PR Power in the 1990s: Sex, sexuality, and sexism – a UK perspective

Sarah Bowman, Heather Yaxley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Abstract

Women working in PR in the 1990s developed the power of metamodern pragmatism to avoid being constrained in this decade of contradictions. This was a time of promise for female empowerment and careers. The PR industry in Britain had quadrupled in size, yet increased feminisation and professionalisation did not resolve gender inequity. Indeed, alongside existence of old boys’ clubs and hedonistic macho agencies in the industry, the 1990s offered a lad’s mag culture and an AbFab image of PR. An innovative approach explores women’s careers and contributions in the expanding and increasingly powerful field of PR in the UK during the 1990s. It builds on feminist critique of the industry and paradoxical portrayals of women in media, popular culture, and the marketplace. Development of a research paradigm based on three themes (sex, sexuality, and sexism) informs the 3S framework and an original collaborative historical ‘Café Delphi’ method.
Individual and collective experiences of women working in PR at the time reveal the power of attitudes to affect their ability to achieve equality and empowerment. Women navigated tensions between the benefits of accelerated pluralism and the patriarchal resistance in the workplace through performative choices and a deep sense of pragmatism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen’s Work in Public Relations
Subtitle of host publicationAn edited collection
EditorsElizabeth Bridgen, Sarah Williams
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd
Chapter2
ISBN (Print)9781804555392
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2024

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