Tracing Western Petrosexual Relations
This chapter examines the ways that contemporary commercial photography uses constructs of femininity to promote the continued expansion of domestic oil industries, delegitimize women’s anti-oil activism, and derail post-Deepwater protests against offshore drilling. Focusing on contemporary women’s environmental activism and a range of industry advertising and press imagery, it illuminates the relationship between human rights, gender, racial equality and the petro-discourses that are newly oriented around ecology. It also considers how women’s relationship to oil, to the environment, and to the petrocultures of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in the West is portrayed in the mainstream media in a limited number of largely superficial ways: first, through embedded feminism and women’s rights as they intersect with human and ethnocultural rights; second, through consumerism; and third, through the recuperation of the female body as a canvas on which to spectacularize politics—largely with explicit consumer aims.
Keywords: commercial photography, environmental activism, women, offshore drilling, advertising, human rights, gender, oil, petroculture, feminism