Structures of feeling in gender, bodies, and technology

Sarah Riley, Adrienne Evans

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explains the concepts of a postfeminist sensibility and postfeminist healthism, and shows how these are important for contemporary understandings of gender and mental health. It discusses how a therapeutic language of self-improvement and empowerment has become entangled with notions of neoliberal citizenship and ideal femininity, producing both a toxic body image culture and a toxic psychological culture. One that circulates judgement, anxiety, fear, shame, and guilt and gives new life to old-fashioned sexist discourses of women as always already flawed – with an added postfeminist twist, that women are now responsible for fixing these flaws. It is in this complex psycho-socio-economic landscape, where self-improvement may enact psychological harm and hinder the kind of social change that might enhance wellbeing, that mental health practioners working in a therapeutic capacity need to consider. The chapter also highlights the importance of considering digital technology in this mix and discusses the productive power of such technologies in shaping self-knowing, using menstruation/period tracking apps as an important example.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Postmodern Therapies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 May 2023


  • postfeminism
  • intimacy
  • therapy
  • self-help
  • femtech
  • mental health


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