New article: I dumped my husband for a Turkish toyboy!

13 05 2013

A joint production of Nily Hamid, one of my PhD students at Erasmus University, my colleague Giselinde Kuipers at the University of Amsterdam and myself: We analysed how British tabloid newspapers represent relationships between mature British women and the younger Turkish toyboy lovers they meet (and sometimes look for) on their holiday; a practice that is often considered as the female counterpart to male sex tourism, albeit labelled differently as “romance tourism.” Employing a combination of thematic, lexical, narrative, and visual analysis, we examine how the British tabloids make sense of the contradicting social categories and power relations at play in these encounters, in particular with respect to age, gender, nation, and economic position. We consider these contradictions as typical for the intersectionality of gender identities, and use the tabloid stories about romance tourism as a means to study how such intersectionality becomes manifest in everyday practices. We find that the tabloids construct only one dimension of identity as key to women’s lives, that is the one of motherhood and more abstractly of caring for others. In addition, they present women as highly vulnerable to exploitation by foreign, exotic others, who are portrayed either as evil con men or—in the sporadic upbeat, happy-ending story we found—as dependent and passive objects of women’s desires.

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