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The Aftermath of Feminism

The Aftermath of Feminism
Gender, Culture and Social Change

November 2008 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
In this trenchant inquiry into the state of feminism, Angela McRobbie breaks open the politics of sexual equality and 'affirmative feminism' and sets down a new theory of gender power. Challenging the most basic assumptions of the 'end' of feminism, this book argues that invidious forms of gender re-stabilisation are being re-established. Consumer and popular culture encroach on the terrain of so-called female freedom, appearing supportive of female success, yet tying women into new post-feminist neurotic dependencies. With a scathing critique of 'women's empowerment', McRobbie has developed a distinctive feminist analysis that she uses to examine socio-cultural phenomena embedded in contemporary women's lives: from fashion photography and the television 'make-over' genre to eating disorders, body anxiety and 'illegible rage'.

A turning point in feminist theory, The Aftermath of Feminism will set a new agenda for gender studies and cultural studies.

Post Feminism and Popular Culture; Bridget Jones and the New Gender Regime
Feminism Undone? The Cultural Politics of Disarticulation
Top Girls? Young Women and the New Sexual Contract
Illegible Rage: Post-Feminist Disorders.
What Not to Wear; Post-Feminist Symbolic Violence
Conclusion; Inside and Outside the Feminist Academy

McRobbie has written a profound and profoundly disturbing analysis of the state of feminism in contemporary Britain. Weaving together analyses of culture, economics, politics and everyday life, this is a superb demonstration of why cultural studies matters, and of why McRobbie remains one of its most original and important contributors. This book will enlighten you, anger you, inspire you, and force you to ask new questions - I can't ask for anything more from a book.

Larry Grossberg
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

McRobbie has produced a landmark text. She argues for a form of feminism that is aware of the contemporary complexities of global media culture while still attentive to political questions of identity, engagement and justice. The Afternath of Feminism is highly sophisticated and theoretically informed, yet also readable and inspiring. It is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary cultural politics.

Claire Colebrook
University of Edinburgh

Angela McRobbie has written a courageous and much-needed book, exploring the after-effects of the shift to neoliberalism in which young women today can appear to have everything they wanted, presented in an array of choice and empowerment. She interrogates its dark underbelly and exposes the huge losses for women that ensue.


The inter-disciplinary nature of McRobbie's account is one of its strengths, drawing as it does on psychoanalysis, feminist sociology and cultural studies to provide a powerful breadth of analysis… for a thought-provoking and articulate analysis of what is left for feminism - and what has been lost - this book is excellent.

Psychology of Women Review

Angela McRobbie is one of the most prolific and inspiring feminist theorists in the wide field of cultural and media studies... the compilation of these essays in one volume brilliantly shows the consistency in McRobbie's analysis of gender in widely different contemporary cultural products and discourses.

Liesbet van Zoonen
European Journal of Women's Studies

To those feminists who assumed that women’s increased labor force participation and a handful of legal victories would, perhaps, engender a continuing commitment to socialist-feminist values, The Aftermath of Feminism is a sobering wake-up call. McRobbie’s various references to films, television, magazines, and popular culture are not simply a stroll down a post-feminist lane; rather, these texts help illuminate the forms of gender power which help produce and reproduce women’s continued domination and subordination. The book is an assault on 'gender mainstreaming', or the idea that, though feminism may have lost popularity as a public protest movement, it is alive and well 'behind the scenes' in the 'practical world of women’s issues'.

Read the full review here.

International Journal of Communication

Best book on the topic and it worked brilliantly for my class.

Dr Moya Luckett
Gallatin Sch Of Indivdual Stds, New York University
January 12, 2015

A really fascinating and provocative text, makes me wish we did more gender studies in our PR teaching!

Mrs Elizabeth Bridgen
Media Studies, De Montfort University
February 7, 2011

I am hoping that this book will be a valuable resource for my students when they are trying to understand concepts of female agency, the body and beauty practices. It is quite comprehensive but the level of scholarship/theory remains high which is a difficult balancing act. The examples make this book quite accessible, but the discussion of theory is complex and demanding, so I will be interested to see how readable my students find it.

Dr Sarah Cheang
Cultural and Historical Studies, London College of Fashion
October 25, 2009

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