“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

Abstract

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

Conference

ConferenceConsole-ing Passions
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityBournemouth
Period11/07/1813/07/18

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lobby
public transport
politics
gender
anxiety
normativity
popularization
objectification
sexism
sexual harassment
gender relations
social media
rating
discourse

Cite this

Evans, A., & Riley, S. (2018). “The feminist lobby would get their plain knickers in a twist”: TubeCrush and gender politics in transit. Paper presented at Console-ing Passions, Bournemouth, United Kingdom.

“The feminist lobby would get their plain knickers in a twist”: TubeCrush and gender politics in transit. / Evans, Adrienne; Riley, Sarah.

2018. Paper presented at Console-ing Passions, Bournemouth, United Kingdom.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Evans, A & Riley, S 2018, '“The feminist lobby would get their plain knickers in a twist”: TubeCrush and gender politics in transit' Paper presented at Console-ing Passions, Bournemouth, United Kingdom, 11/07/18 - 13/07/18, .
Evans A, Riley S. “The feminist lobby would get their plain knickers in a twist”: TubeCrush and gender politics in transit. 2018. Paper presented at Console-ing Passions, Bournemouth, United Kingdom.
Evans, Adrienne ; Riley, Sarah. / “The feminist lobby would get their plain knickers in a twist”: TubeCrush and gender politics in transit. Paper presented at Console-ing Passions, Bournemouth, United Kingdom.
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abstract = "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.",
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