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Post-feminist spectatorship and the girl effect : “go ahead, really imagine her”.

Calkin, S. (2015) 'Post-feminist spectatorship and the girl effect : “go ahead, really imagine her”.', Third world quarterly., 36 (4). pp. 654-669.


Women and girls are currently positioned as highly visible subjects of global governance and development, from the agendas of the United Nations and the World Bank to the corporate social responsibility campaigns of Nike, Goldman Sachs and Coca Cola. This paper examines the representations of empowerment in visual (image and video) material from the Nike Foundation’s ‘Girl Effect’ campaign. Drawing on the works of Angela McRobbie and Lilie Chouliaraki, I suggest that this campaign is reflective of a mode of ‘post-feminist spectatorship’ that is now common to corporatised development discourses; it is manifested both in terms of the conservative mode of neoliberal empowerment proposed for distant others and the mode of ironic spectatorship imagined for the viewer. I conclude that the relations constructed in the ‘Girl Effect’ campaign between the (empowered) Western spectator and the (yet-to-be-empowered) Third World Girl work to erode bonds of solidarity and entrench structural inequalities by positioning economically empowered girls as the key to global poverty eradication.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Third World Quarterly on 18/05/2015, available online at:
Date accepted:20 February 2015
Date deposited:24 May 2016
Date of first online publication:18 May 2015
Date first made open access:01 October 2016

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