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Title: Body politics: a critical analysis of the sexualisation of popular culture and the rise of lads’ mags
Authors: Tippett, Anna
Advisors: Wilkin, P
Lockyer, S
Keywords: Gender;Social constructivism;Feminism;Post feminism & lad culture;Masculinity & femininity
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: This thesis investigates the rise of lads’ mags and the wider sexualisation of British popular culture, with a specific focus on the ways in which gender and sexuality are socially constructed and how such constructions work to inform a broader ideology of patriarchy. As a consequence of this, postfeminism and new sexism are critically analysed and it is argued that they hinder progress towards gender equality and serve to justify sexism. Body theory, feminist theory, Foucauldian theory and a Foucauldian Feminist approach underpin the theoretical framework of this research and are used to examine how the body is politicised in lads’ mags and wider popular culture. Notions of gender, sexuality and identity are analysed and revealed as naturalising gender divisions. The methodological framework this research draws upon includes semi-structured interviews, an online survey, content analysis and critical discourse analysis, which collectively contribute an in-depth exploration of people’s perceptions of lads’ mags and the content of the magazines. Ten men and ten women were interviewed, complementing this research with respondents’ observations, assessments and experiences from a broad range of ages. Further to this, an online survey provides over 2,000 responses on public perceptions of lads’ mags and is thus the largest piece of empirical research on this topic to have been conducted. This thesis studies the female body as a site of social and political contestation and concludes that the representation of women in lads’ mags reflects a conflict about sexuality and identity which feeds into the normalisation of patriarchy in British society. How we come to embody the discourses prescribed to us by popular culture is examined through drawing upon empirical data, public debate and wider research on sexualisation. This thesis subsequently argues that the way in which we embody discourses becomes a part of our reality and lads’ mags thus exist as part of a wider cultural story that upholds patriarchy as both normal and desirable.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Sociology
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Theses

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