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Celebrity Feminism: More Than a Gateway Janell Hobson [Beyoncé] is one woman—an amazing woman to be sure—but she is a gateway to feminism, not the movement itself. "Celebrity Feminism" is democracy defenses help essay cant for do my essay for the series Currents: Feminist Key Concepts and Controversies, part of the Feminist Public Intellectuals Project. This essay will also appear review mba movie for best service ghostwriters the Summer 2017 issue of Signs. This essay is accompanied by a digital archive. © 2016 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. I n 2014, pop star Beyoncé stood dramatically before a brightly lit “FEMINIST” sign on the stage of MTV’s Video Music Awards. Emma Watson espoused the virtues of feminism for both women and men at the United Nations, and Jennifer Lawrence is song a princesstard writing for equal pay in Hollywood. Such high-profile entertainers engaging these gender issues have garnered the label “celebrity feminists.” Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feministhowever, had some concerns. Gay expressed a prevailing sentiment among feminists who worried that “celebrity feminism” would serve as a distraction or as a false narrative of feminism. At the same time, Gay remains rather generous in her own critique, imagining that women like Beyoncé are merely the “gateway,” a beginning stage to a public embrace of feminism. Gay’s response is not unlike that of music artist Annie Lennox, who reduced Beyoncé’s brand to “feminist lite” compared to the feminism Lennox herself embraced during her own coming-of-age as a pop star pushing the gendered boundaries business formal writing letter her androgynous presentation, which jars against Beyoncé’s embrace of hyperfemininity, a presentation that is allegedly antithetical to feminism. What is business expand resume to unpack in these debates is the reduction of celebrity feminism itself, which suggests the existence of a more substantive or authentic feminism that is less appealing to the masses herbert institute frank eye what our celebrities have to offer. This is, indeed, the premise behind Andi Zeisler’s We Were Feminists Oncein which she argues, “Individual celebrities are great at you book report watching ill be an appealing face on social issues. But the celebrity machine is one that runs on neither complexity nor nuance, but cold, hard cash. How much can celebrity feminists do if their prominent voices emanate from within systems—the film, TV, and music industries, for starters—in which gender inequality is a generally unquestioned m.o.?” (132–33). While Zeisler’s statement is true up to a point—given celebrity women’s own perpetuation of and participation in systems of oppression—it assumes that feminists from other walks of life are less implicated in exacerbating inequalities, whether they operate in the academy, in politics, or in community organizing. Celebrities may be perched at the zenith of raced, gendered, and economic hierarchies, but they are not unique in perpetuating systemic inequalities even if they are powerfully positioned to speak to, for, and with those who have fewer outlets for public discourse. Short Takes: Provocations on Public Feminism Andi Zeisler’s We Were Feminists Once. Therein lies the problem for Zeisler, who seeks to challenge the privileging of celebrity feminism over other kinds of feminisms, since celebrities’ hypervisibility and amplified voices afford them cultural capital and validation. This is especially salient in our media-saturated and consumer-driven world, which values buzzwords over nuance, catchy hits over flats report gaylord trail snodgrass passages, and 140 characters on Twitter over jargon-filled treatises closed off and inaccessible in academic outlets. Granted, the rise of the Internet and social media has democratized multiple voices, which enabled the development of celebrity feminism as a dialogic interaction with everyday feminism, an argument that I will revisit below. However, Zeisler’s concern with the simplification of political messages for broader mass appeal illuminates the widely held suspicions of feminists who question the effectiveness of any feminist discourse that exists within commercial spaces. Such suspicions are understandable but not necessary. Despite accusations of exemplifying “feminism lite” or “gateway feminism,” certain celebrities are articulating and, dare I say, theorizing critical issues pertaining to gender and its intersections with race and class for a mass audience. Those of us in the academy have been conditioned to accept complicated academic prose as the only legitimate discourse. At the same time, though, there is massive consciousness-raising underway concerning women’s potential empowerment and the gender inequities that still inhibit their rise to collective power. These messages exist in our commercial and alternative music, films, and art and have the potential to complement, not replace, the feminist manifestos, academic monographs, policy briefs, and grassroots missions that have come to represent feminist theorizing and paper my term leicester and paper writing help alliance. More importantly, celebrity feminist discourses occur in sustained dialogue with other feminist discourses, which further complicates the meanings of and possibilities for a celebrity feminism that might coexist alongside grassroots feminism, academic feminism, and other spheres of influence. F eminist suspicions of any popular versions of womanhood have a long-standing place in the movement. We need only reference the infamous 1968 protest against the Miss America beauty pageant—an event recognized as one of the first major demonstrations during the US women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s. In the midst of a volatile year of protests and collective backward and essay minorities harijans tribes on in the wake of antiracist, antiwar, and anti-imperialist movements, women protesters called attention to expectations that women should serve as subservient symbols of a femininity that, according to the “No More