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The politics of apoliticality: Qu me dices!, celebrity, gender ideology and surveillance

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Abstract:

This investigation examines Qu me dices! (What are you telling me!), an entry in Spain's prensa rosa (pink press) ensemble. The celebrity- and female aesthetics-oriented magazine presents as staunchly apolitical as it resolutely ignores contemporary issues (e.g. the economy, immigration). However, I posit that Qu me dices! channels a distinct political posture. The publication affirms celebrity as a form of meritocracy enacted to market specifications that bestows popularity on figures that resonate with mass audiences. Qu me dices! is, nonetheless, silent on the production of celebrity via the media apparatuses of which it is a part. Where ideology and gender are concerned, Qu me dices! is traditionalist in exhorting women to surveil their appearances and to make interventions with an eye toward attracting men; intensifying consumption to eradicate presumed personal defects is emphasised at the exclusion of other projects. Surveillance of celebrity also eases readers' participation in the new information-based economy with its emphasis on obtaining customer details. Thus, a publication that refuses formal politics teems with political implications, particularly for women.

Keywords: Spanish press; celebrity; gender ideology; prensa rosa; surveillance; women's magazines

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/macp.3.3.271_1

Affiliations: Saint Louis University, Madrid Campus.

Publication date: November 5, 2007

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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