Monday, 5 November 2012

Feminism and the Politics of Consumption

In her recent article in Feminist Media Studies, Joanne Hollows examines the significance of representations of both consumer culture and consumption practices in the British feminist magazine Spare Rib during its initial years of publication from 1972 to 1974. 

Her analysis identifies how the magazine combined an established feminist critique of consumer culture with guidance on responsible consumption practices. The dispositions towards consumption that are recommended to readers are shaped by four key values: these are health, the natural, economy and craft production. These values underpin a politics of consumption during a period in which Spare Rib attempted to negotiate a feminist identity. However, once this feminist identity was established, content centred around consumption rapidly diminished as it was apparently not “feminist” enough. The article questions how a “conventional” position was established against both consumer culture and consumption practices within second-wave feminism and raises questions about the impact of this position on feminism’s relationship to both consumer culture and consumption practices today. 

Joanne Hollows (2012), 'Spare Rib, Second-wave Feminism and the Politics of Consumption', Feminist Media Studies, DOI:10.1080/14680777.2012.708508


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