Feminist intellectual activism: within and beyond the academy: constructions of 'whiteness', gender and sexuality in South African magazines

OUTPUT TYPE: Conference or seminar papers
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2006
TITLE AUTHOR(S): N.Sanger
KEYWORDS: DEMOCRACY, GENDER EQUALITY, IDENTITY, MEDIA SECTOR, POST APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA, SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 4198

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Abstract

This presentation aims to explore the ways in which whiteness, gender and sexuality are represented through a select group of South African magazines. By looking at magazines such as Men's Health, GQ, FHM, True Love, Femina and Fair Lady, I intend to explore how these magazines as a medium of communication construct whiteness, gender and sexuality to their imagined readerships constituted of various racial, cultural, gendered and sexual identities. Most significantly, I intend to discuss the ways in which whiteness as an identity construction generates norms, ways of understanding history and ways of defining the self and `other?. Constructed as the core against which all `other? identities are measured, whiteness occupies a normalised, privileged, deified and raceless space. Identifying whiteness means marking its central place in the social construction of race and disrupting the (in)visible ways whiteness retains power and privilege. In an effort to disrupt existing racial frameworks, it is necessary to identify, name and decentre whiteness as an elitist category. By particularising whiteness in its relativity to gender, class and sexuality in a specific set of magazine media, I hope to expose patterns securing, reproducing and maintaining white supremacy in a particular social and historical space.