Postfeminism, neoliberalism and a 'successfully' balanced femininity in celebrity CEO autobiographies


Adamson, M. 2017. Postfeminism, neoliberalism and a 'successfully' balanced femininity in celebrity CEO autobiographies. Gender, Work and Organization. 24 (3), pp. 314-327.
TitlePostfeminism, neoliberalism and a 'successfully' balanced femininity in celebrity CEO autobiographies
AuthorsAdamson, M.

This article explores the construction a ‘successfully’ balanced femininity in the female celebrity CEO autobiography genre, and how it is shaped by the postfeminist and neoliberal context. The paper shows how achieving successful and therefore desirable balance requires one to embrace femininity but in a calculated, market-oriented fashion that benefits business goals, ensuring that one remains a ‘good’ postfeminist as well as neoliberal subject; and argues that this new femininity poses little challenge to the existing gendered power relations in organizations. This paper adds to the existing debates on doing gender in the workplace by providing an understanding of how and why certain ways of doing femininity in organizations are allowed or disallowed, specifically, how certain organizational femininity comes to be constructed as more successful and valuable in contemporary postfeminist and neoliberal context. Furthermore, by examining how these ideals of balanced femininity are constructed in celebrity CEO autobiographies, the paper highlights the value of exploring these texts as representations of contemporary postfeminist and neoliberal cultural norms.

JournalGender, Work and Organization
Publication dates
Online23 Dec 2016
Print05 Apr 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Jan 2017
Submitted29 May 2015
Accepted10 Oct 2016
Output statusPublished
Publisher's version
Copyright Statement

© 2016 The Authors Gender, Work & Organization published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Permalink -

Download files

Restricted files

Accepted author manuscript

  • 25
    total views
  • 2
    total downloads
  • 4
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as