University of Hertfordshire

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

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2019


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.


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