Feminist Finance: Recessionistas, Debt and the Credit Crunch

Katy Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article offers an opposing argument to the ‘man-cession’ narrative that has dominated press in recent years and explores what makes this particular economic context crucial for contemporary women’s fiction, offering a view into the recession’s impact on women’s lives, reading, consumption patterns, and self-identity in today’s post-credit-crunch world. The credit crunch has reignited debates about gender and the workplace in twenty-first century society. This article proposes that tensions between gender and debt have been played out in popular culture post-2007, most notably in publishing, through the emergence of a new genre of literature——Recessionista fiction. In Recessionista fictions, cocktails and heels are eschewed in favor of financial practicality, as shopaholic heroines confront a harsh new reality, forced into a position where they must take stock of their lives and start again from the midst of financial ruin, divorce or a major career change. As part of this process, Recessionista fiction foregrounds the impact of the credit crunch on female identity. This article examines a range of Recessionista fictions to explore how, why and with what effects the heroines of these novels intern and reifying the attitudes of society during and after the global credit crunch. Examining an evolution in contemporary fiction that brought a taste of reality to an outdated chick lit genre in danger of extinction, the article analyses representations of gender and debt and the possibilities for personal transformation brought about by the global economic downturn.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-125
Number of pages13
JournalCulture, Language and Representation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014


  • credit crunch
  • chick lit
  • women’s fiction
  • debt
  • contemporary literature


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