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Women, Feminism, and Pop Politics

From “Bitch” to “Badass” and Beyond

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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.

Karrin Vasby Anderson (PhD in Communication, Indiana University) is Professor of Communication Studies at Colorado State University and co-author of Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture and Governing Codes: Gender, Metaphor, and Political Identity. She is the recipient of the National Communication Association’s James A. Winans–Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, the Michael Pfau Outstanding Article Award in Political Communication from the Political Communication Division of the National Communication Association, the Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics from the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, and the Feminist Scholarship Award from the Organization for Research on Women and Communication.