Entertainment Industry and other works

by Ellen Gillingham

Susan J. Douglas, “Rise of Enlightened Sexism: How Popular Culture Took us from Girl Power to Girls Gone Wild” Chapters 4-6

 Susan J. Douglas, “Rise of Enlightened Sexism: How Popular Culture Took us from Girl Power to Girls Gone Wild” Chapters 4-6

 

1.) What is this week’s readings major arguments/points?

This week’s reading focuses on television shows and other media forms that affect young girls. Important examples include the Spice Girls, who sold ten million albums world line.  They gave advice to girls like “don’t wait around for him to call.”  On the other hand, hyper-masculinity of boy bands exploited the young girl market.  A television character, Ally McBeal was the first major female lead in a show, who was not a baby boomer, but was not the next phase of feminism.  Another character, Bridget Jones was seen as the epitome of millennial womanhood and a new “ ‘90s heroine.” In terms of movies, Legally Blonde shows feminism as a “typical feminist,” who is silly, humorless, and obsessed with trivial, utterly symbolic issues and political correctness.  It also shows that knowledge about hair and beauty matter.  Down with Love’s biggest message is that feminism itself was and is a masquerade, a pose.  It is commercialized and we do not need anymore.  Contradictions between visibility and invisibility abound for African American women.  Oprah uses Black Speak for a national predominantly white female audience.  Overall, within the various places where we see media images of African American women, the contradictions, the mixed messages are everywhere.  The sexpert was aided by television (including the news) as well as magazine articles.  Young women today have never experiences media without sexual objectification.

 

2.) What are some things that you did not understand? Or, are there questions you have for Professor McCune, or the author?

I would like to know more about how the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys played different roles as pop bands during their time because they were popular at the same time.  I only listened to the Spice Girls and never the Backstreet Boys, so I wonder how/if this affected me

.

3.) What did you learn about Gender and Spectacular Consumption?

Shows like Ally McBeal became more popular after Time’s cover story in June 1998 questioning if feminism is dead referring to the show.  The image of Ally McBeal is a fictional image, created by a man!  The show represented issues about enlightened sexism overtaking feminism.

Another show Bridget Jones’s Diary reinforce enlighten sexism.  The women in the plot show that women are dominated by counting calories.

Overall, the reading focuses on women as portrayed by the media.  Their consumption depends on media representations.

 

4.) How might you apply the author’s ideas to other examples, beyond what is

presented in the essay?

Because the reading focused more on television shows than movies, I draw my example from movies.  The Bechdel Test judges women’s representation on movies.  It measures women’s relevance to a plot and to access female presence in movies.  It was made as a bite of a satire to critique movies.  The Social Network, Harry Potter Part II, Aviatar, The Original Star Wars Trilogy, and Lord of Rings all fail this test.  This is a good indication that there is a problem with women’s representation in movies.  As an institution, Hollywood has a pattern of representation of women.  The fact that the test exists and the reverse does not even indicates a problem because there is no lack of men interacting with each other.  Men are still primarily the studio directors in the industry and they are not interested in telling women’s stories.

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