We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement
We Were Feminists Once is a thought-provoking analysis of marketplace feminism, which Bitch Media cofounder and author Andi Zeisler describes as the long-utilized but recently ubiquitous cooption of the language of feminism to sell products. Zeisler looks at how the conflation of feminism with consumer choice has brought about the rise of “choice feminism,” an understanding of women’s empowerment as anything a woman chooses, regardless of the effect that choice has on other women. Zeisler argues that if all choices are empowering, then nothing is empowering, and that it is more helpful to analyze what constrains women’s choices rather than the choices themselves. Although society’s consistent disregard for feminism as a living ethic is depressing, Zeisler’s writing is nevertheless hopeful. She argues that the increased visibility of feminism in recent years is a good thing, even if it is masked as something to be consumed rather than something to do or to be done, because it could ultimately lead more people to fight against things that really matter, like systemic and institutionalized inequality. This is an important and often very funny guide to navigating marketplace feminism, a type of feminism that usually has nothing to do with feminism at all.
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