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"What Is It You Haven't Got?"

In the spring of 2010, the United Kingdom was preparing for a general election. The Conservative Party—with only 18 women among its 195 members of parliament (9 percent)—circulated a glossy photograph of a group of 13 female candidates whom party leader David Cameron had backed to contest winnable seats in the new parliament. Media reports labeled them “Cameron Cuties” or “Dave’s Dolls.” Labour Party leader Gordon Brown’s “new generation” of female candidates became known as “Brown Sugars.” The party leaders’ spouses were said to be engaged in a “war of the wives” and a “fashion-off.”41

New century, same old media cliches. Now, just what is it that women haven’t got?


  • 1. Sir Stuart Rose, interview by Amelia Hill, “Women Have Never Had it So Good at Work, Says M & S Chief,” The Observer, May 31, 2009, accessed March 6, 2011, At the time of the interview Rose was chairman of Marks & Spencer, one of the largest retailers in the United Kingdom.
  • 2. As referred to in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s concession speech, June 7, 2008.
  • 3. Inter-Parliamentary Union, April 2010, accessed April 11, 2010, http://www.ipu .org/wmn-e/world.htm.
  • 4. Fawcett Society, “The Facts,” April 2010, accessed April 11, 2010, http://www
  • 5. Government Equalities Office, Domestic Violence Fact Sheet (London: Government Equalities Office, 2008).
  • 6. Ricardo Hausmann, Laura D. Tyson, and Saadia Zahidi, The Global Gender Gap Report 2010 (Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2010).
  • 7. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, “The Paradox of Women’s Declining Happiness,” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 1, no. 2 (2009): 222—23. For a feminist rebuttal of Stevenson and Wolfers, see Barbara Ehrenreich, “Are Women Getting Sadder? Or Are We All Just Getting a Lot More Gullible?” Guernica, October 13, 2009, accessed April 11, 2010, barbara_ehrenreich_are_women_g.
  • 8. Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women (London: Chatto and Windus, 1992).
  • 9. Angela McRobbie, The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change (London: Sage, 2009), 12.
  • 10. Rosalind Gill, Gender and the Media (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007), 268.
  • 11. McRobbie, The Aftermath of Feminism, 26.
  • 12. Nancy Fraser, “Feminism, Capitalism and the Cunning of History,” New Left Review 56 (March—April 2009): 114.
  • 13. Marianne Braig and Sonja Wolte, “Introduction,” in Common Ground or Mutual Exclusion? Womens Movements in International Relations, ed. Marianne Braig and Sonja Wolte (London: Zed Books, 2002), 3.
  • 14. Gill, Gender and the Media, 10
  • 15. Gaye Tuchman, “The Symbolic Annihilation of Women by the Mass Media,” in Hearth and Home: Images of Women in the Media, ed. Gaye Tuchman, Arlene Kaplan Daniels, and James Benet (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 3.
  • 16. The range and complexity of feminist media scholarship today bears little resemblance to the small body of work that emerged in the 1970s. For a historical analysis of the development of feminist media studies, see Margaret Gallagher, “Feminist Media Perspectives,” A Companion to Media Studies, ed. Angharad Valdivia (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2003): 19—39; and Gill, Gender and the Media, 9—32.
  • 17. Examples from many countries can be found in Margaret Gallagher, Gender Setting: New Agendas for Media Monitoring and Advocacy (London: Zed Books, 2001), 60-79.
  • 18. Juliann Sivulka, Ad Women: How They Impact What We Need, Want and Buy (Amherst, MA: Prometheus Books, 2009), 16.
  • 19. Gill, Gender and the Media, 112.
  • 20. Dove Canada, “Campaign for Real Beauty Mission,” September 3, 2008, accessed April 11, 2010,
  • 21. Dove, “A Word On Our Images,” November 3, 2008, accessed April 11, 2010,[cp-documentid = 10639068. The claim that the photographs had been retouched appeared in Lauren Collins, “Pixel Perfect: Pascal Dangin’s Virtual Reality,” The New Yorker, May 12, 2008. Pascal Dangin later stated that he had worked only on the Dove Pro-Age campaign.
