‘…it appears that femininity is defined as a bodily property rather than a social, structural or psychological one.’ – Rosalind Gill What does the above quote mean and what is its significance?

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Rosalind Gill's article, "Postfeminist media culture: elements of a sensibility," attempts to define postfeminism. It does this with the goal of "fashion[ing] a concept that can be used analytically within cultural studies." An important theme in postfeminism, Gill argues, is "the notion that femininity is a bodily property." This differs from previous representations of femininity as an attitude of mind or a creation of social structures. Femininity has historically been depicted psychologically, most dominantly as a caring and nurturing attitude. It has also been seen in terms of women's social roles as wives and mothers. Gill notes the problems with both these ways of thinking about femininity. Both definitions exclude many women.

However, she does not regard the postfeminist idea of femininity as a bodily property any more favorably. The sexual attractiveness of the female body, Gill asserts, is presented in contemporary media as the principal, if not the only, source of a woman's identity. A woman's body is regarded as a source of power. Simultaneously, it is

unruly and requiring constant monitoring, surveillance, discipline and remodeling (and consumer spending) in order to conform to ever narrower judgments of female attractiveness.

Gill says that postfeminist media culture is largely based on minute scrutiny of women's bodies. Observation is performed by women as well as men; it is frequently accompanied by scathing judgements of any feature which is assessed to be less than perfect. This means that postfeminist media culture, while avoiding some of the stereotypes of femininity that influenced previous generations, has created its own toxic constraints on the way women are depicted.

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