‘Post-Feminism’ in the Legal Academy?

Feminist Review, Vol. 95, pp. 92-98, 2010

ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 10-75

8 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2010

Date Written: 2010


Against the background of the political swing from social liberalism to neoliberalism in Australia, this essay considers the discomfiting relationship between feminism and the legal academy over the last three decades. It briefly traces the trajectory of the liaison, the course of the brief affair, the parting of the ways and the cold shoulder. In considering the reasons for the retreat from feminism, it is suggested that it has been engineered by neoliberalism through the market’s deployment of third wave feminism, particularly the popular manifestation of girlpower. The focus on promotion of the self, consumerism, free choice and sexuality has deflected attention away from collective harms. Girlpower has also facilitated a revival of gendered binarisms on the social script, which does not bode well for the future of women in the legal profession. The proposition is illustrated by reference to the represention of women’s breasts on the cover of a law students’ magazine containing articles on sexed crime.

Keywords: Australia, feminism, legal academy, neoliberalism, girlpower

Suggested Citation

Thornton, Margaret, ‘Post-Feminism’ in the Legal Academy? (2010). Feminist Review, Vol. 95, pp. 92-98, 2010, ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 10-75, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1681166

Margaret Thornton (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

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