Emma Arnold: "Sexualised advertising and the production of space in the city"

In this article published in City: Analysis of Urban Change, Theory, Action, Emma Arnold explores how sexualised outdoor advertising produces affect and space in the city and reflects on how these images may impact women’s experience of urban space.

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While the prevalence of advertising in urban space has been broadly critiqued, how the diverse forms of the new media landscape produce affect and space in the city is not well understood. Exploring outdoor advertising that contains sexualised representations of women, this paper by Emma Arnold considers how certain images produce space and may potentially impact women’s experience of the city.

Sexualised and hypersexualised depictions of women in advertising are problematic for many reasons. This is because advertising is not only concerned with selling goods and services but because it also has an ideological function, contributing to the reproduction of inequalities including the potential subjugation of women. This paper goes further to suggest that these types of images contribute to a fluid production of sexualised space when situated in the city, exacerbated at night when many advertisements become illuminated in backlit or digital displays. These effects compound the invisible walls of the city that already influence women’s navigations, mobilities, and rights to the city.

Reflecting on and analysing select photographs taken in Norway, this paper offers a provocative exploration of the spatial and temporal effects of sexualised outdoor advertising.

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Published Nov. 15, 2021 8:46 AM - Last modified Nov. 15, 2021 8:46 AM