Parody, subversion and the politics of gender at work: The case of Futurama's 'Raging Bender'

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Organization, 2013, 20 (4), pp. 512 - 533
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This article extends our understanding of how media culture offers a critique of patriarchal gender relations in organizations. Our attention turns to comedies in media culture, arguing that parody harbours the potential to inform a politics of gender at work through the way that it denaturalizes culturally embedded gendered practices. Drawing on Judith Butler's discussions of gender performativity, subversive parody and gender undoing we illustrate the critical and transgressive potential of parody in media culture. We do so in relation to a reading of the American animated television programme Futurama (1999-2003) with specific focus on the episode 'Raging Bender' (2000)-an episode that explicitly engages in drag-based gender parody. We consider the political salience of this critique and how it relates to the politics of doing and undoing gender in organizations more generally. The article demonstrates how media culture can be a valuable avenue for undertaking politically motivated studies of gender and organizations, and how this politics can be supported by the paradoxical undoing of gender that parody makes possible. © The Author(s) 2012.
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