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Redeeming LeadershipAn Anti-Racist Feminist Intervention$
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Helena Liu

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529200041

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529200041.001.0001

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(p.41) 2 Purity
Redeeming Leadership

Helena Liu

Policy Press

Having interrogated hegemonic white masculinity in the previous chapter, this chapter presents a critique of white femininity and the rise of postfeminism. Entrenched in imperialist notions of beauty, delicacy and purity, this chapter examines the fraught performances of white femininity in our current age as it attempts to balance between asserting dominance and maintaining an idealised innocence. The chapter investigates the ways organisations prioritise a white patriarchal feminine subject, for example, how research of women in leadership has overwhelmingly focussed on the needs and interests of elite professional women at the expense of queer, working-class and non-white women. Consequently, organisations waving the banner for ‘gender equality’ can often end up reproducing heterosexism, classism and racism. Carolyn McCall and Sheryl Sandberg’s media profiles are analysed to explore white femininities in leadership.

Keywords:   Leadership, Women, Femininities, Postfeminism, Female empowerment, Innocence

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