Esme Fransen, M.A.

Department of Media Studies · Stockholm University, Sweden — PhD Student

Research Areas

  • Media Audiences
  • Popular Culture
  • Television and Film


Esme is a PhD candidate in Cinema Studies at Stockholm University. Her project focuses on the phenomenon of the lesbian icon and her contradictory position - simultaneously relying on and denying queer female visibility - in the contemporary media landscape. Built primarily through a netnographic reception method, it charts the changing relationship between audiences and industry as the lesbian icon status shifted from an audience-driven phenomenon into a viable marketing strategy for mainstream (heterosexual) stars. By situating these developments within larger frameworks of queer visibility politics and political economy, the project aims to expose some of the ways in which the industry navigates the relatively new, but increasingly emancipated, queer female market, and ultimately shed light on the possibilities and limitations of the queer politics of visibility within commodity culture.