Empowerment for whom? Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny

Room 1150 Muirhead, University of Birmingham
Wednesday 5 February 2020 (16:00-17:30)

SPSC Lecture series 2019-2020

With speaker Professor Sarah Banet-Weiser, Professor of Media and Communications, LSE 

We find ourselves in a moment of spectacular popularity for feminism, where rights for women and girls are celebrated in media and mainstream society. And yet, misogyny too seems to have gained more power than ever, from the highest ranks of government to the lowest depths of internet culture. In this talk, Banet-Weiser makes sense of this moment, theorizing popular feminism and popular misogyny as a deeply entwined relationship, in which the highly visible feminism of advertising, online platforms, and nonprofits is met with the misogynistic violence of mass harassment, assault, and institutional neglect, as if reflected in a terrible funhouse mirror. If the rallying cry of feminism has been “empowerment,” Banet-Weiser asks, who—or what—has today’s economy of visibility empowered?


Sarah Banet-Weiser is Professor and Head of Department in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics. She is the author of The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Beauty Pageants and National Identity (1999), Kids Rule! Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship (2007), Authentic™: The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture (2012), and Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny (2018). She is the co-editor of Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting (2007), Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times (2012), and Racism PostRace (2019), and has published in journals such as Social Media and Society, International Journal of Communication, American Quarterly, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Feminist Theory, and Cultural Studies.