Debating the F1 Grid Girls: Feminist Tensions in British Popular Culture

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The banning of the Formula 1 (F1) ‘grid girls’ in January 2018 produced a contentious debate on women’s autonomy and sexual capital in the British media. This debate is symbolic of a wider trend towards postfeminist ideology, in which sexualised displays of the female body have come to be perceived as liberating self-sufficient choices which emphasise agency and serve to benefit women. This paper draws upon postfeminist responses to the banning of the F1 grid girls and implements a discursive analysis of a variety of news sites in order to identify the reoccurring themes that characterise postfeminist debate in this area. The dominant themes identified include [dis]empowerment, freedom of choice, and disputed understandings of feminism which are discussed from a critical feminist perspective. This paper thus contributes towards perceptions of the parameters of sexism in British popular culture and analyses continued transformations in feminist thought.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2019


  • Empowerment
  • feminism
  • grid girls
  • post-feminism
  • sexism
  • sexualisation


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