The Celebrity Activist and Cultural critic: Emma Watson's Feminist Books Club & The Handmaids Tale

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Helle Kannik Haastrup, University of Copenhagen, DenmarkThe Celebrity as Activist and Cultural Critic: Emma Watson’s Feminist Book Club & The Handmaids Tale
This paper presents a case study analysing the Emma Watson’s feminist book club ’Our Shared Shelf’ and the presentation of the book of the month – The Hand Maids Tale - on her social media profiles Instagram and Facebook. The focus is on Watson’s representation of the novel on her social media profiles, her interview with Atwood and the ’Our Shared Shelf’ platform. The ’Our Shared Shelf’ book club was founded following to the launch of the UNWomen campaign HeForShe with Emma Watson as ambassador. The theoretical perspectives informing this analysis include: the concept of celebrity activism (Chouiliraki 2012, Brockington + Henson 2015, Tsaliki et al 2014, Wheeler 2013, Corner and Pels 2003), analysis of the workings of celebrity book clubs in digital media culture (Collins 2010) and theories of post-feminist media representations (Gill 2007, Rowe 1995). Additionally I propose a distinction between two different kinds of cultural (and political) authority excerted by Watson’s star brand: 1) Authority through star image: The star image as celebrity capital and the usage of the attention economy (Dyer 1979, Driessens 2015, Marwick 2015) in which the star excerts a kind of moral authority (Casmore 2006, Wheeler 2012). 2) Authority by proxy: the re-interpretation of Bourdieu’s concept of the cultural intermediary as a function (Bourdieu 1984, Maguire and Matthews 2014) that is what I propose to call ’expertise by proxy’ gaining authority through consulting authors and experts. Thisdistinction makes it possible to discuss the implications when a celebrity takes on the role of a cultural critic.
Publikationsdatojun. 2018
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2018

ID: 229369496