Working on working women: The postfeminist mystification of “employable femininity” in post-crisis Spain
This article deploys the notion of ‘employable femininity’, by which we refer to the mystification along postfeminist lines of an idealized womanhood suitable to be employed and worked upon, in order to explore how women’s relation to employment is currently being articulated and contested in contemporary Spain. Structural transformations during neoliberalism have promoted women’s rising involvement into labor markets while, simultaneously, reinforcing the systemic relevance of women’s unpaid work in the domestic arena. A hegemonic, media-constructed model of femininity has thus emerged where participation into paid employment is presented as a path towards liberation and economic independence for certain women who, nonetheless, cannot do away with the care-related responsibilities traditionally allotted to them. The current Spanish conjuncture provides a paradigmatic case in point to observe how women’s relation to employment is being reconfigured, insofar as attempts to ‘re-domesticate’ women in the aftermath of the Great Recession have been confronted by a resurgent feminist movement which, nowadays, figures as the main vector of social contention in contemporary Spain.
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