The Performativity of Choice: Postfeminist Perspectives on Work–Life Balance.
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGender, Work and Organization. 2017, 24 (3), 297-313. 10.1111/gwao.12163
A strong emphasis on individual choice is considered to represent a particular neoliberal culture, and choice is claimed to substitute feminism. This article argues that the vocabulary of choice should not be seen only as a representation of a double entanglement of neoliberalism and postfeminism, but rather as a site for entanglement, and further explored as a performative concept. The argument is developed though empirical analysis of media texts on women combining career and motherhood. The metaphor of work–life balance is argued to function as a gendering frame as the particular combination of motherhood and career commitment is construed as conflicting dimensions of a feminine subjectivity. Within the gendered work–life balance framing the vocabulary of choice is performative, producing dichotomies and differences by the looks of individual agency. Thus, choice is not merely ‘covering up power structures’: the vocabulary of choice performs structuring power.