Cleaning Up? Transnational Corporate Femininity and Dirty Work in Magazine Culture

Palgrave MacMillan
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Dirty Work: Concepts and Identities, 2012, 1, pp. 182 - 202
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In this chapter I analyse the textual construction of femininity through the representation of the figure of the contemporary career woman in an edition of Bazaar at Work, a supplement to the UK edition of Harpers and Bazaar, a 'high-end' glossy women's monthly magazine. Drawing on the notion of 'transnational corporate masculinity' (Connell, 2005), I argue that the idealised white glamorous femininity being imagined in the magazine could be understood as 'transnational corporate femininity' (Swan, 2010). Inspired by Brigid Anderson's (2000) argument that white middle-class women draw on paid domestic labourers as a form of cultural capital, I explore the place of cleanliness and whlteness in the cultural production of this version of white middle-class femininity. Of course, cleanliness can refer to various objects: bodies, clothes, dwellings, morality and attitudes, but as Elizabeth Shove has written, 'notions of cleanliness are ... laden ... with symbolic and moral import' (2003: 79). I examine this symbolic and moral import in relation to class, race and femininity.
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