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Women, Feminism, and Pop Politics

From “Bitch” to “Badass” and Beyond


Edited By Karrin Vasby Anderson

Women, Feminism, and Pop Politics: From "Bitch" to "Badass" and Beyond examines the negotiation of feminist politics and gendered political leadership in twenty-first century U.S. popular culture. In a wide-ranging survey of texts—which includes memes and digital discourses, embodied feminist performances, parody and infotainment, and televisual comedy and drama—contributing authors assess the ways in which popular culture discourses both reveal and reshape citizens’ understanding of feminist politics and female political figures. Two archetypes of female identity figure prominently in its analysis. "Bitch" is a frame that reflects the twentieth-century anxiety about powerful women as threatening and unfeminine, trapping political women within the double bind between femininity and competence. "Badass" recognizes women’s capacity to lead but does so in a way that deflects attention away from the persistence of sexist stereotyping and cultural misogyny. Additionally, as depictions of political women become increasingly complex and varied, fictional characters and actual women are beginning to move beyond the bitch and badass frames, fashioning collaborative and comic modes of leadership suited to the new global milieu. This book will be of interest to students and scholars interested in communication, U.S. political culture, gender and leadership, and women in media.

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Karrin Vasby Anderson (Ph.D., Indiana University) is Professor of Communication Studies at Colorado State University. She is coauthor of two books on gender and political leadership and recipient of the National Communication Association’s Winans-Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address.

Kirsti Cole (Ph.D., Arizona State University) is an Associate Professor at Minnesota State University. She is the co-editor of two collections on feminism and gender in rhetoric and communication, and in higher education, and has published on social media, feminist rhetoric, and labor in rhetoric and composition.

Tasha N. Dubriwny (Ph.D., University of Georgia) is an Associate Professor of Communication and Women’s and Gender Studies at Texas A&M University who studies gender, politics, and women’s health. Her book The Vulnerable Empowered Woman (2013, Rutgers) received the Bonnie Ritter Book Award.

Erika Falk (Ph.D., The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania) is the author of Women for President: Media Bias in Nine Campaigns and the program director of the Israel Institute.

Katie L. Gibson (Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University) is an Associate Professor at Colorado State University. Her scholarship investigates the politics of representation in legal discourses, political communication, and popular culture. Her book, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Legacy of Dissent: Feminist Rhetoric and the Law, was recently published by The University of Alabama Press.←331 | 332→

Lacy Lowrey (M.A., San Diego State University) is an adjunct faculty member for the...

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