multimedia platforms, and nonprofit and commercial campaigns. Examining feminist discourses that emphasize self-confidence, body positivity, and individual achievement alongside violent misogynist phenomena such as revenge porn, toxic geek masculinity, and men's rights movements, Banet-Weiser traces how popular feminism and popular misogyny are co-constituted. From Black Girls Code and the Always #LikeAGirl campaign to GamerGate and the 2016 presidential election, Banet-Weiser shows how popular feminism is met with a misogynistic backlash of mass harassment, assault, and institutional neglect. In so doing, she contends that popular feminism's problematic commitment to visibility limits its potential and collective power.


"Empowered adroitly examines the context in which popular feminism is transformed into hateful and misogynistic rage." — Elisabeth Woronzoff, Popmatters

"Sarah Banet-Weiser offers an informative and readable account of popular feminism and popular misogynistic reactions to it. . . . Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty." — M. Morrissey, Choice

"Empowered offers an extremely timely and critical perspective toward understanding the current topology of feminism and misogyny in popular US culture and can benefit a wide range of readers. With its various tangible examples to illuminate the theorization of popular feminism and misogyny, general readers who don’t have prior knowledge on feminist research could enjoy reading it." — Dasol Kim, International Journal of Communication

"By citing relevant examples in mass media, Sarah rightfully critiques the visibility of feminism in juxtaposition to the continual growth and power misogyny holds in US culture. Read this book if you are interested in how media plays a role in shaping social justice issues through an accessible and clear picture of a seemingly concealed issue." — WATER

"Empowered presents insightful as well as bold arguments on the current status of popular feminism and its networked natures with popular misogyny." — Younghan Cho, International Journal of Communication

"Banet-Weiser’s engaging and clear prose, alongside her use of many contemporary examples from a number of cultural contexts, make the book accessible enough for advanced undergraduate or graduate students while still offering cogent and theoretically grounded argumentation to scholars." — Laura L. Beadling, Journal of American Culture

"Empowered is a crucial and much needed contribution to the debate around contemporary popular feminism and misogyny. In not shying away from exposing both the neoliberal influences of popular feminism, and from investigating the conflictual but nevertheless close entanglements between popular feminist and misogynist thought, Banet-Weiser provides an important keystone towards the reinvention of feminism as a radical and intersectional political project in the contemporary era." — Hannah Mueller, Communication Booknotes Quarterly

"Banet-Weiser’s straightforward writing style makes for a relatively easy read; the book deserves to be part of any library collection related to gender and women’s studies." — Nabeeha Chaudhary, Resources for Gender and Women's Studies

"Empowered is elegant, compelling, and provides an incisive critique of our times—a zeitgeist characterized in equal parts through inspired momentum on matters of gender justice and, simultaneously, met with vitriolic resistance at almost every turn. Empowered theorizes a significant relationship between popular feminism and popular misogyny; it also illuminates how Millennial and Gen Z generations arrive at mediated understandings of feminism." — Michelle Flood, Feminist Media Studies

“In Empowered, Sarah Banet-Weiser develops a framework for understanding the dynamics between what she calls ‘popular feminism and popular misogyny.’ Banet-Weiser signals that to understand popular feminism, we must explore it through its relationship with the other side of the coin: that is, misogyny…. [Empowered is] interesting, well crafted, and well written.” — Ea Høg Utoft, Signs

“Lessons about representation versus action and individual durability versus institutional and structural modification are core to thinking critically about real social change. It is these lessons that will make this sharply analytic book helpful to gender, culture, and media scholars alike, and a compelling read for undergraduate and graduate students in courses on consumption, media, and journalism, and on gender, sexuality, feminist theory, and content analysis.” — Kristen Barber, Gender & Society

“Taking seriously popular feminism and popular misogyny as sites of struggle, Banet-Weiser deftly addresses the increased popularity of feminism in the contemporary moment and the virulent backlash of misogyny situating both within a corporate, capitalist economy of visibility.” — Jeremiah Favara, Women's Studies International Forum

“In this carefully researched and theoretically daring book Sarah Banet-Weiser tells an engaging story about the social and cultural life of popular feminism in the age of social media and self-empowerment. Sorting out the connection between popular feminism and popular misogyny, Banet-Weiser shows how the cultural pressure to be seen and the social pressure to be liked form the perfect conditions for popular feminism, patriarchy, and misogyny to thrive. We need this important book now more than ever.” — Herman Gray, University of California, Santa Cruz

“This is a brilliant, incisive, and compelling read that helps us to think together two seemingly contrary trends: the current power of popular feminism alongside the chilling rise of vicious misogyny. This marvelous and brave book is a must-read.” — Rosalind Gill, author of Gender and the Media

“Put down that ‘Cats Against Patriarchy’ mug and hear a bitter truth: the friendly glimmer of popular feminism is shadowed at every turn by a virulent misogyny that's proven just as valuable in the cultural and political marketplace. In Empowered Sarah Banet-Weiser draws on years of scholarship to examine this fast-curdling symbiosis, tracing its persuasions and promises with an engrossing urgency.” — Andi Zeisler, author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movemen


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Price: $25.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sarah Banet-Weiser is Professor of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and author of Kids Rule! Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship, also published by Duke University Press, and AuthenticTM: The Politics of Ambivalence in Brand Culture.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface  ix
Acknowledgments  xiii
Introduction  1
1. The Funhouse Mirror  41
2. Shame: Love Yourself and Be Humiliated  65
3. Confidence: The Con Game  92
4. Competence: Girls Who Code and Boys Who Hate Them  129
Conclusion: Rage  171
Notes  187
References  193
Index  211
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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