Subjectivity for sale: the gender politics of ghosted celebrity memoir

Yelin, Hannah (2016) Subjectivity for sale: the gender politics of ghosted celebrity memoir. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis examines the memoirs of contemporary, young, female celebrities with a particular focus on gender, agency in self-representation, and ghostwritten authorship. Although the thesis explores examples which range across fiction, photo-diary, comic-strip, and art anthology, as well as more ‘traditional’ autobiographical forms, it argues that a strong set of representational conventions is at play, prescribing particular constructions of female subjectivity. These memoirs exist within what this thesis terms a wider economics of access, in which young, female celebrities trade the appearance of access to their commoditised subjectivity and/or exposed bodies. This thesis investigates both the demands of the genre, and the potentially resistant strategies which may work to temper them. Yet even the most seemingly non-conforming examples evidence the weight of convention upon them and point to the limits of the representational possibilities for highly visible young women. This thesis contends that such questions of access and self-representational agency must be interrogated in relation to the genre’s visible mediation. These texts, which are widely understood to be ghost-written, invite consideration of how can we understand collaborative construction and its implications for both agency and ‘authorship’. Case-studies have been organised around female celebrities from different media ‘fields’ - reality TV stars, popstars and ‘glamour’ models - and the thesis explores the examples of Jade Goody, Paris Hilton, Katie Price, Pamela Anderson, Jenna Jameson, Lady Gaga and M.I.A - examining the ways in which self-representation is shaped by the media specificities of the particular celebrity’s domain. By theorising celebrity memoir - as gendered, as ghost-written, as an agentic intervention, and as a negotiated terrain which makes its negotiations exceptionally visible on the page – this thesis provides new ways in which to understand the modes of self-representation available to women on a public stage, and the discourses which structure and limit them.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art History and World Art Studies (former - to 2014)
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2016 11:58
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2022 01:38


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