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Feminist Counterpublics and Public Feminisms: Advancing a Critique of Racialized Sexualization in London's Public Advertising

Ringrose, J; Regehr, K; (2020) Feminist Counterpublics and Public Feminisms: Advancing a Critique of Racialized Sexualization in London's Public Advertising. Signs , 46 (1) pp. 229-257. 10.1086/709362. Green open access

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Abstract

Following public outcry over a body-shaming advertisement in the London transportation network in 2015, the mayor of London commissioned a multimedia documentary-style study that involved sixteen interviews with women as they commuted throughout London; two “talk-back” art projects with twenty-two schoolgirls; and a survey of 2,012 Londoners. This article explores our experience of undertaking this project as a mixed-methods, intersectional feminist research process. We discuss the complex relationship between feminist counterpublics and public feminisms and how we negotiated working with a range of stakeholders in our attempt to reshape public debates over gender and advertising. We explore a shift in which women, once positioned as passive props for the male gaze, have been reimagined through postfeminist modes of confident address and forms of “femvertising,” which challenge women to live up to new hybrid forms of racialized, sexualized bodily ideals. Our statistical findings demonstrate an overwhelming public dislike of sexualized advertising, and our in-depth interviewing, focus groups, and collaging methodologies show how diverse women experience new forms of racialized sexualization as problematic rather than as evidence of diversity and inclusion. We argue that by explicitly adopting a feminist intersectional lens, we can foreground the racist and sexist force of ads and their impact on a range of diverse women and girls, documenting the nonconsensual and assaultive nature of public advertising and, therefore, the need for greater accountability from corporate and government stakeholders.

Type: Article
Title: Feminist Counterpublics and Public Feminisms: Advancing a Critique of Racialized Sexualization in London's Public Advertising
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1086/709362
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1086/709362
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112176
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