University of Hertfordshire

Loose Women: an empowering vision of ageing or an extension of the beauty myth into old age?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen Ageing and Media conference 2019
Subtitle of host publicationConference contribution
Publication statusUnpublished - May 2018

Abstract

ITV’s Loose Women is a live daily human interest and topical discussion show presented by and for women that reaches around five million people each week and claims to deliver “real, authentic and empowered women having an upfront and candid discussion” (ITV Insights, 2017). The show’s three main anchors and four most regular panellists have an average age of 54 and the show regularly covers issues relating to women and ageing that cover health, chronic and terminal illness and disability, family life, sex, relationships and body image. This thematic analysis of one year’s worth of programmes asks whether Loose Women in its online and broadcast forms offers an empowering and holistic vision of female ageing that is often absent from mainstream media (Williamson, 2016). Much of its storytelling is conducted through the experiences of older female celebrities but does this approach challenge its claim of feminine empowerment by extending the beauty myth into old age, and normalizing the idea of ‘regulatory regimes’ of the body, such as cosmetic surgery (Dolan, 2014; Carter, 2014)? Or is it an example of genuinely subversive popular feminism?

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