"New" feminism argued that women had achieved huge advances by the late 20th
century towards equal opportunities with men in the public world of work.
In the "new" feminism women's private lives were now simply the result of "choice"
and should be off limits for feminist analysis or action.
One of the "new" feminists is Natasha Walter (British):
It was based on a firm reinstatement of a line between the personal and
The personal which should be exempt from political critique, covered "dress
She sees that women will have more power when they can earn more.
They can still indulge in beauty practices without feeling guilty.
Karen Lehrman (American)-
Argues that make up is entirely compatible with feminism.
Feminists she says, need to, "learn to respect women's choices- from
wearing sensuous gowns to staying at home to raise their children."
She blames female oppression on their failure to exercise their personal
Beauty she says is "a reality, a gift from God, nature, or genius that, to some
extent, transcends culture and history."
Women and men desire beauty because it is necessary for reproduction.
Women want to be chosen and men are programmed to choose "beautiful"
The problem for women, it turns out, is that there is intrusion into the
sanctity of their personal lives, not just by government but by something
called "society" which "includes feminist theories."
The Cultural Turn:
The move towards putting emphasis on women's capacity to choose and express
agency than on the form of coercion that caused women to engage in beauty
practices is an aspect of that post modern takeover of leftwing thinking that Fredric
Jameson has called "the cultural turn".
Postmodern thinking rejects the notion that there is such a thing as a ruling class
which can create dominant ideas.
Marxist cultural theorists who reject postmodernism, explain that this set of ideas
emerged to serve a particular stage of the history of capitalism
Denise Thompson has argued powerfully the case for retaining the concept of
ideology for feminist theory.
She considers postmodern mystification "to abandon the concepts of
"agents and interests" is to abandon politics.
Thompson criticizes the effect this has abandonment of the concept of
ideology has on feminist theorizing of popular culture.
Thompson shows the problem of this tendency in the work of Michele
Barrett (a British social feminist):
Barrett criticizes feminist theorists for regarding "cultural phenomena such
as soap opera, royalty or romantic fiction" as representing a subordinating