Carolina Matos


Feminist media studies in the US and the UK have built a strong tradition of research, which has aimed to look at the correlation between structural gender inequalities in society and how these have been played out in the media. These range from classic studies on soap operas to debates on the sexualization of culture and the construction of forms of femininity within a post-feminist context (i.e. Gill, 2006; McNair, 2002; Ang, 1985; Tuchman at el, 1978). Research on the relationship between gender and the media has arguably become an important arena of inquiry in Latin America. Feminist media studies in countries like Brazil nonetheless is still in need of strengthening and becoming a more robust area of research, despite the emergence of some important work in the field in the last decade (i.e. Ferreira, 2015; Alvarez, 2015: Escosteguy and Messa, 2012).

The aim of this paper is to provide a brief critical sketch of some of the research in the field, examining potentialities for further work as well as avenues for theoretical engagement. As Yuval-Davis (1997, 2010) has stated, we cannot take for granted that other national contexts are embedded necessarily within post-feminism narratives and discourses, as identified in the US and Northern Europe. In countries like Brazil, rigid and fixed categories of femininity clash with feminist and post-feminist images and discourses which proliferate in the media and throughout society, mingling discourses around the “new career women” with pre-feminist narratives and other forms of idealization of Brazilian femininity. This paper also looks at the strengthening of feminist public spheres on online networks through the inclusion of examples from a wider case study conducted elsewhere by the author on the ways that Brazilian feminist movements are making use of technologies for women’s empowerment and advancement of rights.

Note on the Author

Carolina Matos is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, City, University of London. She was a part-time lecturer at the Government Department at Essex University. Former Fellow in Political Communications at the LSE, Matos obtained her PhD in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College and has taught and researched in the UK at UEL, St. Mary’s College and Goldsmiths. Matos is the author of Globalization, gender politics and the media (Lexington Books, 2017), Journalism and political democracy in Brazil (Lexington Books, 2008) and Media and politics in Latin America: globalization, democracy and identity (I.B. Tauris, 2012), which won the Premio Jabuti 2014 prize, first category in communications.