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Media visibility of femininity and care: UK women magazines’ representations of female “keyworkers” during Covid-19

Rottenberg, Catherine and Orgad, Shani (2022) Media visibility of femininity and care: UK women magazines’ representations of female “keyworkers” during Covid-19. Journal of International Communication. ISSN 1321-6597 (In Press)

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This article explores the media visibility of female keyworkers—workers deemed essential for society’s functioning, from medical staff through transport workers to social care workers—during Covid-19. Focusing on UK women’s magazines as an important genre regulating femininity, we analyze representations of women keyworkers during the pandemic’s first six months, demonstrating how these depictions and the construction of keyworkers’ femininity gesture toward “care justice” while simultaneously perpetuating sentimentalized “care gratitude.” “Care justice” is articulated through a focus on women’s ordinariness, collectivity, and the voicing of critique regarding working conditions and the urgent need to invest in care infrastructure. “Care gratitude” is promoted through the magazines’ celebration of “heroic” keyworkers who are overwhelmingly able, young, employed, resilient, and caring, reinforcing heteronormative femininity. Women’s magazines thus constitute a mediated site where both the possibilities and the limitations of the recent media visibility of care work and those performing it are illuminated.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 Journal of International Communication
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2022 14:33
Last Modified: 11 May 2022 10:30

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