  • 22. Liz Hoggard, “Why We’re All Beautiful Now,” The Observer, January 9, 2005, accessed March 6, 2011, sing.comment.
  • 23. Gallagher, Gender Setting, 35—45.
  • 24. As the executive body of the 27 member states of the European Union, the European Commission is responsible for proposing legislation and implementing decisions. It is accountable to the European Parliament, whose elected members represent the citizens of the European Union. The Parliament cannot initiate legislation, which it must request the Commission to draft.
  • 25. European Commission, “European Parliament Resolution on How Marketing and Advertising Affect Equality between Women and Men,” September 3, 2008, accessed April 11, 2010, .do?id=15132&num_rep=7576&language=en.
  • 26. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (New York: United Nations, 1995), paragraphs 234^5, accessed April 11, 2010, daw/beijing/pdf/BDPfA%20E.pdf
  • 27. Sally Burch and Irene Leon, “Directions for Women’s Advocacy on ICT,” in Networking for Change: The APCWNSP’s First 8 Years, ed. Pi Villanueva (Philippines: APC Women’s Networking Support Programme, 2000), 37.
  • 28. Patricia Made, “Can Free Media Be Only a Male Domain?,” Media Development 51, no. 4 (2004): 48, 49.
  • 29. European Women’s Lobby, From Brussels to Beijing: An Unfinished Journey (Brussels: European Women’s Lobby, 2010), 11.
  • 30. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, paragraph 9.
  • 31. Susanna George, “Mainstreaming Gender as Strategy: A Critique from a Reluctant Gender Advocate,” Women in Action, August 2004, accessed March 5, 2011, &Itemid=207.
  • 32. World Summit on the Information Society, Tunis Commitment, Document WSIS -05/Tunis/Doc/7-E (Tunis: WSIS, 2005), paragraph 23.
  • 33. Ineke Buskens and Anne Webb, “Epilogue,” in African Women and ICTs: Investigating Technology, Gender and Empowerment, ed. Ineke Buskens and Anne Webb
  • (London: Zed Books, 2009), 207. See also Radhika Gajjala, Yahui Zhang, and Phyllis Dako-Gyeke, “Lexicons of Women’s Empowerment Online: Appropriating the Other,” Feminist Media Studies 10, no. 1 (2010): 69—86.
  • 34. Wendy Harcourt, Body Politics in Development (London: Zed Books, 2009), 34.
  • 35. Brooke Erin Duffy, “Empowerment Through Endorsement? Polysemic Meaning in Dove’s User-Generated Advertising,” Communication, Culture & Critique 3, no. 1 (2010): 26M3.
  • 36. See Michelle M. Lazar, “‘Discover the Power of Femininity’: Analyzing Global ‘Power Femininity’ in Local Advertising,” Feminist Media Studies 6, no. 4 (2006): 510.
  • 37. Carolyn M. Byerly and Karen Ross, Women & Media: A Critical Introduction (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 232.
  • 38. Caroline Mitchell, “‘Dangerously Feminine?’ Theory and Praxis of Women’s Alternative Radio,” in Women and Media: International Perspectives, ed. Karen Ross and Carolyn Byerly (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 178.
  • 39. For further information about the GMMP and all the project reports, accessed March 5, 2011,
  • 40. Mojca Pajnik and John D. H. Downing, “Introduction: The Challenges of ‘Nanomedia,’” in Alternative Media and the Politics of Resistance: Perspectives and Challenges, ed. Mojca Pajnik and John D. H. Downing (Ljubljana, Slovenia: Peace Institute, 2008), 11.
  • 41. Amanda Platell, “Have Cameron’s Cuties Really Got What it Takes to Transform Politics?” Daily Mail, April 8, 2010, accessed April 11, 2010, http://www.dailymail -politics.html; Eleanor Harding, “New ‘Brown Sugars’ Set to Take on ‘Cameron Cuties,’” Daily Telegraph, March 1, 2010, accessed April 11, 2010, http://www -set-to-take-on-Camerons-cuties.html; Jan Moir, “War of the Wives: Saintly but Sinister Sarah vs Outspoken Miriam,” Daily Mail, April 8, 2010, accessed April 11, 2010, -wives-Saintly-sinister-Sarah-vs-outspoken-Miriam.html; and Julia White, “General Election 2010 Wife Watch: Sarah Brown and Sam Cam’s Fashion-off Gets Underway,” Daily Express, April 7, 2010, accessed April 11, 2010, -and-Sam-Cam’s-fashion-off-gets-underway.
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