I think what I was most troubled and interested by in the Butler and, to a certain degree, the McRobbie readings is the assertion that in order for postfeminism (or at least the kind of postfeminism that Butler is speaking about) to be viable, one must presuppose that “gender equality has been achieved and feminist activism is thus no longer necessary” (Butler, 2013: 44). This is so interesting to me because it is reminiscent, if not nearly identical, to the necessary condition for postracialism to be viable to accept that racial inequality is a relic of the distant past and, consequently, the plight of the disenfranchised black body no longer need to be addressed or engaged with.
I believe that the similarity between these two ideologies (postfeminism and postracialism) is further expanded when one considers the idea of “female individualism” that McRobbie speaks about in her article. The idea that that female achievement and success can be predicted by the actions of the individual. That young women are invited to “compete in education and in work as privileged subjects of the new meritocracy” (McRobbie, 2007: 258). This eerily familiar to the argument of the colorblind society put forward by the propagators of postracialism. The idea that, following the civil liberation of minorities, these groups are invited to compete in the “purely meritocratic” neoliberal space on an equal footing as groups that were previously and significantly advantaged.
I think that the basic fallacy inherent in both of these ideologies is the claim the prejudices and challenges facing these respective groups are no longer present… Which is… I mean… Clearly bullshit, right?
I think that the scope of this glaring fallacy is emphasized in the Butler article when she addresses the presence of ethnic bodies in the realm of postfeminism while still propagating the assumption that race and gender inequalities have both been rectified. Butler speaks about the white, heteronormative woman is the aspiration to which all postfeminist representations should aspire. Obviously, one can’t create a white, middleclass heteronormative character, cast an ethnic body (full of “ethnic flava”) to portray them and hope for any sense of authenticity in that portray. It completely fails to take into account the “individuality” to which postfeminism is espoused.