Today’s post looks lightly at the divide between feminism / postfeminism and how certain terminology is impacting young women. Following this you will find comments on Atomos by Wayne McGregor, an interview with Crystal Pite and something I am practicing.

What I am reading

Gill (2016) looks at current mainstream media to highlight the divide between feminism / postfeminism and how it has materialised over time. Through generational analysis, she questions the visibility of the terms and attempts to categorise them in a way that does not jettison either term. For instance, oftentimes postfeminism has been put forward as suggesting that feminism is over and that is no longer needed because women have won. However, this understanding is incorrect. According to Gill, postfeminism “is a critical analytical term that refers to empirical regularities or patterns in contemporary cultural life, which include the emphasis on individualism, choice, and agency as dominant modes of accounting” (p.631). What is interesting about these “patterns” is that liberation terminology; freedom, agency and empowerment are oftentimes verbalised more by younger women. On one hand I can see that those terms offer resilience and adaptability, but they come with their own set of contradictions and complexities. For instance, celebrities and their misunderstandings of these terms have had a huge cultural impact on young women and are partly to blame for the divide between feminists and postfeminists. A misinterpreted postfeminist might mistake a feminist as a woman who has burned her bra, doesn’t shave her legs and is a man hater. Whereas they see themselves, a post-feminist, as a woman who indulges in all things “feminine”; a hair free body, makeup, high heels, and pretty much any type of beauty and diet trend. Nothing is wrong with either, but given the rich amount of literature surrounding inauthentic and exaggerated femininity and how it is built on foundations of capitalism and male gaze, “choice” has to be questioned. More on that next week…

What I am Watching

As an opening to thevirtuosic, technically perfect and intricate dance, this piece begins with dancers’ bodies merging and separating as they create various shapes with their gorgeous limbs. It is not long before the movement becomes distorted with an animal like aesthetic that can be fully absorbed by the viewer. This is what I love about McGregor’s work; I am not forced to generate or follow a narrative. I just indulge in the technical precision of the dancers and enjoy the way McGregor has manipulated bodies in space. It reminds me that the technical body is entertaining in its own right and that it is ok to compose dance purely based on aesthetic spectacle. Here are some other notes.

  • During some of the lifts here, I see not just a base, but the lifting body as part of the structural design. The dancers are always in motion.
  • The transitional elements of the work are fluid, seamlessly executed and are often supported by changing in music or silence to sound, or trio to solo, to group etc. Relative to transition, one position / pose is often taken from a previous section and is developed and recycled.
  • The use of blackout becomes part of the dance which allows the performers to regroup.
  • The staging is supported by technology that easily shifts the scenography of the work from one section to the next.

What I am Listening to

Given the intricate detail in Crystal Pite’s choreographic work, I listened to this interview to learn more about her process. I made the following short notes…

  • She creates for music and waits for the right project to land. The composers’ intent for their score is then used to inform her choreographic decisions. This is then supported by writing within the creative process, or sketches of how the piece might unfold. However, she doesn’t need to know where the work his headed until it has finished.
  • Her work is not defined as “dance” because she does not want to be bound to that form.
  • Looking at a color pallet is useful when considering costume.
  • Larger cast means you can work more simplistically. If one movement was repeated over and over by 50 people, this is much more effective than one person performing the same movement alone.
  • Take more physical risks. Ask how what whatever it is you are doing can be taken further.
  • It goes without saying but it is worth repeating; know the body of your performers, even if the performer is you.

What I am practicing

Due to upcoming performance that requires my core strength to be super human core strength, I have been spending time working solely on balance and control in inverted positions on my forearms and hands. On top of this, I am upping my cardiovascular fitness by taking part in hiit classes. You can see what one of those classes might look like here.

Rowena x

I will be back with more notes next week, but in the meantime, you can see my daily updates by following me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook


Gill, R. (2016) Post Postfeminism. New Feminist Visibilities in Postfeminist Times. Feminist Media Studies