Sarah Palin: How Post-Feminism turned into Pre-Feminism

Sarah Palin's Red Shoes

Sarah Palin’s much publicized fashion choices and, now, fashion budget make for an interesting argument about how the post-feminist look can be appropriated in ways which are antithetical to what the look was originally meant to portray. If we understand post-feminist fashion as a reappropriation of symbols of femininity—high-heels, form-fitting skirts and colors which have traditionally being coded as feminine—by a “sexually liberated woman,” we can see how the vice presidential hopeful has been sporting some tenants of that look against the grain, as she is campaigning on a platform critical of sexual liberation altogether.

Post-feminism is best exemplified (as media theorist Angela McRobbie has pointed out) by media representation of women, such as Sex and the City and the Bridget Jones’ Diaries. Ultimately, the fact that the Republican nominee is embracing at least some central elements of the look not only goes to show the popularity of such representations, it also stands as evidence that the longstanding criticism of post-feminism as reactionary might, in this case, be accurate.