Tag Archives: backlash

“Postfeminism” Backlash Flashback, 1998

Carrie Brownstein. This to me seemed very different in the '90s than...

A Facebook friend of mine just posted a June 1998 Time magazine article called “Feminism, It’s All About Me!,” which declared feminism all but over because of the rise of the “quintessentially self-absorbed postfeminist.”

It turned out this was the very article that went with the oft-cited “Is Feminism Dead?” cover! I had forgotten all about that article, and I don’t think in my radical Mary-Dalyfied state I had ever read it very closely, so it was super interesting to do so this morning (instead of working on my book).

It’s such an epic article! Evidence presented for the death of feminism includes: Courtney Love’s makeover, The Vagina Monologues, Bust magazine, the Spice Girls, Gloria Steinem forgiving Bill Clinton for his affair, Bridget Jones, Katie Roiphe, Rebecca Walker, Naomi Wolf, Alanis Morissette, Elizabeth Wurtzel, “sex-abuse-survivor syndrome,” and especially Ally McBeal.

...this.

The author, Ginia Bellafante, suggests that a societal critique is far more important for a feminist movement than focusing on the personal or talking about vibrators. She concludes by favorably quoting “Old Guard feminists” Betty Friedan and Susan Brownmiller describing younger feminists’ focus on sex as “stupid.”

The article’s conclusion: “Is Ally McBeal really progress? Maybe if she lost her job and wound up a single mom, we could begin a movement again.”

Whoa. So much in here. Continue reading

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The Bossypants Backlash

When I was working at NY magazine a thousand years ago, Tina Fey was honored at a luncheon the magazine was hosting. Fey went up to accept her award and said (at least this is how I remember it):

“A lot of young women come up to me and ask, ‘What advice do you have for me? How can I get where you are?’ And I tell each of those women the same thing… ‘Back off bitch, I’m working this corner.'”

That joke previewed a theme of her book: “You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.Continue reading

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Rebecca Traister’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry”

Ward Sutton for Barnes & Noble - click for the whole comic-review.

Salon writer Rebecca Traister’s eagerly awaited book about the last election, Big Girls Don’t Cry,  is out now. It’s gotten amazing reviews in the New York Times and elsewhere. I’m really looking forward to reading it.

To the right is a frame from a Barnes & Noble comic-review by Ward Sutton. The review is so odd. It’s sort of indulgent and hostile at the same time. But for our purposes: check out the representation of the “backlash ’80s and ’90s” in this frame.

Maybe it’s because Rebecca never struck me as remotely Indigo-Girlsy, but there’s something about this portrayal that seems fascinatingly on our running list of 90s-Woman faux amisthings that seem to be about 90s womanhood but actually are about something else entirely.

Buy the book here. Click the image to read the B&N review.

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A ’90s Womanly Review of SATC2

New Line/HBO

Feeling weird about how ANGRY so many critics seem about the latest SATC? The backlash to the backlash has begun. See: Bust and New York Magazine. (Emily Nussbaum says the reviews to date amount to: “shut up, you stupid cunts”). 

Also, check out this very ’90s-feministy review of the Sex and the City 2 reviews mentioned in Nussbaum’s NY Mag piece. Continue reading

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Lady Gaga + Glee = 90s Woman

Okay, I meant to put this up a million years ago. The Glee Lady Gaga episode explains (better than any ecofeminist-reading 90s woman could) what political correctness was supposed to be before it became about academic witch hunts and turned into a punchline. The most relevant two minutes are here (starts about 26 min into the episode; no, I couldn’t figure out how to embed a Hulu custom clip so you have to click on there to get to it). Continue reading

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Men Under Attaaaaaaaaaack!

Our conversation about men who are freaked out by Big Bad Feminism reminded me of how rampant this male anger against women-who-might-be-judging-them was in the 90s, as if that’s what feminism was all about: making men feel bad.

It couldn’t be that things were weird and bad for women (and for men!) in certain ways that women wanted to change. It had to be that we wanted to eradicate Maleness and lump all men into a Bad Man category.

I just stumbled upon this 1994 Time magazine gem entitled “Men: Are They Really That Bad?” I love that lots of 90s magazine archives are now online because they provide proof that we didn’t make this shit up. Anyway, be sure to read the whole thing here, but I’ll quote a few little things below. Continue reading

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“Woman’s Last Stand”

Love this spoof of that horrible Dodge commercial (via Mocha Momma and Brendan)…

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