front cover of Feminisms
Diversity, Difference and Multiplicity in Contemporary Film Cultures
Edited by Laura Mulvey and Anna Backman Rogers
Amsterdam University Press, 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.

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Gender Politics And MTV
Voicing the Difference
Lisa Lewis
Temple University Press, 1991

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Justice Provocateur
Jane Tennison and Policing in Prime Suspect
Gray Cavender and Nancy C. Jurik
University of Illinois Press, 2012
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.

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Mediating the Uprising
Narratives of Gender and Marriage in Syrian Television Drama
Rebecca Joubin
Rutgers University Press, 2020
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. 

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Private Screenings
Television and the Female Consumer
Lynn Spigel
University of Minnesota Press, 1992
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.

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Television after the Network Era
Amanda D. Lotz
University of Illinois Press, 2010
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. 

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Sexual Generations
Star Trek: The Next Generation and Gender
Robin Roberts
University of Illinois Press, 1999
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.

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Television Antiheroines
Women Behaving Badly in Crime and Prison Drama
Edited by Milly Buonanno
Intellect Books, 2017
As television has finally started to create more leading roles for women, the female antiheroine has emerged as a compelling and dynamic character type. Television Antiheroines looks closely at this recent development, exploring the emergence of women characters in roles typically reserved for men, particularly in the male-dominated genre of the crime and prison drama.
The essays collected in Television Antiheroines are divided into four sections or types of characters: mafia women, drug dealers and aberrant mothers, women in prison, and villainesses. Looking specifically at shows such as Gomorrah, Mafiosa, The Wire, The Sopranos, Sons of Anarchy, Orange is the New Black, and Antimafia Squad, the contributors explore the role of race and sexuality and focus on how many of the characters transgress traditional ideas about femininity and female identity, such as motherhood. They examine the ways in which bad women are portrayed and how these characters undermine gender expectations and reveal the current challenges by women to social and economic norms. Television Antiheroines will be essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in crime and prison drama and the rising prominence of women in nontraditional roles.

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There She Goes Again
Gender, Power, and Knowledge in Contemporary Film and Television Franchises
Aviva Dove-Viebahn
Rutgers University Press, 2024
There She Goes Again interrogates the representation of ostensibly powerful women in transmedia franchises, examining how presumed feminine traits—love, empathy, altruism, diplomacy—are alternately lauded and repudiated as possibilities for effecting long-lasting social change. By questioning how these franchises reimagine their protagonists over time, the book reflects on the role that gendered exceptionalism plays in social and political action, as well as what forms of knowledge and power are presumed distinctly feminine. The franchises explored in this book illustrate the ambivalent (post)feminist representation of women protagonists as uniquely gifted in ways both gendered and seemingly ungendered, and yet inherently bound to expressions of their femininity. At heart,There She Goes Again asks under what terms and in what contexts women protagonists are imagined, envisioned, embodied, and replicated in media. Especially now, in a period of gradually increasing representation, women protagonists demonstrate the importance of considering how we should define—and whether we need—feminine forms of knowledge and power.

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The Unruly Woman
Gender and the Genres of Laughter
By Kathleen Rowe
University of Texas Press, 1995

Unruly women have been making a spectacle of themselves in film and on television from Mae West to Roseanne Arnold. In this groundbreaking work, Kathleen Rowe explores how the unruly woman—often a voluptuous, noisy, joke-making rebel or "woman on top"—uses humor and excess to undermine patriarchal norms and authority.

At the heart of the book are detailed analyses of two highly successful unruly women—the comedian Roseanne Arnold and the Muppet Miss Piggy. Putting these two figures in a deeper cultural perspective, Rowe also examines the evolution of romantic film comedy from the classical Hollywood period to the present, showing how the comedic roles of actresses such as Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, and Marilyn Monroe offered an alternative, empowered image of women that differed sharply from the "suffering heroine" portrayed in classical melodramas.


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Watching Women's Liberation, 1970
Feminism's Pivotal Year on the Network News
Bonnie J. Dow
University of Illinois Press, 2014
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.

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Where No Black Woman Has Gone Before
Subversive Portrayals in Speculative Film and TV
By Diana Adesola Mafe
University of Texas Press, 2018

When Lieutenant Uhura took her place on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek, the actress Nichelle Nichols went where no African American woman had ever gone before. Yet several decades passed before many other black women began playing significant roles in speculative (i.e., science fiction, fantasy, and horror) film and television—a troubling omission, given that these genres offer significant opportunities for reinventing social constructs such as race, gender, and class. Challenging cinema’s history of stereotyping or erasing black women on-screen, Where No Black Woman Has Gone Before showcases twenty-first-century examples that portray them as central figures of action and agency.

Writing for fans as well as scholars, Diana Adesola Mafe looks at representations of black womanhood and girlhood in American and British speculative film and television, including 28 Days Later, AVP: Alien vs. Predator, Children of Men, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Firefly, and Doctor Who: Series 3. Each of these has a subversive black female character in its main cast, and Mafe draws on critical race, postcolonial, and gender theories to explore each film and show, placing the black female characters at the center of the analysis and demonstrating their agency. The first full study of black female characters in speculative film and television, Where No Black Woman Has Gone Before shows why heroines such as Lex in AVP and Zoë in Firefly are inspiring a generation of fans, just as Uhura did.


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The Mega-Marketing of Gender, Race, and Modernity
Amelia Simpson
Temple University Press, 1993
"A fascinating new book...[that] offers a lucid academic critique of Xuxa's persona." --Entertainment Weekly Former Playboy centerfold and soft-porn movie actress Xuxa (SHOO-sha) emerged in the 1980s as Brazil's mass media megastar. Through her children's television show, which reaches millions of people in Latin America and the United States, this blond sex symbol has attained extraordinary cultural authority. Reaching far beyond younger audiences, Xuxa's show informs the culture at large about gender relations, racial democracy, and idealized beauty. Backed by Brazil's TV Globo, the fourth-largest commercial network in the world, Xuxa has built an empire. Amelia Simoson's colorful portrayal is the first book to explore how Xuxa's representation of femininity, her privileging of a white ideal of beauty, and her promotional approach to culture perpetuate inequality on an unprecedented scale. Simpson's thoughtful analysis exposes the complicity of a mass audience eager to celebrate Xuxa's deeply compromised representations of gender, race, and modernity. Xuxa also explores the meaning behind the myth--Xuxa's long-term relationship with Brazil's soccer idol, Pelé, and the near-worship of her atypical blond, blue-eyed appearance by Brazil's population. As the author examines Xuxa's suggestive style juxtaposed with juvenile entertainment, and the phenomenon of Xuxa-look-alike teenaged paquitas, she unfold the symbolic territory of blond sex symbols worldwide. "Simpson has brought the facts and persona of Xuxa together in this well-documented, well-written analysis of the Brazilian superstar. She touches bases on gender, race, and changing patterns in Brazil. Xuxa is rich with information, laced with insight about the methods, practices and abuses that abound with the marketing of a personality and its products, and the effect of TV on all who watch it, especially the children." --News from Brazil

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