Andi Zeisler, author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement, calls this “marketplace feminism” - a brand of feminism with a “cool, fun, accessible identity”.
“The diversity of voices, issues, approaches, and processes required to make feminism work as an inclusive social movement is precisely the kind of knotty, unruly insurrection that just can’t be smoothed into a neat brand,” she adds.
It’s not only the big brands that are exploiting feminism for personal gain. Diane points to the personal branding movement. “There is this neoliberal idea that we should all be brands and our role in the world is to cultivate our self-brand,” she explains. “And it’s increasingly possible to make one’s brand or career based on a feminist identity.
"Ten or 15 years ago, a whole range of celebrities, almost as a ritual gesture, would disavow feminism. Now we have these celebrity figures who emphatically claim feminism as a big part of their identity.
"The kind of feminism they espouse is plutocratic, or mercantile. Sheryl Sandberg wrote Lean In with good intentions but there are limits on how much a Facebook billionaire can tell us about feminism.”