A muddled reading

January 22, 2009

While I am genuinely grateful for the attention paid to my book The Aftermath of Feminism (Books, 18 December), I am distressed and perplexed by the way in which I am portrayed as presenting a completely opposite argument to that which is actually developed in the text. This happens throughout the review.

As a sociologist, I would never suggest that women nowadays "have it all". In the book I dissect the ways in which young women become the focus of new gender-specific forms of power and social control that manage the lives of women by deploying a language of choice, empowerment and freedom.

This new language of femininity serves as a replacement for feminism. Where the reviewer has written that I draw on the work of Sylvia Walby to suggest that feminism has matured and mellowed, again quite the opposite is the case. I actually challenge Walby's account, proposing provocatively that she embodies the new Labour ideal of feminism as passe, no longer needed and out of date. I feel the need to state my case here.

Angela McRobbie, Professor of communications, Goldsmiths, University of London.

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