“The feminist lobby would get their plain knickers in a twist”: TubeCrush and gender politics in transit

Adrienne Evans, Sarah Riley

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    TubeCrush is a social media company, whose aim is to pay ‘Homage to the Hommes’ by taking, sharing and rating unsolicited images of ‘guy candy’ on the London Underground. In our previous analysis, we analyzed TubeCrush as being part of what Berlant (2008) means when she defines the intimate public as being ‘juxtapolitical’. Read through this lens, the intimate public of TubeCrush skirts on the edges of the political, before returning us to normativity (Evans & Riley, 2017). In this paper, we consider the wider gender politics that have taken shape around TubeCrush, using two contrasting political spheres. Our first sphere reflects a growing awareness of public transport as a masculinized space, for example: in the popularisation of the term ‘manspreading’, which is now classed as anti-sociable behaviour on public transport in New York and Madrid; the rise of transport-based feminist activism; and women’s accounts of public sexual harassment that often feature buses and tubes. Our second sphere, however, draws on the comments made on the MailOnline that responded to an article written about our research with TubeCrush. The comments on this article drew heavily on discourses of ‘reverse sexism’, concerns about the ‘objectification of men’, and anti-feminist sentiment. Drawing these two spheres together, we argue that public transport reflects the affective fabrics of contemporary gender relations. Within this, TubeCrush provokes a postfeminist fear, which is expressed in hostility, misogyny, insecurity and fear invoked by the risk of men losing power and TubeCrush’s reversal of men’s ownership of the image.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2018
    EventConsole-ing Passions - Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, United Kingdom
    Duration: 11 Jul 201813 Jul 2018


    ConferenceConsole-ing Passions
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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