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Kim Toffoletti: Sexy surfers, selfies, and social media – Encounters with Jean Baudrillard, Postfeminism and Post-truth

In keeping with a Baudrillardian mode of theorising, in this talk I will ‘explore’ (rather than ‘explain’) feminist representational politics in what has been described as postfeminist (or some say post-postfeminist) times.

Reflecting on my current research, which concerns the growing visibility of women’s sport in the media, and in particular the role of social media in facilitating this visibility (that is, sexy surfers, selfies and social media), I contemplate some of the challenges for feminist theory and praxis in a post-truth and postfeminist media climate.

This moment, as postfeminist critics of the media have observed, is characterised by a distinct set of circumstances which see women frequently cast as empowered subjects under neoliberalism.

Jean Baudrillard’s claim that we inhabit a transaesthetic, hyperreal and integral reality raises interesting conceptual challenges for feminist analysis of women’s representation in the media, which includes how feminism itself is made visible through the attribution of empowerment and capacity to women’s bodies and actions.

I look to Baudrillard’s writing on the real to think through some of the complexities of discussing how contemporary sporting femininity is represented and made visible, with an explicit focus on social media – an integral reality of immersion, immanence and immediacy.

In bringing Baudrillard into dialogue with feminist analysts of postfeminist media culture, my aim is to contemplate the points of synergy and departure that I see between these two modes of thought – the former a fatal or nonlinear logic; the latter a modality of critical analysis. Both of them, in their particular ways, target capitalist and patriarchal systems.

Kim Toffoletti is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Date Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Time 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Audience Public
Event Category Humanities
Event Type Lecture
Public Lecture
DepartmentMedia, Film and Communication
LocationRichardson, 6th Floor, North, Room 4 (R6N4)

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