Following the money: News, sexual assault and the economic logic of the gendered public sphere

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    Abstract

    This article engages with news coverage of the sexual assault scandal
    involving elite politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn and hotel cleaner
    Nafissatou Diallo to explore what their media treatment reveals about
    current relations of gender and power in the public sphere. Several key
    questions inform the analysis. What happens when a low status
    complainant speaks to power? What strategies of denigration take place to
    challenge her credibility? And how (in what terms) do the media make
    sense of the encounter between the two parties? Feminist media analyses
    of sex crime in the news have shown how misogynist attitudes underlie the
    depiction of women who speak out. This analysis reveals how the rules of
    media engagement are stacked against the speaking subject because she
    is both female and poor. It finds that economic inequalities, as well as
    those of gender and race, are dramatically inscribed in the mythic
    narratives of news. The overall conclusion is that the public sphere and its
    dynamics of denigration and disrespect towards women who complain are
    problematically organised along fault-lines embedded in the gendered
    socio-economics of the public and private/domestic realms.

    © 2018, SAGE Publications. The attached document is an author produced version of a paper which has been accepted for publication in the European Journal of Cultural Studies, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. Once published, we suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Oct 2018

    Keywords

    • inequality
    • economics
    • voice
    • public sphere
    • subaltern
    • sexual assault
    • news media
    • gender

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