Screen cultures – Sexuality, power and violence
Dr. Debra Ferreday (Lancaster University) | ‘Only the bad gyal could do this’: Rihanna, rape-revenge narratives, and the cultural politics of White Feminism
In 2015, Rihanna released a video single, Bitch Better Have My Money (more widely known as BBHMM), whose violent imagery would become the focus of much popular and academic feminist debate over the intersectional gendered and racialised politics of popular culture, in particular coming to define what has been termed ‘White Feminism’, in particular intersecting with debates about rape culture and the extent to which celebrity culture operates to secure consent to social relations of violence and inequality. This paper puts Rihanna’s work in the context of a wider history of the figure of the ‘angry girl’ in rape-revenge cinema. In doing so, I explore how such representations mobilise affective responses of shame, identification and complicity and how these reproduce themes of surveillance and victim-blaming that potentially operate to silence women of colour’s experience of violence.
Dr. Kaitlynn Mendes (University of Leicester) | SlutWalk: Feminism, Activism and Media
In April 2011, residents of Toronto staged the first ever ‘SlutWalk’ – a grassroots demonstration to challenge the ways victims of sexual assault are routinely blamed for their assault. Since then, SlutWalks have taken in place in over 200 cities and 40 nations, mobilising tens of thousands of women, men, and children. With the help of the feminist blogosphere, SlutWalks not only went ‘viral’ but attracted unprecedented mainstream media coverage for feminist activism. This paper will provide an overview of the ways the mainstream news media reported the movement and will address challenges feminist activists encounter when their efforts are mediated by capitalist organisations.
Dr. Debra Ferreday is a senior lecturer in Sociology and co-director of the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies at Lancaster University. Her work lies at the intersection of feminist cultural studies, queer theory and media studies, and focusses on issues of gender, sexuality, power and embodiment.
Dr. Kaitlynn Mendes is an Associate Professor at the University of Leicester. She is author or editor of five books, including SlutWalk: Feminism, Activism and Media (2015), Feminism in the News (2011), and Digital Feminist Activism: Girls and Women Fight Back Against Rape Culture (forthcoming, with Jessalynn Keller and Jessica Ringrose).
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