Who is the iconic rebel? Is it a character from the legacy of James Dean or Clint Eastwood, or maybe a Beat Generation writer? Is it a woman?
Modern pop culture and the media have distorted the notion of rebellion. Classic male rebels appear sexy, nomadicnaturally rebelliouswhile unorthodox women are reprimanded, made to fit unrealistic roles and body images, or mocked for their decadence and self-indulgence. In order to appreciate our legacy of female rebelsand create space for future cultural iconsthe notion rebellion needs to be revaluated.
From Madonna and Marilyn Monroe to the reality TV stars and hotel chain heiresses of the twenty-first century, Hellions analyzes the celebration of pop culture icons and its impact on notions of gender. Looking at these past examples, Hellions expands upon the definition of rebellion and offers a new understanding of what would be considered rebellious in the celebrity-obsessed media culture of the twenty-first century.read more
Overall, this book presents a good survey of women rebels in western popular culture. However, Maria Raha argues for a liberal response to social change, investing value in acts of individual resistance, rather than organized, collective revolutionary action. She is clearly more firmly situated in the tradition of third-wave, self-empowerment feminism than of second-wave, movement-based feminism. Those who believe that the work of the second wave remains unfinished may question the author's position.There is some repetition and overlap in the chapters, and the author should cop to a few personal hobbyhorses, but these minor points don't interfere with the book's larger presentation.One disturbing moment occurs in the closing pages of the book when the author refers to the "stifling political correctness that marked the '90s" (p. 239). The "stifling" use of inclusive and appropriate language (which, when delivered with a sneer, is simply insulting) was and is a right-wing tactic for undercutting numerous groups' legitimate struggles for recognition. I am not much of a fan of identity-based rights claims, but still it is important to recognize that the side that made these claims "stifling" was the conservatives, not the progressives.The book is well documented and would make a suitable supplemental text for undergraduate courses in popular culture.read more
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