The team have now started collecting data on our 12 case study celebrities. Over the next six months we will be collecting data from an array of sources – including Twitter, Facebook and national newspapers – as we track the media representations of our case study celebs and discourses of aspiration within these. We will also be analysing other supplementary texts that appear to be central to their celebrity image and ‘back story’ including their autobiographies, documentaries, and their TV shows, films or music. As Heather recently reported, these additional sources are wide and varied – culminating in a rather bizarre but completely legitimate Amazon order from Brunel University. In this post, Kim makes some emerging observations from the case study data collection, and remakes on the inescapability of one celebrity in particular.
Posts Tagged ‘gender’
On Friday 25th January, the CelebYouth team attended a workshop organised by Tori Cann and Ester McGeeney for postgraduate researchers working in the areas of gender, media and generation. While not strictly postgraduates, we were keen to attend the event and hear presentations of new and emerging work from ‘young’ scholars working in the field, as well as the keynotes from Bev Skeggs and Yvonne Tasker. In this post we give our overall impressions of the day. In separate posts we explore two of the themes that came through for us: social class and femininity and masculinity and race as absent presences. In addition to these, we have written a short post about contempotary spaces for feminist scholarship and collective action – a theme which emerged from discussions at the end of the conference.
The last section of the Gender, Media and Generation conference was directed towards the discussion of methodologies. The workshop reflected longstanding feminist concerns to enable discussions of the personal dimensions of research, with senior academics offering mentoring and advice for the ‘next generation’ of scholars. There is much cause for concern within higher education: the increasing managerialisation and audit culture, the impact of the changes to university funding and tuition fees, rising unemployment and casualisation of contracts, and the threat of yet further hurdles and requirements for academics to ‘prove themselves’ (such as the proposal to shift to a ‘pay to say’ model of academic publishing).
Two key themes emerged for us from the Gender, Media and Generation conference. In another post we explore social class and femininity, and in a final short post reflect on working as feminist scholars in contemporary climate of academia. In this post we explore how race and masculinity were absent presences through the day and how this relates to our own research.
Two key themes emerged for us from the Gender, Media and Generation conference. In another post we explore how race and masculinity were absent presences throughout the day, and in a final short post reflect on working as feminist scholars in contemporary climate of academia. In this post we explore what speakers had to say about social class and femininity and how this relates to our own research.
X-Factor judge and singer Tulisa was in the press last month for her response to comments made by fellow judge Louis Walsh about her ‘WAG’ status. On a recent live show, Louis called Tulisa ‘Mrs WAG’, referring to media reports of her relationship with footballer Danny Simpson. In a quick and defensive riposte, Tulisa replied: ‘Excuse me? You mean I’m a WAF! It means: “Was Already Famous”’. In this post, Kim takes a look underneath the meanings of WAG and WAF and examines Tulisa’s position within wider debates about contemporary fame.
We were delighted to see Caitlin Moran telling John Lanchester why celebrity culture is too important to leave to the gossip magazines. She explains how celebrity seems to be confined to the likes of OK, Heat and Hello which tend to reduce the discussion to “always being, ‘well, she’s sweaty, she’s fat, she couldn’t hold it together’, end”. Instead Moran wants to see people “treating it with the importance it deserves”. Laura, Kim and I are spending a lot of time doing just that through this project and feel lucky that we managed to convince the ESRC that it was worth £170k. Despite welcoming this intervention from Moran and her earlier one into debates on feminism, we have a few qualms about one aspect of what she said…
After a lot of work finding schools, we have begun fieldwork and carried out six focus groups in two schools. In this post, we (Kim and Heather) share some of the things that surprised us in our 14 to 17 year-old participants’ talk about celebrities – from arguments about diver Tom Daley to animated discussions of classic Hollywood and Bollywood film stars.
A Facebook message appears in my inbox. A 30th birthday party invite from a close friend. The party has a ‘fancy dress’ theme: ‘What did you want to be when you grew up…. ?’ A mixture of feelings comes over me: excitement at celebrating a close friend’s special birthday; anticipation at the varied outfits and guises that will great me; and anxiety as I think about my child self…. What did I want to be when I grew up? Will it be different enough, ambitious enough? Will my childhood dreams of ‘becoming’ reflect where I am now? What will these dreams say to others about the person I have become?…
I was reminded of these thoughts as I listened to a recent podcast of the BBC Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour featuring a discussion on school children’s aspirations. The segment opened with the voices of a group of 7-year old pupils from a school in Bromley, South London. What did they want to be when they grew up? The responses were varied, from the ‘traditional’ and solid to the vague and, well, interesting….
The ‘Page 3′ debate has kicked off again. For those unaware of the proclivities of the UK tabloid pres. Page 3 is a weekday feature in the Sun newspaper consisting of a photograph of topless woman accompanied by a short caption allegedly about her. In the 1980s feminist politician Clare Short attempted to ban this ‘British institution’. Now there’s a new petition calling for the Sun to voluntarily pull the feature. Page 3 has been a route into celebrity for a small number of women from Sam Fox onwards (and you have to love the irony of her later coming out as lesbian) but what has this to do with young people’s aspirations? I explore that in this post but first I need to say something about my own changing position on Page 3.