UN celebrity ‘It’ girls as public relations-ised humanitarianism

Hopkins, Susan (2018) UN celebrity ‘It’ girls as public relations-ised humanitarianism. International Communication Gazette, 80 (3). pp. 273-292. ISSN 1748-0485


This article combines framing analysis and critical textual analysis in a qualitative investigation of the ways in which popular culture texts, in particular articles in Australian women's magazines, frame transnational celebrity activism. Using three recent case studies of commercial representations of popular female celebrities – Nicole Kidman in Marie Claire (Australia), Angelina Jolie in Vogue (Australia) and Emma Watson in Cleo (Australia) – this study dissects framing devices to reveal the discursive tensions which lie beneath textual constructions of celebrity humanitarianism. Through a focus on United Nations Women's Goodwill Ambassadors, and their exemplary performances of popular humanitarianism, I argue that feminist celebrity activists may inadvertently contradict the cause of global gender equality by operating within the limits of celebrity publicity images and discourses. Moreover, the deployment of celebrity women, who have built their vast wealth and global influence through the commodification of Western ideals of beauty and femininity, betrays an approach to humanitarianism, which is grounded in the intersection of neocolonial global capitalism, liberal feminism and the ethics of competitive individualism.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Open Access College (1 Jul 2013 - 7 Jun 2020)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Open Access College (1 Jul 2013 - 7 Jun 2020)
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2018 00:46
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2021 06:48
Uncontrolled Keywords: feminism, framing, humanitarian celebrity, UN ambassadors, women’s magazines
Fields of Research (2008): 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4405 Gender studies > 440599 Gender studies not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1748048517727223
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/33768

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