Postfeminism is a slippery, contested, ambivalent, and inherently contradictory term – deployed alternately as an “empowering” identity label and critical theoretical lens. Troubling notions about the past, present, and future of feminism, postfeminism challenges feminist theory. This essay scrutinizes cultural and theoretical themes informing postfeminist discourses. I identify four prevailing themes in extant literature: postfeminist oblivion, self-empowerment, criticality, and feminine pride. I then examine the public discourse and self-asserted postfeminist stance of Kellyanne Conway, former campaign manager and current counselor to President Trump. Conway advocates for an individualistic, depoliticized femininity. I argue that her complacent misogyny bolsters the bizarre imaginary view that feminism has been and remains harmful to women. To demonstrate this postfeminist harm, I employ Baudrillard’s theoretical apparatus of the simulacrum. Baudrillard’s notion highlights the strategies of abstraction, simulation, and accompanying models of control that circumnavigate and ignore “the real” (feminism) in favor of “the hyperreal” (postfeminism) (1981, 1-2).
Rawlins, L. Shelley
"Kellyanne Conway and Postfeminism: 'The Desert of the Real',"
Kaleidoscope: A Graduate Journal of Qualitative Communication Research: Vol. 18, Article 7.
Available at: https://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/kaleidoscope/vol18/iss1/7