MC438      Half Unit
Mediated Feminisms

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Sarah Banet-Weiser PEL.7.01E

Professor Sarah Banet-Weiser 


This course is available on the MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and UCT), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media, Communication and Development and MSc in Politics and Communication. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is also available with permission to MSc students from other Departments (including Anthropology, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, and Sociology)  

Course content

Media have been crucial to feminist politics across the globe, from 19th century pamphlets to early television representations to 90s zine culture to the multitude of hashtag feminisms in contemporary social media.  This course explores the ways that feminisms, in both the Global North and Global South, materialize as a kind of media, appearing on a variety of media platforms from print to digital.  The course addresses the relationship between forms of feminisms in different geographical regions and media contexts.  There are many different feminisms that circulate in popular media in different historical moments, and some of these feminisms become more visible than others. Mediated feminisms are networked across all media platforms, some connecting with synergy, others struggling for priority and visibility.

The goal of the course is to critically examine the ways in which feminism, and its intersections with race, ethnicity, nationality, and class, is enacted and represented in the media, and how mediated feminisms have  an impact on cultural formations and communication. The course will also examine misogynistic and sexist reactions to feminism, within the frame of the normalization of hierarchy and violence.

The course is designed to historicize and conceptualize past and current developments, as well as recurrent themes and movements, in media representations of feminisms. Specifically, the course historicizes the recent explosion of mediated feminisms, and offers students a long-term theoretically-informed critical perspective on the ways feminisms have been mediated. It presents a historical examination of “mediated feminisms” as sites for the restructuring of knowledge. Furthermore, the course insists that in order to develop a complex and inclusive understanding of how media representations of feminism influence viewers and users, we must consider feminism beyond the West in terms of global and transnational perspectives. 

The course is framed around broad histories of feminist media productions (from newspapers to zines to hashtags) and feminist consumption/commodity feminism. Using theories from cultural and media studies, creative industry studies, film and gender studies, and communication studies, it explores different processes and practices of feminism and their relationship to media forms and media production.  The discussions will examine feminist media production from early suffrage movements to global feminist practices of the mid 20th century to post-colonial feminist productions of the later 20th century, to queer feminist and post- and popular feminist productions of the current moment.

The course is structured into three parts:

Part One, Historical Mediated Feminisms (Lectures 1-5), will review historic approaches to the ways feminisms have been mediated, from the 19th century to the present;

Part Two, Feminist Media Productions (Lectures 7-9) will explore feminist media productions both within and outside the mainstream media (ranging from alternative press to zines to digital media production);

Part Three, Popular Feminism and Activism Today (Lectures 10-11) will draw together the course’s themes with a particular focus on the contemporary moment of popular feminism, asking students to engage in the ambivalent spaces of mediated feminisms.

The course is intended for all MSc students interested in acquiring a broad cultural-theoretical understanding of the role that media institutions play in defining feminisms for broad audiences, as well as those who are interested in feminist media productions across history.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of seminars in the MT.

Teaching will commence in MT2 and additional office hours will be held in LT11

Part 1: Historical Mediated Feminisms

  • Week 1: Relationship between Feminism and the Media, Global North and Global South
  • Week 2: Feminism and Media in the 19th Century
  • Week 3: Feminism disrupts the Media: 1968 and beyond
  • Week 4: Media Backlash to Feminism
  • Week 5: Post-Feminism and the Media

Week 6: Reading Week

Part 2: Feminist Media Productions

  • Week 7: Pamphlets and the Alternative Press: Early feminists representing themselves
  • Week 8: Women Make Media: Riot Grrrl, zines, and activism
  • Week 9: Post-feminist media productions: Girl Power, Television, Film

Part 3: Popular Feminism and Activism Today

  • Week 10: Popular feminist media production: Digital and Social Media
  • Week 11: Conclusion: Mediated Feminisms and Activism

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 project in the MT.

Students will be given the option of choosing one of two alternative forms of preparation for the summative project:


(1) A 1200-1500 word Short Analysis in which an individual student explains the relationship between media and its representation of feminism(s) during a specific historical period; 


(2) A Group Project: students can work in groups of 3-4, and will write a 2000-2500 word analysis of the relationship between media and its representations of feminisms during a specific historical period.  The aim of the group project is for students to work collaboratively and reflect on the analysis in a group setting.  

Indicative reading

  • Amrita Basu. (2018). Women’s Movements in the Global Era: The Power of Local Feminisms. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.
  • Dobson, A. (2015). Postfeminist digital cultures: Femininity, social media, and self-representation. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 1st Ed.
  • Dosekun, S. (2015). For western girls only? Post-feminism as transnational culture. Feminist Media Studies, 15(6), 960-975.
  • Dow, Bonnie. (2014). 1970: Watching Women’s Liberation: Feminism’s Pivotal Year on the News. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
  • Duffy, B. E. (2017). (Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love: Gender, Social Media, and Aspirational Work. Yale University Press.
  • Grewal, I. and Kaplan, C. (1994). Scattered Hegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Hegde, R. (2011).  Circuits of Visibility: Gender and Transnational Media Cultures. New York: New York University Press.
  • Kearney, M. (2006).  Girls Make Media.  New York: Routledge.
  • Keller, J, Ringrose, J, and Mendes, K. (2019). Digital Feminist Activism: Girls and Women Fight Back Against Rape Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Noble, S., & Tynes, Brendesha M. (eds) (2016).  The intersectional Internet: Race, sex, class, and culture online. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Shohat, E. and Stam, R. (eds) (2003) Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality and Transnational Media, New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press

Additional reading: 

  • Banet-Weiser, S. (2018).  Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • Gill, R. (2007). Postfeminist media culture: Elements of a sensibility. European journal of cultural studies, 10(2), 147-166.
  • Gill, R. (2008). Empowerment/sexism: Figuring female sexual agency in contemporary advertising. Feminism & Psychology, 18(1), 35-60.
  • Gill, R., & Pratt, A. (2008). In the social factory? Immaterial labour, precariousness and cultural work. Theory, culture & society, 25(7-8), 1-30.
  • Gill, R. (2011). Sexism reloaded, or, it's time to get angry again!. Feminist Media Studies, 11(01), 61-71.
  • Gill, R. and Elias, A. S. (2014). ‘Awaken Your Incredible’: Love your Body Discourses and Postfeminist Contradictions. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 10(2), pp. 179-188.
  • Gill, R., & Orgad, S. (2015). The confidence cult (ure). Australian Feminist Studies, 30(86), 324-344.
  • Gilson, Erinn (2014). The Ethics of Vulnerability: A Feminist Analysis of Social Life and Practice. Routledge.
  • Gray, H. (2013). Subject (ed) to Recognition. American Quarterly, 65(4), 771-798.
  • Grewal, I. (2005). Transnational America: feminisms, diasporas, neoliberalisms. Duke University Press.
  • Gross, L. (2012). Up from invisibility: Lesbians, gay men, and the media in America. Columbia University Press.
  • Gunn, C. (2015). "Hashtagging for the Margins: Women of Color Engaged in Feminist Consciousness-Raising on Twitter." In Women of Color and Social Media Multitasking: Blogs, Timelines, Feeds, and Community, edited by Keisha Edwards Tassie and Sonja M. Brown Givens, 21-34. Lanham: Lexington Books.
  • Hains, R. C. (2012). Growing up with girl power: Girlhood on screen and in everyday life. Peter Lang.
  • Harris, A. (Ed.). (2004). All about the girl: Culture, power, and identity. Routledge.
  • Hasinoff, A. A. (2015). Sexting panic: Rethinking criminalization, privacy, and consent. University of Illinois Press.
  • Hearn, A. (2008).  Meat, Mask, Burden: Probing the contours of the branded ‘self.’ Journal of Consumer Culture, 8 (2), 197-217.
  • Hearn, A. (2010). Structuring Feeling: Web 2.0, Online Ranking and Rating, and the Digital ‘Reputation’ Economy. Ephemera 10, no. 3/4: 421-438.
  • Hicks, M. (2017). Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing. MIT Press.
  • Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling. Univ of California Press.
  • Hong, G. K. (2006). The ruptures of American capital: Women of color feminism and the culture of immigrant labor. U of Minnesota Press.
  • Koffman, O., & Gill, R. (2013). ‘the revolution will be led by a 12-year-old girl’: 1 girl power and global biopolitics. feminist review, 105(1), 83-102.
  • Kolko, B., Nakamura, L., & Rodman, G. (Eds.). (2013). Race in cyberspace. Routledge.
  • Marwick, A. E. (2013). Status update: Celebrity, publicity, and branding in the social media age. Yale University Press.
  • Massanari, A. (2017). # Gamergate and The Fappening: How Reddit’s algorithm, governance, and culture support toxic technocultures. New Media & Society, 19(3), 329-346.
  • McRobbie, A. (2004). Post-feminism and popular culture. Feminist media studies, 4(3), 255-264.
  • McRobbie, A. (2007). Postfeminism and Popular Culture: Bridget Jones and the New Gender Regime. In Tasker, Y. and Negra, D. (Eds). Interrogating Postfeminism: Gender and the Politics of Popular Culture. Duke University Press. Pp. 27-39.
  • McRobbie, A. (2009). The aftermath of feminism: Gender, culture and social change. Sage.
  • McRobbie, A. (2016). Be creative: Making a living in the new culture industries. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Mukherjee, R., & Banet-Weiser, S. (Eds.). (2012). Commodity activism: Cultural resistance in neoliberal times. NYU Press.
  • Negra, D., & Tasker, Y. (Eds.). (2014). Gendering the recession: Media and culture in an age of austerity. Duke University Press.
  • Noble, S. U. (2018). Algorithms of oppression: Race, gender and power in the digital age. NYU Press.
  • Nussbaum, M. C. (2010). Objectification and Internet misogyny. The offensive internet: Speech, privacy, and reputation, 68, 73.
  • Orenstein, Peggy. 1995. School Girls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap. New York: Anchor Books.
  • Piepmeier,  Alison. (2009). Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism. New York: NYU Press
  • Projansky, S. (2014). Spectacular girls: Media fascination and celebrity culture. NYU Press.
  • Rottenberg, C. (2014). The rise of neoliberal feminism. Cultural Studies, 28(3), 418-437.
  • Switzer, H. (2013). (Post) Feminist development fables: The Girl Effect and the production of sexual subjects. Feminist Theory, 14(3), 345-360.
  • Walkerdine, V., Lucey, H., & Melody, J. (2001). Growing up girl: Psycho-social explorations of gender and class. Palgrave.
  • Zeisler, A. (2016). We were feminists once: From Riot Grrrl to Covergirl: The buying and selling of a political movement, New York: Public Affairs.


Essay (80%, 2000 words) and project (20%) in the LT.

 The summative assignment consists of a 2000 word essay and a media product, about a particular historical period we discuss in class.

For the essay component (80%) students will be asked to choose a case study from a particular historical period that was discussed in the course and analyze how particular media from that period represents, engages with and/or negotiates the meanings of feminism. Students will be instructed to write their summative essay on a different historical period from that on which they wrote their formative essay.  

For the media production component (20%), students will be required to produce an example of a media form that relates to the period on which they write their summative essay.   This task asks students to create a media artifact, with “media” understood as a broad category.

For the purposes of this class, media production involves the use of technology (from print to music to digital media) to be able to produce a tactile, visual, digital, or audio artifact. These media products could range from creating a social media plan for a feminist action, or a hashtag campaign that would cross platforms, to a YouTube channel where they can give tutorials on feminism. Students can create a short documentary or educational video, or a pitch for a reality show, or storyboard, zine, comic strip, podcast, etc. The media product does not have to correspond with the actual historical period analyzed, so students can imagine a different medium paired with the era: a podcast “from” suffragette era, a Tumblr from the Second Wave era, etc.

Students do not have to have experience in production; this is more of a creative assignment to think through the connections between feminist theories and how these theories might be represented in media productions. Assessment will be based on a well-thought out product, the amount of difficulty inherent in chosen medium, and the ability to apply ideas from the course to a media product.

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills