Imagine a world where the oppressive, over-feminized images of women from advertising, television, films, and magazines have re-armed themselves with army boots, body modifications, and flamboyant hair. Is this just ather fairy tale, and if so, why cant it be a reality? In Alternative Femininities, Samantha Holland unpacks the myth of model womanhood and considers how a particular group of real women define and practise femininity. These women, who see themselves as 'alternative', modify and subvert popular images of femininity. The choices they make in clothing, appearance and body modifications enable them to construct a personal look that is intimately tied to self-identity. Getting the balance right between over-femininity and t being feminine eugh is a frequently voiced concern. Holland also addresses head-on the much-neglected issue of how ageing impacts on tions of femininity. What do these women think about fashion, gender and appearance as they grow older and less visible in our media-dominated society? Do they choose to tone down or stay out there, and what motivates their choice? A revealing look at contemporary femininity, Alternative Femininities gives voice to a previously silent group of women who struggle to resist sexist gender stereotypes, yet age with style, individuality and creativity. By looking at how real women negotiate self-image in an increasingly appearance-conscious society, Holland has provided a much-needed corrective to theoretical accounts of gender and femininity lacking in real data.
Samantha Holland, Carnegie Research Institute, Leeds Metropolitan University