Postfeminism and Transnational Audiences: Arab Women’s Reception and Negotiation of Postfeminist Femininity in Western Television

Milles, Wiam (2023) Postfeminism and Transnational Audiences: Arab Women’s Reception and Negotiation of Postfeminist Femininity in Western Television. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Drawing upon feminist media studies and audience reception research, this thesis examines the reception and negotiation of representations of Western postfeminist television programmes in the Middle East and North Africa region. Using in-depth interviews with 27 Arab women from different countries in the region, this project explores the ways in which the participants understand, negotiate, and mobilise the various neoliberal and postfeminist manifestations of femininity. In so doing, it foregrounds the role of transnational media texts in mobilising and disseminating gender ideologies at the global level. More importantly, it demonstrates the importance of giving due attention to transnational audiences to obtain a better understanding of the ways they re-negotiate and relocate some of the global neoliberal discourses within their unique local cultures.

This thesis offers an overview of the participants’ critical engagement with postfeminist representations of femininity in Anglo-American programmes. Through revealing the complex and nuanced ways they respond to Western gender ideologies the work challenges common Orientalist imageries of Arab women as “passive dupes” of their culture and Western ideologies in these texts. Moreover, this study further highlights the complexities associated with neoliberal post-racial ideologies and the nuanced responses they invoke within people of colour.

Despite the enduring prevalence of postfeminism as a framework for understanding media and cultural representations in Western culture, there has been, to date, no work that mobilises or theorises it in relation to the Arab world. This research, therefore, breaks new ground in interrogating neoliberal discourses and the western concept of postfeminism and the ways they are translated and rearticulated within the different cultural context of the MENA region.

Overall, this project therefore argues that transnational media texts offer a rich site for the discussion and negotiation of gender politics and suggests that the exploration of global audiences’ engagement with these texts offers a valuable opportunity for scholars to decentralise Western views and decolonise feminist media studies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Kitty Laine
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2023 10:05
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2024 14:57

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