Prime-Time Feminism: Television, Media Culture, and the Women's Movement Since 1970

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In Prime-Time Feminism, Bonnie J. Dow examines feminist representations in popular entertainment television and argues that television has been a key participant in the cultural dialogue about feminism in the United States. Approaching television as a fan, as a critic, and as a feminist, Dow focuses on how the medium adapts to, structures, and attempts to frame cultural understandings of social change over time.

Although Dow discusses a wide variety of television programming, ...

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Overview

In Prime-Time Feminism, Bonnie J. Dow examines feminist representations in popular entertainment television and argues that television has been a key participant in the cultural dialogue about feminism in the United States. Approaching television as a fan, as a critic, and as a feminist, Dow focuses on how the medium adapts to, structures, and attempts to frame cultural understandings of social change over time.

Although Dow discusses a wide variety of television programming, she provides specific case studies of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, One Day at a Time, Designing Women, Murphy Brown, and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She juxtaposes analyses of genre, plot, character development, and narrative structure with the larger debates over feminism that took place at the time the programming originally aired. Dow emphasizes the power of the relationships among television entertainment, news media, women's magazines, publicity, and celebrity biographies and interviews in creating a framework through which television viewers "make sense" of both the medium's portrayal of feminism and the nature of feminism itself.

Prime-Time Feminism highlights the continuing tension between the commodification of select, simplified feminist images and the complexities of feminist politics.

Bonnie J. Dow is Assistant Professor of Communication at North Dakota State University.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Dow's critical insights are inventive, ranging wisely across several disciplines, particularly the history of the U.S. women's movement."—Journal of Communication

"Prime-Time Feminism is an important book for scholars and courses in gender and the media. It is a crucial piece of a picture that has not always been pretty."—Quarterly Journal of Speech

"The author offers surprising connections and comparisons in the book . . . and she provides a solid overview of the women's movement in America to the present. . . . Highly recommended for upper-division and graduate media, cultural, and feminist studies collections."—Choice

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Bonnie J. Dow is Assistant Professor of Communication at North Dakota State University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
Introduction: The Rhetoric of Television, Criticism, and Theory 1
1 1970s Lifestyle Feminism, the Single Woman, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show 24
2 Prime-Time Divorce: The "Emerging Woman" of One Day at a Time 59
3 "After the Revolution": 1980s Television, Postfeminism, and Designing Women 86
4 Murphy Brown: Postfeminism Personified 135
5 The Other Side of Postfeminism: Maternal Feminism in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman 164
Afterword: Feminist Images, Feminist Politics 203
References 219
Index 235
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