Northwestern Events Calendar

Apr
18
2019

Don’t Let the Misogynists Grind you down: Popular Feminism and The Handmaid’s Tale Talk by Sarah Banet-Weiser (Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California)

When: Thursday, April 18, 2019
5:15 PM - 6:30 PM  

Where: McCormick Foundation Center, Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Nancy Cunniff   847.467.2294

Group: One Book One Northwestern 2019-20

Co-Sponsor(s):
Center for Global Culture and Communication (CGCC)

Category: Lectures & Meetings

Description:

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel turned Hulu serialized drama The Handmaid’s Tale (1985, 2017, respectively) arrived as a chilling forewarning during the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency. The series, and the thousands of memes, parodies, and street performances at protests emerged as an important popular culture and mediated symbol of the new Anti-Trump/Pence feminist resistance, as fans linked the series’ fictionalized dystopian society to the very real onslaught of women’s reproductive rights in policy making and other oppressive elements of the current US government. Both the novel and the serialized television drama engage the politics of gender, race and right-wing political regimes, and both can be considered examples of what I call “popular feminism.” In this talk, I contend with how, and in what ways, the rise of popular feminism in the twenty-first-century North American and European context has encouraged both a response and an intensification of popular misogyny. Here, using the frame of popular cultural iterations of The Handmaid’s Tale, I explore the ways a popular feminist text responds to an increasingly visible context of popular misogyny. I argue that we need to understand the relationship between popular feminism and popular misogyny in order to grasp the significance, and the endurance, of both. What does reading a novel or watching a series about the oppression of women involve, and what kinds of resistance or collective activism to the politics of contemporary moment might The Handmaid’s Tale engender?

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