Introduction: Sound and Vision

Philippa Lovatt, Laura Portwood-Stacer, Susan Berridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Feminist analysis of media is a field that has arguably been dominated by the visual. From selfies to music videos to films, feminist media scholars have done important work to unpack the way representations of gender look. But how does gender sound in contemporary media? How are femininity, masculinity, and other expressions of gender represented sonically across media platforms?

This issue of Commentary and Criticism brings together essays that consider feminist approaches to sound in relation to a range of media. Shenila Khoja-Moolji’s essay explores the role of sound in the production of racialized masculinities through an analysis of the use, and presentation of, “Allahu Akbar” across different media. Considering the “affective intensities” of the association with violence given to this sound in some Western contexts, Khoja-Moolji argues that further interrogation is needed of the way this phrase has been “reduced” in order to function as a “stand-in” for racialized, violent masculinities. Heather Warren-Crow’s essay similarly examines the role of sound in the production of gender, looking this time at femininity through an analysis of the aural phenomenon of “screaming like a girl” in online reaction videos, making broader connections with participatory media and feminized labor. Also examining the role of women’s voices, Manuel Garin and Amanda Villavieja’s essay discusses the use of asynchrony in the sound design of Chantal Akerman’s self-portrait films, arguing that it opens up opportunities for feminist scholars to think about sound strategies that resist the misogynistic associations of women’s voices and bodies in much mainstream narrative cinema. Finally, engaging with interdisciplinary approaches to the voice, Jennifer O’Meara’s essay asserts that despite the recent interest in gender inequalities in cinematic representations brought about by the introduction of “The Bechdel Test,” there has been very little attention paid to the vocal and verbal representation of women in contemporary cinema and in audio-visual media more broadly. The essay calls for a more nuanced analysis of the ways in which other markers such as age, race, and accent inflect the voice and are perceived by audiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109
Number of pages1
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number6
Early online date10 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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