Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Major Professor

Robert Gorman

Committee Members

Anthony Nownes, Patricia Freeland, Dwight Teeter


The purpose of this dissertation is to establish the meaning and definition of postfeminism along with an assessment of whether it accurately represents the current era of thinking. It is an historical, descriptive, qualitative analysis of the feminist movement from its inception with the central focus on the newest strand of feminist thought, postfeminism. The progression toward these conclusions entails an outlining of the waves of feminism and the strands of thought within these eras as well as a discussion of third wave feminism, modern feminism and generational differences between the waves. The focus on postfeminism begins with an exploration of the meaning of “post” as well as a look at postfeminism’s strong ties to popular culture and the theoretical underpinnings of this concept. The postfeminist issues of victimhood, work, femininity, sexuality, marriage, men, family and generational collaboration are reviewed in order to determine the definition of postfeminism, assess whether the current era is postfeminist, consider if postfeminism is anti-feminism and measure postfeminism as it relates to the third wave. Finally, the implications of postfeminism and a review of its politics conclude the project.

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