Radical feminism and punk: visual cultures of affect and disruption

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Radical feminism and punk subculture were two communities in Britain in the 1970s which produced politically diverse cultural, visual, and photography practices. This paper explores, for the first time, the overlap between these two communities and how their political perspectives and enthralling disruptive visual strategies informed each other. I argue that punk, although resembling the dominant culture and other subcultures in their patriarchal aspects, provided a space for communicating feminist arguments and shared radical feminism’s disruptive strategies. My discussion examines punk artist Linder Sterling’s exploration of gender boundaries and sexuality in her feminist photomontages and her controversial punk performance. This argument is posited in relation to radical feminist street events, feminist photography, and punk aesthetics. Finally, I suggest that feminist and punk uses of photography, visual production, and performance were affective practices that engendered a political sense of community, identification, and mobilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-378
Number of pages22
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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