Postfeminist Vampirism in Margaret Atwood‘s The Robber Bride
The article examines Margaret Atwood‘s The Robber Bride in terms of Gothic imagery and postfeminist politics. The novel depicts three characteristically second wave women whose lives are disrupted by Zenia, the embodiment of postfeminism. Zenia threatens the stability of the women and they respond to her with both loathing and desire, experiencing her as a vampire feeding on their lives. The Robber Bride connects the subversive power of Gothic to the multiple identities, transgressions and instabilities of postfeminism. Using a common second wave feminist psychoanalytic rereading of Gothic terror as fear of confinement, I suggest that Atwood‘s depiction of Zenia as a Gothic figure points to some concerns about second wave feminist politics. The location of Zenia as both Self and Other raises questions about postfeminisms situation as a reactionary backlash against feminism, and equally as a liberal politics that many late twentieth-century women were increasingly identifying with.
In this introduction, we consider the intersection of two much debated and controversial concepts: postfeminism and Gothic, and we designate a new analytical category of ‘Postfeminist Gothic’. We suggest that postfeminism and Gothic are linked by their eschewal of a binary logic and their ‘anxiety about meaning’. As we contend, ‘Postfeminist Gothic’ moves beyond the Female Gothic with its historical associations with second wave feminism and female/feminine victimisation and it circumscribes a new space for critical exchange that re-examines notions of gender, agency and oppression.
engage in debates
surrounding class and gender inequality in light of second-wavefeminism
and the fracturing postwar settlement. The chapter will inspect how each
series negotiated a changing public and political attitude towards crime
that was increasingly sympathetic to the rational-actor model of
The Sweeney and
focused on women’s relationship with the labour movement at an institutional level. It aims to draw attention to the values and beliefs of women
underlying these broader changes, for whom trade unionism represented
a vehicle to try and assert greater control within their workplace.
Workplace protest and second-wavefeminism
Each case study also provides new insights into the relationship between
women’s workplace protest, feminism and the WLM. The first historical
accounts of the WLM were written by women who actively engaged with
women’s liberation and focused on the
Writing as survival
In 1986–87 I wrote a novel, Over the Water, in the voice of a fourteenyear-old girl called Mary, whose parents are Irish immigrants.1 This
chapter considers the novel as a response to pressures experienced by
Irish people in Britain during the 1980s in the context of Britain’s war in
the Six Counties. It reflects upon impacts of being Irish in Britain before,
and during, the terror imposed by the Prevention of Terrorism Act
(PTA), from 1974 onwards. It notes the rise of second-wavefeminism in
creating opportunities for women
Monstrous marriage, maternity, and the politics of embodiment
Carol Margaret Davison
, especially, to the historic moment that saw the ramifications of second-wavefeminism and the aftermath of the failed Scottish Referendum of 1979 that sought to establish a Scottish Assembly with limited legislative powers. Despite that political debacle, this era also produced an exciting renaissance in Scottish cultural expression that has continued into the present day. An assessment will be made as to how and to what ends various potent feminist themes are repeatedly resurrected in these texts, such as the politics of embodiment and maternity, female friendship
woman approaching middle age’. Those who disliked the series felt that Carla Lane’s opinions tended to dominate the script and that Ria was too neurotic and more than a little fey. 10
Butterflies and femininity
Butterflies ’ themes of marital boredom and frustration have strong similarities to Betty Friedan’s interpretation of the discontent and dissatisfaction experienced by white middle-class US housewives in The Feminine Mystique ( 1963 ), the book often dubbed the ‘founding’ text of second-wavefeminism. Friedan’s best-selling text was first published in
This book draws on original research into women’s workplace protest to deliver a new account of working-class women’s political identity and participation in post-war England. In doing so, the book contributes a fresh understanding of the relationship between feminism, workplace activism and trade unionism during the years 1968–85. The study covers a period that has been identified with the ‘zenith’ of trade union militancy. The women’s liberation movement (WLM) also emerged in this period, which produced a shift in public debates about gender roles and relations in the home and the workplace. Industrial disputes involving working-class women have been commonly understood as evidence of women’s growing participation in the labour movement, and as evidence of the influence of second-wave feminism on working-class women’s political consciousness. However, the voices and experiences of female workers who engaged in workplace protest remain largely unexplored. The book addresses this space through detailed analysis of four industrial disputes that were instigated by working-class women. It shows that labour force participation was often experienced or viewed as a claim to political citizenship in late modern England. A combination of oral history and written sources is used to illuminate how everyday experiences of gender and class antagonism shaped working-class women’s political identity and participation.
The conclusion summarises the book’s main findings, arguing that labour force participation was often experienced or viewed as claim to political citizenship in late modern England. Women’s workplace protest was not simply a direct response to women’s heightened presence in trade unions and second-wave feminism. The women involved in these disputes were more likely to understand their experiences of workplace activism as an expression of the economic, social and subjective value of their work and an assertion of their personal autonomy. They possessed specific skills and ability, which were closely tied to their sense of self. Revisiting women’s workplace protest from a historical perspective enables one to see how these women were both indirectly influenced by and contributed towards the development of British feminism. Women’s attempts to redefine how their work was valued and to speak with their own voice within the labour movement challenged gender norms and can be described as feminist. However, it is crucial to recognise that the majority of women interviewed did not view themselves or their behaviour as either feminist or political, and stressed their ‘ordinariness’ or individuality instead. The conclusion explains this tension and suggests the women believed they were practising ethics rather than politics.
The emergence of ‘secondwave’ feminism in the late 1960s signified a new
phase in the history of the women’s movement. As Pat Thane writes, the
WLM was ‘overwhelmingly a movement of younger women and tended
to be hostile or indifferent to constitutional action through parliament’.
This new movement rejected formal organisational structures, debated
class difference and attracted significant media attention with its new,
radical style of direct action and political campaigning. Moreover, the
WLM for the first time challenged traditional gender roles