My doctoral research investigates the gendered implications of locative media technologies embedded in smartphones, which are constantly tracking and tacitly surveilling women in Victoria. These technologies have been connected to sexual violence, misogyny and harms, but the way women feel about them and use them is complex.
While contemporary media discourse about women and smartphones often dismisses everyday uses as vapid chatter in which consumers are wilfully and ignorantly handing over control of their data, my PhD challenges some of this misogynistic discourse to argue that women often derive a great deal of joy, pleasure and satisfaction from their uses of smartphones.
The research findings also acknowledge and seek to address some of the serious gendered implications for locative technologies in smartphones, such as the fear of sexual and gender-based violence.
My aim with this project is to influence the ways public policy is currently considering women’s uses of smartphones by recommending that a more consultative, gendered approach is taken to policy in locative media regulation.
In my work, I am particularly interested in exploring how the uses and practices of locative media in smartphones reflect and produce gendered interactions in and with the world. The ways the participants use their smartphones to communicate or navigate while going about their everyday lives can elicit emotional or affective responses. The practices that the participants form and adopt around these interactions between them, their media and physical environment allows me to investigate the ways gender shapes, and is shaped by, locative media.