Gendered Instagram representations in the aviation industry

Smith, W. E., Kimbu, A. N., de Jong, A. and Cohen, S. (2023) Gendered Instagram representations in the aviation industry. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 31(3), pp. 639-663. (doi: 10.1080/09669582.2021.1932933)

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Air transport and tourism are interdependent systems wherein idealized gender performances are shaped by organizational cultures and particular commercial interests that have implications for gendered representations. Organizations use social media spaces to influence public perceptions, yet in doing so they may (re)construct hegemonic notions pertaining to images of masculinity and femininity. This paper utilizes a feminist poststructuralist approach to deconstruct normative gendered assumptions that exist within the aviation sector’s use of Instagram. Netnography is used to uncover the dominant discourses, as well as the complex representations of gender as represented by airlines on Instagram. Findings reveal that despite a minority of images that defy stereotypes, the airlines consistently construct and distribute playful imagery that objectifies female staff and hyper-feminizes the cabin space. In uncovering how airline organizational images may portray employees in gendered ways, this paper contributes to the achievement of SDG 5 i.e. gender equality in tourism. The paper recommends that the industry incorporates more diverse performances across all aviation occupational roles so that images that challenge stereotypes become part of the everyday.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:de Jong, Dr Anna
Authors: Smith, W. E., Kimbu, A. N., de Jong, A., and Cohen, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social & Environmental Sustainability
Journal Name:Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1747-7646
Published Online:03 June 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Sustainable Tourism 31(3): 639-663
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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