Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Communication Studies

First Advisor

Christina R. Foust, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kate Willink

Third Advisor

Daniel J. Lair

Fourth Advisor

Ann Dobyns


Classic liberalism, Collective memory, Feminism, Post-feminism, Social movement


This dissertation identifies and challenges post-feminist narratives that remember the second wave or 1960s and 1970s liberal feminism as a radical form of activism. The narratives of three prominent post-feminist authors: Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers, Tammy Bruce and Dr. Laura Schlessinger are used as examples of how identification works as a rhetorical device that motivates individual actors to join in a struggle against liberal and radical feminist ideologies. I argue that each author draws on classically liberal and politically conservative virtues to define a "true" feminism that is at odds with alternative feminist commitments. I demonstrate how these authors create a subject position of a "true feminist" that is reminiscent of the classically liberal suffragist. In Burkean terms, each author constitutes the suffragist as a friend and juxtaposes her with the enemy--modern liberal and radical feminists. I articulate the consequences of such dialectical portrayals of feminist activism and further suggest that these authors' visions of feminism reinforce patriarchal practices, urging women to assimilate into a classically liberal society at the cost of social justice. In opposition to their memories of feminism, I offer a radical democratic approach of remembering feminism that is less concerned with the definition of feminism or feminist than it is with holistically addressing oppression and what oppression means to subjugated populations.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jenni Marie Simon


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

192 p.


Women's Studies, Communication

Included in

Communication Commons