Society’s emerging femininities

Neoliberal, postfeminist, and hybrid identities on television in South Africa

Authored by: Shelley-Jean Bradfield

The Routledge Companion to Media and Gender

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415527699
eBook ISBN: 9780203066911
Adobe ISBN: 9781135076955


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In the final episode of the miniseries 1 of Society (2007), which aired on one of South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) two public service channels, Inno, a young, thin, and beautiful black woman who supplements her limited salary as a “television weather girl” with gifts from wealthy suitors, is pictured in her messy apartment surrounded by 67 pairs of designer shoes. Inno tries to take comfort from her possessions even as she eludes her landlord, unable to pay her rent. With its emphasis on the lives and interests of upper-middle-class women who live out the success of the African dream, Society has been compared to the HBO drama Sex and the City (1998–2004), with its portrayal of conspicuous consumption and highly sexualized representations (Brown 2009). Yet, as a show populated almost solely by black women, and incorporating the particularities of the South African context beyond its glamorous setting in Johannesburg, Society offers a unique perspective on the feminine possibilities available to women in post-apartheid South Africa.

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