The Open UniversitySkip to content

Bodies, sexualities and women leaders in popular culture: from spectacle to metapicture

Bell, Emma and Sinclair, Amanda (2016). Bodies, sexualities and women leaders in popular culture: from spectacle to metapicture. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 31(5/6) pp. 322–338.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (164kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Purpose – This paper focuses on visual representation of women leaders and how women leaders’ bodies and sexualities are rendered visible in particular ways.
Design/methodology/approach – The arguments are based on a reading of the Danish television drama series, Borgen. The authors interpret the meaning of this text and consider what audiences might gain from watching it.
Findings – The analysis of Borgen highlights the role of popular culture in resisting patriarchal values and enabling women to reclaim leadership.
Originality/value – The metaphor of the spectacle enables explanation of the representation of women leaders in popular culture as passive, fetishised objects of the masculine gaze. These pervasive representational practices place considerable pressure on women leaders to manage their bodies and sexualities in particular ways. However, popular culture also provides alternative representations of women leaders as embodied and agentic. The notion of the metapicture offers a means of destabilising confining notions of female leadership within popular culture and opening up alternatives

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN: 1754-2413
Keywords: Vision; Leadership; Sexuality; Embodiment; Bodies
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business > Department for People and Organisations
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Item ID: 48596
Depositing User: Emma Bell
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2017 16:13
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 11:27
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU