In this book, one of the most accomplished and thoughtful cultural commentators of the day, considers the contradictory nature of cultural relations. Elizabeth Wilson explores these themes through an examination of fashion, feminism, consumer culture, representation and postmodernism. Debates within feminism on the nature and effects of pornography are used to illustrate a particular kind of cultural contradiction. Wilson recognizes that postmodernism permitted the reappropriation of subjects that were not previously considered worthy of attention, or opposed to the idea of emancipation, chief among these was fashion. She shows that the association of an interest in this culturally significant subject with a revisionist project raises doubt
Chapter 2: Incoherent Feminism
On 1 May 1997, the Labour Party victory in the general election was heralded not simply as a new era for Britain, but as a new dawn for women. With the rout of the Tory Party, women, mostly Labour, made up 25 per cent of the new intake of MPs. Some of these had benefited from the brief period when the Labour Party had instigated all-women short-lists in the selection of parliamentary candidates;1 but while some represented safe seats, many, perhaps significantly, had triumphed in marginal seats or even ‘safe’ Tory seats they had never been expected to win. Immediately after the election the new Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was photographed at the centre of this bouquet of women, all of them dressed ...