Choosing love, marriage and the traditional role

Updating hegemonic femininity in Heat magazine


  • Camila Montiel McCann University of Liverpool



Hegemonic femininity, Postfeminism, Heternormativity, White supremacy, Neoliberalism


Stereotypes of white women have historically limited their identities to that of wife and mother. Though restrictive, this type of femininity has been mobilised to create hierarchies of womanhood that legitimate this form and subordinate others. However, social change since the feminist second wave has seen the renegotiation of women’s position, and contemporary antiracist and LGBTQIA+ discourse has seen further departure from traditional ideals of femininity. Mass media is a dominant site where controlling images of women are negotiated and in which dominant, or hegemonic, forms emerge. This article applies Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis to examine popular British gossip magazine Heat’s romance and sex narratives for discourse which (re)produces, negotiates or challenges hegemonic femininity. Through the appropriation of feminist language, Heat propagates an updated hegemonic femininity which preserves the racio-patriarchal discourse of gender difference whilst pacifying feminist audiences.

Estereótipos de mulheres brancas historicamente limitam suas identidades aos papéis de esposas e mães. Embora redutoras, essas categorias têm sido mobilizadas com o objetivo de criar hierarquias de feminilidade que as legitimam enquanto subordinam outras formas do feminino. Contudo, desde a segunda onda do feminismo, mudanças sociais relativas à renegociação do lugar da mulher assim como discursos antirracistas e pró-LGBTQIA+ têm possibilitado um distanciamento dos ideais tradicionais de feminilidade. A mídia de massa veicula imagens de mulheres que acabam se tornando dominantes e hegemônicas. Este artigo aplica a Análise Feminista Crítica do Discurso a narrativas de romance e sexo veiculadas na popular revista inglesa Heat e investiga discursos que (re)produzem, negociam ou desafiam a feminilidade hegemônica. Através da apropriação do discurso feminista, a revista Heat propaga uma versão atualizada de feminilidade hegemônica que preserva discursos patriarcais racializados da diferença de gênero ao mesmo tempo em que tenta apaziguar o público feminista.

Author Biography

Camila Montiel McCann, University of Liverpool

Camila Montiel McCann is a doctoral candidate in linguistics at the University of Liverpool, where she also received her degree in English and MRes with distinction. Camila’s doctoral research analyses the positioning of women and minority genders in British broadsheet news articles and is funded by the NWCDTP.


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How to Cite

Montiel McCann, C. . (2021). Choosing love, marriage and the traditional role: Updating hegemonic femininity in Heat magazine. Gender and Language, 15(3), 324–346.