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Selling feminist stories: popular feminism, authenticity and happiness
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0172-2609
Mid Sweden University, Sweden.
2023 (English)In: European Journal of Cultural Studies, ISSN 1367-5494, E-ISSN 1460-3551Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

By interviewing Swedish feminist activists who sell commodities to serve feminist purposes, this study focuses on how they articulate their engagement and make it intelligible. To untangle how articulations about feminist businesses may stabilise, reshape and challenge feminist values and engagement, we use theories of popular feminism alongside discourse theory to capture its contingencies. The analysis shows that, rather than enhancing sales by the use of feminism, the interviewees articulate an interest in spreading feminism through the sale of commodities. They understand their commodities to be ‘authentic’ and ‘truly’ feminist, thereby distancing themselves from corporations that use feminism to brand their products. However, this aligns precisely with the dominant contemporary corporate branding discourse of authenticity, understood as untainted by capitalism. The interviewees want to provide their customers with confidence, a dominant trait of popular feminism, through the display of feminist expression. A quest for visibility tends to absorb political aspects, which is further illustrated in the expressed wish to avoid an aggressive, provocative or explicitly political address. Understanding popular feminism as a discursive struggle, we conclude that the domination of a happy, confidence-building feminism will render more confrontational and radical versions of feminism less visible.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2023.
Keywords [en]
Popular feminism, instagram, feminist business, discourse, authenticity, branding
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
gender studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-206552DOI: 10.1177/13675494221137371ISI: 000964089400001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85153610762OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-206552DiVA, id: diva2:1749746
Available from: 2023-04-11 Created: 2023-04-11 Last updated: 2023-05-04

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Lauri, Johanna

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf