A Car of Her Own: Volvo’s “Your Concept Car” as a Vehicle for Feminism?

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Roy Schwartzman, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: This essay probes the ambiguities surrounding [Volvo’s] Your Concept Car on several levels. First, we explain how YCC configures women as creators and consumers. Second, we discuss discursive patterns arising in media coverage of the car. We find a frequent tendency to “domesticate” the women designers and consumers by using terminology that places the automobile within the realm of household activities, thereby relegating women to their “proper” role of homemaker and caretaker for others. Third, we place YCC in the broader context of repressive tolerance, showing how the emergence of woman-powered automotive design can marginalize the very constituencies it purportedly promotes. The discursive framing of YCC not only reinforces patriarchal restrictions on the “proper” sphere of women’s knowledge and activities, but shows how women can become complicitous in their own oppression through the discursive choices they make. The decidedly mixed messages YCC sends reflect the complexity accompanying social projects that purportedly elevate the social and economic status of women.

Additional Information

Studies in Popular Culture, 30(2), 100-118
Language: English
Date: 2008
Automotive design, Women, Feminism, Consumerism, Volvo

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