Choosing love, marriage and the traditional role

Updating hegemonic femininity in Heat magazine

Authors

  • Camila Montiel McCann University of Liverpool

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.19205

Keywords:

Hegemonic femininity, Postfeminism, Heternormativity, White supremacy, Neoliberalism

Abstract

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.

References

Amy-Chinn, Dee (2006) This is just for me(n): how the regulation of post-feminist lingerie advertising perpetuates woman as object. Journal of Consumer Culture 6(2): 155–175. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1469540506064742 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1469540506064742

Barthel, Diane (1992) When men put on appearances: advertising and the social construction of masculinity. In Steve Craig (ed) Men, Masculinity and the Media 137–153. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Baxter, Judith (2010) Discourse-analytic approaches to text and talk. In Lia Litosseliti (ed) Research Methods in Linguistics 117–137. London: Continuum.

Benwell, Bethan (2003) Ambiguous masculinities: heroism and anti-heroism in the men’s lifestyle magazine. Sociological Review 51(S1): 151–168. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-954X.2003.tb03609.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-954X.2003.tb03609.x

Cameron, Deborah and Kulick, Don (2003) Language and Sexuality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791178 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791178

Collins, Patricia Hill (2002) Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge.

Connell, Raewyn W. (1987) Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Connell, Raewyn W. (1995) Masculinities. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Crenshaw, Kimberlé (1989) Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: a Black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and anti-racist politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989(1): 193–167.

de Beauvoir, Simone (1997[1949]) The Second Sex. New edn. London: Vintage Books.

Demetriou, Demetrakis Z. (2001) Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity: a critique. Theory and Society 30(3): 337–361. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/a:1017596718715 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017596718715

Eberhardt, Maeve (2021) Raucous feminisms in neoliberal times: disruptive potential and the language of unruliness on Broad City. Gender and Language 15(1): 65–88. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.18824 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.18824

Eckert, Penelope (1996) Vowels and nail polish: the emergence of linguistic style in the preadolescent heterosexual marketplace. In Natasha Warner, Jocelyn Ahlers, Leela Bilmes, Monica Oliver, Suzanne Wertheim and Mel Chen (eds) Gender and Belief Systems: Proceedings of the Fourth Berkeley Women and Language Conference 183–190. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Women and Language Group.

Friedan, Betty (2010[1963]) The Feminine Mystique. London: Penguin.

Garza, Joyhanna Yoo (2021) ‘Where all my bad girls at?’ cosmopolitan femininity through racialised appropriations in K-pop. Gender and Language 15(1): 11–41. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.18565 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.18565

Genz, Stephanie (2009) Postfemininities in Popular Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230234413 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230234413

Gill, Rosalind (2008) Empowerment/sexism: figuring female sexual agency in contemporary advertising. Feminism and Psychology 18(1): 35–60. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353507084950 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353507084950

Glapka, Ewa (2018) Postfeminism – for whom or by whom? applying discourse analysis in research on the body and beauty (the case of black hair). Gender and Language 12(2): 242–268. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.30898 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.30898

Goldman, Robert (1992) Reading Ads Socially. London: Routledge.

Gramsci, Antonio (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci (Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell-Smith eds). London: Lawrence and Wishart.

Hanke, Robert (1992) Redesigning men: hegemonic masculinity in transition. In Steve Craig (ed) Men, Masculinity and the Media 185–197. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781483326023.n13 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4135/9781483326023.n13

Harris-Perry, Melissa V. (2011) Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

hooks, bell (2000) Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. London: Pluto Press.

Jackson, Stevi and Scott, Sue (2004) Sexual antinomies in late modernity. Sexualities 7(2): 233–248. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460704042166 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460704042166

Kosetzi, Konstantia and Polyzou, Alexandra (2009) ‘The perfect man, the proper man’: representations of masculinities in Nitro, a Greek men’s lifestyle magazine – an exploratory study. Gender and Language 3(2): 143–180. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v3i2.143 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v3i2.143

Lampropoulou, Sofia and Archakis, Argiris (2015) Constructing hegemonic masculinities: evidence from Greek narrative performances. Gender and Language 9(1): 83–103. http://dx.doi.org/10.1558/genl.v9i1.18348 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v9i1.18348

Lazar, Michelle M. (2005)Politicizing gender in discourse: feminist critical discourse analysis as political perspective and praxis. In Michelle M. Lazar (ed) Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis: Gender, Power and Ideology in Discourse 1–30. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230599901_1 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230599901_1

Lazar, Michelle M. (2014) Recuperating feminism, reclaiming femininity: hybrid postfeminist I-dentity in consumer advertisements. Gender and Language 8(2): 205–224. http://dx.doi.org/10.1558/genl.v8i2.205 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v8i2.205

Lears, T. J. Jackson. (1985) The concept of cultural hegemony: problems and possibilities. American Historical Review 90(3): 567–593. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1860957 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1860957

Litosseliti, Lia, Gill, Rosalind and Garcia Favaro, Laura (2019) Postfeminism as a critical tool for gender and language study. Gender and Language 13(1): 1–22. http://dx.doi.org/10.1558/genl.34599 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.34599

Lorde, Audre (1996) Scratching the surface: some notes on barriers to women and loving. In The Audre Lorde Compendium: Essays, Speeches and Journals 99–105. London: Pandora.

McRobbie, Angela (2004) Post-feminism and popular culture. Feminist Media Studies 4(3): 255–264. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1468077042000309937 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1468077042000309937

McRobbie, Angela (2009) The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change. London: Sage.

Moita-Lopes, Luiz Paulo (2006) On being white, heterosexual and male in a Brazilian school: multiple positionings in oral narratives. In Anna de Fina, Deborah Schiffrin and Michael Bamberg (eds) Discourse and Identity 288–313. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511584459.015 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511584459.015

Pyke, Karen D. and Johnson, Denise L. (2003) Asian American women and racialized femininities: ‘doing’ gender across cultural worlds. Gender and Society 17(1): 33–53. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243202238977 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243202238977

Rich, Adrienne (1980) Compulsory heterosexuality and lesbian existence. Signs 5(4): 631–660. https://doi.org/10.1086/493756 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/493756

Rojas-Sosa, Deyanira (2020) ‘Should Latinas go blond?’ media representation and the regulation of Latina bodies and Latinas’ social and cultural practices in a beauty magazine. Gender and Language 14(1): 49–72. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.36302 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.36302

Saraceno, Michael J. and Tambling, Rachel B. (2013) The sexy issue: visual representations of heteronormativity and gender identities in Cosmopolitan magazine. The Qualitative Report 18(40): 1–18.

Schippers, Mimi (2007) Recovering the feminine other: masculinity, femininity and gender hegemony. Theory and Society 36(1): 85–102. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11186-007-9022-4 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11186-007-9022-4

Statista (2018) Monthly reach of Heat magazine in Great Britain from April 2016 to March 2017, by demographic group (in 1,000s). Retrieved 18 December 2020 from https://www.statista.com/statistics/380770/heat-monthly-reach-by-demographic-uk/

Ussher, Jane M. (1997) Fantasies of Femininity: Reframing the Boundaries of Sex. London: Penguin.

van Leeuwen, Theo (1996) The representation of social actors. In Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard and Malcolm Coulthard (eds) Texts and Practices: Readings in Critical Discourse Analysis 32–70. London: Routledge.

Published

2021-10-06

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. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.19205

Issue

Section

Articles