Spectacular Femininity and Transnational Culture
Published by: University of Illinois Press
216 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm
- ISBN: 9780252085086
- Published: June 2020
Women in Lagos, Nigeria, practice a spectacularly feminine form of black beauty. From cascading hair extensions to immaculate makeup to high heels, their style permeates both day-to-day life and media representations of women not only in a swatch of Africa but across an increasingly globalized world. Simidele Dosekun's interviews and critical analysis consider the female subjectivities these women are performing and desiring. She finds that the women embody the postfeminist idea that their unapologetically immaculate beauty signals—but also constitutes—feminine power. As empowered global consumers and media citizens, the women deny any need to critique their culture or to take part in feminism's collective political struggle. Throughout, Dosekun unearths evocative details around the practical challenges to attaining their style, examines the gap between how others view these women and how they view themselves, and engages with ideas about postfeminist self-fashioning and subjectivity across cultures and class. Intellectually provocative and rich with theory, Fashioning Postfeminism reveals why women choose to live, embody, and even suffer for a fascinating performative culture.
Introduction: A New Style of Femininity
1. Contextual Crossroads: African Women in the World of Things
2. Choosing It All: From Pleasure to Self-Confidence to Pain
3. “I’m Working, You Know”: The Serious Business of Spectacularity
4. Globally Black, “Naija,” and Fabulous: Asserting Authentic Selves
5. “Not That Kinda Girl”: Resignifying Hyperfemininity for Postfeminist Times
Conclusion: A New Fashion for Feminism?
”This book brilliantly challenges the assumption of whiteness and the Western location of the postfeminist female subject, documenting how postfeminism circulates well beyond the Global North. Dosekun demonstrates a rare sensitivity to place and to the specific norms circulating that space, which, as she underscores, shape the way in which postfeminism is taken up. The arguments are forceful, and the empirical material is handled with great care, sensitivity, and insight.”—Catherine Rottenberg, author of The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism
”This brilliantly-executed and theoretically exciting book places Dosekun on the frontlines of radically decolonial cultural and feminist theory. The author critically explores the ”unhappy technologies,” utilised by women determined to re-invent themselves for themselves, not in NY or London, but in the cultural ferment of the global African city of Lagos. Fashioning Postfeminism advances the theorization of feminine agency and subjectivity beyond the inherent coloniality of US and UK (Western) cultural and feminist studies. Dosekun's adept analysis details contemporary elite women's psychic and material investments in the 'unhappy' technologies and cosmetic practices in the pursuit of individualised fantasies of power and happiness in the neoliberal world.”—Amina Mama, author of Beyond the Masks: Race, Gender and Subjectivity