In Empowered Sarah Banet-Weiser examines the deeply entwined relationship between popular feminism and popular misogyny as it plays out in advertising, online and multimedia platforms, and nonprofit and commercial campaigns. Examining feminist discourses that emphasize self-confidence, body positivity, and individual achievement alongside violent misogynist phenomena such as revenge porn, toxic geek masculinity, and men's rights movements, Banet-Weiser traces how popular feminism and popular misogyny are co-constituted. From Black Girls Code and the Always #LikeAGirl campaign to GamerGate and the 2016 presidential election, Banet-Weiser shows how popular feminism is met with a misogynistic backlash of mass harassment, assault, and institutional neglect. In so doing, she contends that popular feminism's problematic commitment to visibility limits its potential and collective power.
1. The Funhouse Mirror 41
2. Shame: Love Yourself and Be Humiliated 65
3. Confidence: The Con Game 92
4. Competence: Girls Who Code and Boys Who Hate Them 129
Conclusion: Rage 171
“In this carefully researched and theoretically daring book Sarah Banet-Weiser tells an engaging story about the social and cultural life of popular feminism in the age of social media and self-empowerment. Sorting out the connection between popular feminism and popular misogyny, Banet-Weiser shows how the cultural pressure to be seen and the social pressure to be liked form the perfect conditions for popular feminism, patriarchy, and misogyny to thrive. We need this important book now more than ever.”
Herman Gray, University of California, Santa Cruz
“This is a brilliant, incisive, and compelling read that helps us to think together two seemingly contrary trends: the current power of popular feminism alongside the chilling rise of vicious misogyny. This marvelous and brave book is a must-read.”
Rosalind Gill, author of
Gender and the Media
“Put down that ‘Cats Against Patriarchy’ mug and hear a bitter truth: the friendly glimmer of popular feminism is shadowed at every turn by a virulent misogyny that's proven just as valuable in the cultural and political marketplace. In Empowered Sarah Banet-Weiser draws on years of scholarship to examine this fast-curdling symbiosis, tracing its persuasions and promises with an engrossing urgency.”
Andi Zeisler, author of
We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movemen
"Empowered adroitly examines the context in which popular feminism is transformed into hateful and misogynistic rage."
"Sarah Banet-Weiser offers an informative and readable account of popular feminism and popular misogynistic reactions to it. . . . Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty."
"Empowered offers an extremely timely and critical perspective toward understanding the current topology of feminism and misogyny in popular US culture and can benefit a wide range of readers. With its various tangible examples to illuminate the theorization of popular feminism and misogyny, general readers who don’t have prior knowledge on feminist research could enjoy reading it."
International Journal of Communication