Postfeminism, neoliberalism and a ‘successfully’ balanced femininity in celebrity CEO autobiographies

Article English OPEN
Adamson, Maria (2017)
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1111/gwao.12167
  • Subject:
    acm: ComputingMilieux_THECOMPUTINGPROFESSION

This article explores the construction a ‘successfully’ balanced femininity in the female celebrity CEO autobiography genre, and how it is shaped by the postfeminist and neoliberal context. The paper shows how achieving successful and therefore desirable balance requires one to embrace femininity but in a calculated, market-oriented fashion that benefits business goals, ensuring that one remains a ‘good’ postfeminist as well as neoliberal subject; and argues that this new femininity poses little challenge to the existing gendered power relations in organizations. This paper adds to the existing debates on doing gender in the workplace by providing an understanding of how and why certain ways of doing femininity in organizations are allowed or disallowed, specifically, how certain organizational femininity comes to be constructed as more successful and valuable in contemporary postfeminist and neoliberal context. Furthermore, by examining how these ideals of balanced femininity are constructed in celebrity CEO autobiographies, the paper highlights the value of exploring these texts as representations of contemporary postfeminist and neoliberal cultural norms.
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