‘Choice’, ‘freedom’ and ‘agency’ are terms liberally appropriated in recent years by popular women’s cultural genres to advance an image of the new, empowered woman confidently embracing patriarchal heterosexuality and commodity culture. Critics such as Rosalind Gill have linked this image to the influence of contemporary neoliberalism. This article extends these claims in order to argue that with the rise of this new female subject that reflects the workings of the neoliberal process of subjectification as immanent within and responsive to normative power, a more detailed examination is necessary of the changed meanings of choice and freedom. In the light of this changed form of governance and subjectification, feminist critique of popular women’s culture needs to readjust its terms of engagement.
European Journal of Cultural Studies, 16(4), 440-452