In a series of essays scrutinizing feminist and post-structuralists positions, Tania Modleski examines "the myth of postfeminism" and its operation in popular culture, especially popular film and cultural studies. (First published in 1991.)
In the face of a self-proclaimed feminist criticism that leaps to embrace the often dubious pleasures of popular culture, Modleski calls for ``a feminist rethinking of the articulations of popular culture and political criticism.'' The book offers such a rethinking, first in terms of theory, then as applied to several recent film trends. Much of Modleski's ( Loving with a Vengeance ) sardonic ire is leveled against ostensibly pro-feminist men; she finds male critics in support of feminism ``most useful . . . where they analyze male power, male hegemony, with a concern for the effects of this power on the female subjectitals in text and with an awareness of how frequently male subjectivity works to appropriate `femininity' while oppressing women.'' The volume is at its best when dissecting ``profoundly regressive'' films like Three Men and a Baby and ``considering how various representations of masculinity that resist traditional patriarchal images and plots either contribute to or, on the contrary, undermine the feminist project.'' At other times, particularly in the last of the three theoretical essays, readers without a grounding in Lacan and Foucault will be utterly lost.