Colluding with Neoliberalism: Postfeminist subjectivities, whiteness and expressions of entitlement

Karen Wilkes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This discussion contributes to the ongoing debates regarding the (re)sexualisation of female bodies in popular and visual culture. Visual texts display the upper middle class white female as the carrier of mainstream neoliberal values in Western societies, and the success of this approach is the twinning of the culture of individualism, self-interest and market values with feminist vocabularies; namely choice, freedom and independence. Drawing on a broad feminist scholarship that includes discussions on the influence of the HBO series, Sex and the City, semiotic analysis is combined with intersectionality to gain an understanding of how gender, class and sexuality shape and reinforce whiteness as entitled to luxury in an advertising campaign for Michael Kors luxury goods. Contemporary representations have expanded to include representations of affluent women who appear to ?have it all?. These new postfeminist subjectivities promote an aesthetic of wealth, to display privileged whiteness, heterosexuality, normative Western beauty ideals and individualism. An intersectional approach reveals the apparent neutrality of neoliberal values as being an expression of whiteness, specifically in representations of white women as economically independent neoliberal subjects who display their status through the conspicuous consumption of luxury brands.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)18-33
    Number of pages16
    JournalFeminist Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 26 Jun 2015


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