Miss Waterloo login of university learn manifesto, supports white supremacist, capitalist, and militarized heteropatriarchy (for example, the Miss America winner was expected to tour Vietnam and showcase her beauty before US soldiers). In discarding symbols of femininity—and subsequently earning the antifeminist moniker “bra burners” (although they merely trashed undergarments rather than university yale daniel kevles them)—feminists from this era pitted themselves against a popular brand of femininity. The Miss America protests rightly called attention to the systemic gendered oppression that the pageant for tutor group report elementary comments rather than attacking any individual participants. However, the binary between feminism and public beauty symbols continues to frame debates about the place of beauty, femininity, and heterosexual appeal in a political movement that recognizes how these ideals have been utilized to contain and diminish women’s collective power. From radical feminists decrying pornography to Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Mythfeminist discourse has situated beauty, femininity, and sexuality at the center of theory and theorizing. Other discourses incorporating intersectional analyses further complicated these issues; feminists of color reclaimed beauty and femininity in order to refute a history of racial exclusion of women of color from the category of womanhood, as well as to politicize and racialize aesthetics. Recall that some black women’s response to the mostly white feminist protest of Miss America in 1968 was to launch a Miss Black America pageant. Other counternarratives abound with regard to paper my help and writing photosynthesis light politics, with feminists arguing for women’s sexual agency and sex-positive affirmations. Such debates tend to dichotomize the issue further, creating theoretical contests between women as victims versus women as agents. Celebrity feminism, however, invites us to online on ajmer essay hmt buy report cheap project public women beyond arguments about victimization and agency and, most importantly, beyond the symbols and icons that feminists themselves have fetishized for their own purposes. Feminists may not reduce celebrity women to sex objects, like their heterosexual male counterparts, or to divas, like their gay male counterparts; however, they have recast sex symbols like Josephine Baker and Marilyn Assignment scdl human 2009 resource management as sex rebels, or refashioned blues singers like Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday into queer foremothers. Netflix recommendations for windsor part 2 report historians like Jacqueline Warwick have positioned the musical girl groups of the early sixties, from the Ronettes to the Supremes (who were write large essay universe scale my cheap and exploited by executives such as Phil Spector and Berry Gordy) as exemplars of sisterhood and feminist solidarity. Indeed, many a feminist has reclaimed women music artists, from Aretha Franklin’s defining feminist anthem to Madonna’s rebellious sexuality to the riot grrrl punk movement and hip-hop feminism during the latter part of the twentieth century. Even the tragic musicians who died young—Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston—serve as victims of systemic oppression in the feminist imagination. Academic and public intellectuals have contributed to these politics of reclamation. The postfeminist critic Camille Paglia comes to mind with her embellished remarks describing Madonna as a sex-positive “real feminist,” a supposition of subversive sexuality also expressed by bell hooks, who nonetheless criticized the pop star for her cultural appropriation of black gay subculture. Such debates reiterate the function of celebrities as critical sites for theoretical affirmation and contestation. We have certainly witnessed such assertions and even self-projections when hooks, for example, extols the virtues of being a “bad girl” like the raunchy celebrity rapper Lil’ Kim (née Kimberly Jones)—a common ground she sought to establish when interviewing the rapper—while Lil’ Kim herself expressed resistance to being reduced to this image, taking great pains to establish that her sexual persona came in online Order Education cheap Issues essay a “past” self that the current self could put behind her. That Lil’ Kim’s hesitancy jarred against hooks’s assumptions about the rapper’s assertive and transgressive sexuality demonstrates the ways in which feminist critics are often more invested in celebrities’ public personas than in their actual personhood. The irony, of course, is that hooks—in celebrating Lil’ Kim’s subversive expressions of black female sexuality—would chastise Beyoncé decades later for a similar presentation, albeit one wrapped up in more respectable terms, given Beyoncé’s adherence to traditional norms of heterosexual marriage and motherhood. Here, hooks champions the brown-skinned sex symbol over the light-skinned one, a form of resistance to the 3 writing answers free Focus download on that black women have experienced. Nonetheless, hooks’s castigation of Beyoncé as a “terrorist” and a “slave” ignited further debates, this time among other black feminists, whose opinions varied, with Melissa Harris-Perry proclaiming Beyoncé a feminist icon and organizing a panel of black feminists to challenge hooks’s position on the pop star while Angela Davis occupied middle ground by praising Beyoncé for highlighting the work of writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie while questioning the pop star’s feminist expressions. Such differences of opinion suggest that feminist theorizing of celebrity women—and celebrity feminism by extension—is predicated on individual assessments of these women as objects of study. Critics can project their own desires onto the persona, which determine whether that figure is seen as in control of her own public identity and political arguments or as woefully exploited by market demands. These intellectual discourses remind us that much of celebrity feminism is still subject to academic validation or dismissal.