Feminism Lives! (Again)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Being a feminist is no longer embarrassing or outmoded (most of the time). What it means, to be a feminist, however, is not necessarily clear. Many people agree with feminist ideas, without feeling that being a feminist describes who they are. For many self-identified feminists, their politics are not a simple, stand-alone case but are woven alongside concerns with queer, antiracist and/or anti-capitalist politics. We have gone through mainstream notions of individual empowerment that have drawn on feminism, only to find ourselves in the ruins of neoliberalism (for the 99. This has meant that many people have circled back to earlier radical feminist projects that go beyond demanding equality in society as it exists today, and instead conceptualise feminism as a way of rethinking what our world, identities and relationships could look like if current power structures were reimagined. In this article I will look at some feminist theorists who are taking part in this reimagining. I haven?t drawn exclusively on ?new? feminist ideas, as I want to suggest that part of feminism?s usefulness to us now is that it provides us with a history of ideas that have not been fully realised, and have potential for our present and our future. Most writing on feminism?s histories challenge the idea of progress, and ask us to pay attention to what might seem unthinkable today, and why that might be. I will frame the discussion around the themes of the archive, work, community and perfection. Ranging from ?the archival turn? in art and theory to the cyborg-inspired imaginaries of networked culture, what follows are some notes on feminist theory in relation to photography. Running through this text is an argument for the interweaving of feminist legacies in contemporary practice, whether that be as a large-format print in an art gallery or a digitally manipulated file posted online. My focus is on photography thought through an art world context, with examples drawn primarily from my own experience as a London-based art historian.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-206
Number of pages11
JournalPhotoworks Annual
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015


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