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Post-postfeminism?: Amelia Bullmore’s Di and Viv and Rose, April de Angelis’s Jumpy and Karin Young’s The Awkward Squad.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2014
JournalContemporary Theatre Review
Journal number2
Volume24
Number of pages15
Pages177-191
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In a 2013 essay analysing recent British, women-centred, television crime drama, eminent feminist theorist Charlotte Brunsdon suggests there is evidence that as a ‘generative sensibility’, postfeminism has peaked and is now waning. Discussions of postfeminism have been more prevalent in media studies but as both Janelle Reinelt (2006) and Elaine Aston (2010) have asserted in the field of ‘new writing’ for the theatre over the last decade or so, its impact has been evident through an overt lack of engagement with feminism. This article considers Brunsdon’s contention in relation to theatre through the analysis of three plays, Amelia Bullmore’s Di and Viv and Rose (2011), April De Angelis’s Jumpy (2011) and The Awkward Squad by Karin Young (2012), all of which refer back to feminism of the 1980s. Understood as part of a small but notable upsurge in cultural production that ‘re-visits’ and ‘re-claims’ aspects of this politics recent past often ignored, overlooked or rejected under the dominant postfeminist narrative, the success of these three plays can be perceived as part of a broader cultural moment in the UK in which feminism appears to be ‘fashionable’ again. As such, they offer the opportunity to learn some of the lessons not just of feminist history but of historiography, in regard of what ‘stories’ are told about this politics past in the present and what alliances these might enable in the future.