Edited by Laura Mulvey and Anna Backman Rogers Amsterdam University Press, 2015 Library of Congress PN1995.9.W6F454 2015
This collection brings together an exciting group of established and emerging scholars to consider the history of feminist film theory and new developments in the field and in film culture itself. Opening the field up to urgent questions and covering such topics as new experimental film, the digital image, consumerism, activism, and pornography, Feminisms will be essential reading for scholars of both film and feminism.
Justice Provocateur focuses on Prime Suspect, a popular British television film series starring Oscar and Emmy award-winning actress Helen Mirren as fictional London policewoman Jane Tennison. Gray Cavender and Nancy C. Jurik examine the media constructions of justice, gender, and police work in the show, exploring its progressive treatment of contemporary social problems in which women are central protagonists. They argue that the show acts as a vehicle for progressive moral fiction--fiction that gives voice to victim experiences, locates those experiences within a larger social context, transcends traditional legal definitions of justice for victims, and offers insights into ways that individuals might challenge oppressive social and organizational arrangements.
Although Prime Suspect is often seen as a uniquely progressive, feminist-inspired example within the typically more conservative, male-dominated crime genre, Cavender and Jurik also address the complexity of the films' gender politics. Consistent with some significant criticisms of the films, they identify key moments in the series when Tennison's character appears to move from a successful woman who has it all to a post-feminist stereotype of a lonely, aging career woman with no strong family or friendship ties. Shrewdly interpreting the show as an illustration of the tensions and contradictions of women's experiences and their various relations to power, Justice Provocateur provides a framework for interrogating the meanings and implications of justice, gender, and social transformation both on and off the screen.
Mediating the Uprising: Narratives of Gender and Marriage in Syrian Television Drama shows how gender and marriage metaphors inform post-uprising Syrian drama for various forms of cultural and political critique. These narratives have become complicated since the uprising due to the Syrian regime’s effort to control the revolutionary discourse. As Syria’s uprising spawned more terrorist groups, some drama creators became nostalgic for pre-war days.
While for some screenwriters a return to pre-2011 life would be welcome after so much bloodshed, others advocated profound cultural and social transformation, instead. They employed marriage and gender metaphors in the stories they wrote to engage in political critique, even at the risk of creating marketing difficulties for the shows or they created escapist stories such as transnational adaptations and Old Damascus tales. Serving as heritage preservation, Mediating the Uprising underscores that television drama creators in Syria have many ways of engaging in protest, with gender and marriage at the heart of the polemic.
Analyzes how television delivers definitions of "femininity" to its female audiences. Includes a source guide for television shows from 1946-1970.
"'This book contains competent studies that will probably be of most interest to students of media, communications and images in popular culture. Non-specialist fans of the shows discussed will also have great fun seconding or contesting the authors' conclusions." Women's Review
"This collection represents the cutting edge of feminist cultural criticism today - a heady mixture of substantive historical studies, innovative reception analyses, and sophisticated textual work. This wide-ranging approach brings a richness and texture to the topics being analyzed and effectively demonstrates the (by now axiomatic) principle of cultural studies as a multilayered project." Contemporary Sociology
Contributors: Julie D'Acci, Sarah Berry, Aniko Bodroghkozy, Robert H. Deming, Dan Einstein, Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, Mary Beth Haralovich, Lynne Joyrich, William Lafferty, Nina Liebman, George Lipsitz, Denise Mann, Lynn Spigel, Jillian Steinberger and Randall Vogt.
In the 1990s, American televison audiences witnessed an unprecedented rise in programming devoted explicitly to women. Cable networks such as Oxygen Media, Women's Entertainment Network, and Lifetime targeted a female audience, and prime-time dramatic series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Judging Amy, Gilmore Girls, Sex and the City, and Ally McBeal empowered heroines, single career women, and professionals struggling with family commitments and occupational demands. After establishing this phenomenon's significance, Amanda D. Lotz explores the audience profile, the types of narrative and characters that recur, and changes to the industry landscape in the wake of media consolidation and a profusion of channels.
Employing a cultural studies framework, Lotz examines whether the multiplicity of female-centric networks and narratives renders certain gender stereotypes uninhabitable, and how new dramatic portrayals of women have redefined narrative conventions. Redesigning Women also reveals how these changes led to narrowcasting, or the targeting of a niche segment of the overall audience, and the ways in which the new, sophisticated portrayals of women inspire sympathetic identification while also commodifying viewers into a marketable demographic for advertisers.
Boldly going where no one has gone before, Robin Roberts forges intriguing links between feminist politics and theory and the second Star Trek series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. This lively discussion shows how science fiction's ability to make the familiar strange allows Star Trek to expose and comment on entrenched attitudes toward gender roles and feminist issues. By having aliens or sexually neutral beings enact female dominance or passivity, experience pregnancy or maternity, or suffer rape or abortion, Star Trek provides viewers with a new perspective on these experiences and an antidote to explicit and implicit cultural biases. Roberts maintains that the relevance of Star Trek: The Next Generation to feminist issues accounts as no other factor can for the program's huge following of female fans.
The incisive and innovative readings in Sexual Generations provide food for thought about how the final frontier can clarify pressing questions of our own space and time.
In 1970, ABC, CBS, and NBC--the “Big Three” of the pre-cable television era--discovered the feminist movement. From the famed sit-in at Ladies’ Home Journal to multi-part feature stories on the movement's ideas and leaders, nightly news broadcasts covered feminism more than in any year before or since, bringing women's liberation into American homes.
In Watching Women's Liberation, 1970: Feminism's Pivotal Year on the Network News, Bonnie J. Dow uses case studies of key media events to delve into the ways national TV news mediated the emergence of feminism's second wave. First legitimized as a big story by print media, the feminist movement gained broadcast attention as the networks’ eagerness to get in on the action was accompanied by feminists’ efforts to use national media for their own purposes. Dow chronicles the conditions that precipitated feminism's new visibility and analyzes the verbal and visual strategies of broadcast news discourses that tried to make sense of the movement.
Groundbreaking and packed with detail, Watching Women's Liberation, 1970 shows how feminism went mainstream--and what it gained and lost on the way.