Madonna or Whore? Representations of prostitution in contemporary British news media
Sammanfattning: This thesis explores representations of consensual adult sexual labour within British newspapersThe Daily Mail and The Guardian. Through an analysis of framing methods informed by the theoretical perspectives of intersectional and postcolonial feminist theory and news media framing, the paper seeks to identify that which contributes towards the dominant representations of particular forms of sex work. It also seeks to position such representations within wider socio-cultural frameworks of reference. An exploration of the ways sex worker voices are utilised contributes to this analysis, through an application of theory surrounding source influence and representation. The thesis then seeks to ask: does the framing of sex workers as it is found within each newspaper produce more or less ‘acceptable’ forms of sex work? And if so, what are the conditions attached to such acceptability? This paper takes a methodological approach of interpretive framing analysis informed by an epistemological perspective of standpoint feminism. An adaptation of Matthes and Kohring’s (2008) framing analysis method is used for the main analytical process, with the analysis of sex worker voices having emerged from an application of theory. TheanalysisresultsindicatethewaysinwhichT heDailyMailproduces‘acceptable’sexwork through capitalist understandings of economic productivity. Sex workers are framed in The Mail across existings structures of oppression such as gender, race and class, as those who work indoors are affordedaleniencythatoutdoors-workersarenot.FramingswithinT heGuardianarelessovertly presented through valuations of the work itself, and are more focused on the wider impacts of policy. However, articles by anti-prostitution campaigners provide a dominant framing of prostitution as gendered oppression. The outcomes of this research have shown sex work to be framed most consistently through its positioning in relation to existing structures of social or cultural hierarchy. This thesis argues that prostitution is, in each context, constituted through a set of assumed beliefs which are fundamentally connected to perceptions of sex, class-based tropes of social hierarchy and a colonial tendency to exploit those considered to be socially vulnerable through a discursive guise of protection.
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