Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023




This essay offers a rhetorical reading of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings to make sense of how widespread outrage over replacing the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a conservative idealogue was resolved through the invocation of postfeminist motherhood. I argue that GOP Senators and Barrett herself positioned her nomination as the achievement of feminist goals, justified through rhetorics of choice and the idealization of (white) motherhood. These strategies cement Barrett as the logical and defensible successor to both Ginsburg’s seat and her legacy of feminist work. I conclude with the implications of this circulation of postfeminist motherhood, with focus on political movements for equality and treatment of women.


This work originally appeared in Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2023, 101-130, published by Michigan State University Press.

© 2023 The Author(s). All rights reserved. Vol. 26, No. 1, 2023, pp. 101–130. ISSN 1094-8392

Original Publication Information

Coker, C. R. (2023). Replacing Notorious: Barret, Ginsburg, and Postfeminist Positioning. Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 26(1), 101-130.



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