Area of Study
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
The wide variety of definitions for “feminism” makes it complicated to identify and evaluate feminist media. The goals of feminist action have changed over time, but the overarching ideals of equality have not. The advent of social media has made it much easier to disseminate feminist rhetoric, but the temporary nature of most social media apps doesn’t allow for nuance or in-depth explanations of the feminism that’s being shared. The most popular example of a simplified feminism is “girlboss feminism,” which makes feminism marketable for a mass audience. Feminist rhetoric is also seen more and more frequently within a range of blockbuster films, including Zero Dark Thirty (2012) and Wonder Woman (2017). A “strong female character” is often seen as the hallmark of a progressive and/or feminist film. However, many of these films do not dive deeply into feminist history or theory, and simply use a strong woman character as a red herring for progressivism when, in reality, the films may be advocating for anti-feminist actions. This project serves as a case study of the various problematic ways contemporary feminism is used for anti-feminist purposes, including in film narratives, unethical business practices, and United States foreign policy. The research examines business models, social media posts and marketing, popular media, and political messaging.
Austin, Ainsley G., "Contemporary Feminism as Portrayed in Popular Media" (2021). Summer Research. 413.
University of Puget Sound