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Feminism, Labour And Digital Media: The Digital Housewife

Kylie Jarrett
Published 2015 · Political Science

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There is a contradiction at the heart of digital media. We use commercial platforms to express our identity, to build community and to engage politically. At the same time, our status updates, tweets, videos, photographs and music files are free content for these sites. We are also generating an almost endless supply of user data that can be mined, re-purposed and sold to advertisers. As users of the commercial web, we are socially and creatively engaged, but also labourers, exploited by the companies that provide our communication platforms. How do we reconcile these contradictions? Feminism, Labour and Digital Media argues for using the work of Marxist feminist theorists about the role of domestic work in capitalism to explore these competing dynamics of consumer labour. It uses the concept of the Digital Housewife to outline the relationship between the work we do online and the unpaid sphere of social reproduction. It demonstrates how feminist perspectives expand our critique of consumer labour in digital media. In doing so, the Digital Housewife returns feminist inquiry from the margins and places it at the heart of critical digital media analysis.

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