Where the Girls Are: Growing up Female with the Mass Media

Overview

Media critic Douglas deconstructs the ambiguous messages sent to American women via TV programs, popular music, advertising, and nightly news reporting over the last 40 years, and fathoms their influence on her own life and the lives of her contemporaries. Photos.

Media critic Douglas deconstructs the ambiguous messages sent to American women via TV programs, popular music, advertising, and nightly news reporting over the last 40 years, and fathoms their influence on...

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Overview

Media critic Douglas deconstructs the ambiguous messages sent to American women via TV programs, popular music, advertising, and nightly news reporting over the last 40 years, and fathoms their influence on her own life and the lives of her contemporaries. Photos.

Media critic Douglas deconstructs the ambiguous messages sent to American women via TV programs, popular music, advertising, and nightly news reporting over the last 40 years, and fathoms their influence on her own life and the lives of her contemporaries. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this insightful study of how the American media has portrayed women over the past 50 years, Douglas Inventing American Broadcasting: 1899-1922 considers the paradox of a generation of women raised to see themselves as bimbos becoming the very group that found its voice in feminism. Modern American women, she suggests, have been fed so many conflicting images of their desires, aspirations and relationships with men, families and one another that they are veritable cultural schizophrenics, uncertain of what they want and what society expects of them. A single image--Diana Ross of the Supremes, for example, or Gidget from the popular sitcom--can send mixed signals, Douglas shows, at once affirming a woman's right to a voice and cautioning her not to go too far. Thus the media is often both a liberating and an oppressive force. Douglas is particularly attentive to the ways pop culture's messages have responded to shifting social and economic imperatives, including the feminist movement itself. While she asserts that pop culture can have a profound impact on one's self-perceptions, she also stresses that women, by the example of their own lives, have changed--mostly for the better--the way the media represents them. Author tour. May
Library Journal
In the current reconsideration of the popular culture of the baby boomers, the cultural contribution of men is emphasized. The neglect of the cultural history of women from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s worries critic Douglas. In an engaging personal tour through the landscape of television, popular music, new media, and advertising, she retrieves that history while exploring the mixed messages the media delivered to women. She claims that popular girl singing groups like the Shirelles offered new possibilities for female assertiveness, while the television show Bewitched portrayed a woman using magic to escape dull domestic chores. Emphasizing complexity, she relates the ambivalent treatment of women in popular culture to the evolution of the women's liberation movement. Douglas, a professor of media studies at Hampshire College and author of Inventing American Broadcasting: 1899-1922 LJ 11/1/87, translates intricate academic ideas into witty and accessible prose. This entertaining book fills a gap in cultural history and belongs in public and academic libraries.-Judy Solberg, Univ. of Maryland Libs., College Park
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812925302
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 348
  • Sales rank: 418,262
  • Product dimensions: 5.45 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Fractured Fairy Tales 21
2 Mama Said 43
3 Sex and the Single Teenager 61
4 Why the Shirelles Mattered 83
5 She's Got the Devil in Her Heart 99
6 Genies and Witches 123
7 Throwing Out Our Bras 139
8 I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar 163
9 The Rise of the Bionic Bimbo 193
10 The ERA as Catfight 221
11 Narcissism as Liberation 245
12 I'm Not a Feminist, But... 269
Epilogue 295
Acknowledgments 309
Notes 313
Index 327
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 17, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    couldn't really relate...

    I found Where the Girls are to be an interesting read. I think the target audience was maybe my mother's generation though and much of the book I just couldn't relate to. It was written in the early 90's and it feels outdated. Douglas came off at times a bit too whiny for my taste and somewhat repetitive. She does make interesting points though and at times Where the Girls Are was an eye-opening read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2005

    Mass Media Evolved Around Women

    The Book Where the Girls are: Growing Up Female with the Mass media was written by Susan Douglas in 1995. Douglas has a background in the reflection of women growing up in the mass media. Susan specializes in the time period of the baby boom right after World War Two. She has very intense feeling about the media dealing with the media¿s misconception of women. Douglas is infatuated with the feelings of feminism toward the media. Throughout her work, she states things such as, ¿All this marketing uncertainty and ambivalence added to the contradictory media reaction to and co-optation of feminism in the 1970's.¿ Douglas¿s idea that women are portrayed as the weaker gender is stated by Douglas as, ¿Women are angry at the media, because a full twenty years after the women¿s movement, diet soda companies, women¿s magazines, and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue¿ still bombarded us with smiling, air-brushed, anorexic, and compliant women whose message seems to be ¿shut up, get a face lift, and stop eating¿(Pg. 11). This is a very strong statement depending on how you choose to view the subject. If people have a viewpoint of feminism they may agree with Douglas and if people do not see it in a viewpoint of feminism they may think, Where did Douglas come up with these drastic ideas? Douglas has very compelling ideas toward feminism. Douglas states in another portion of the book, ¿Throughout our lives we have been getting profoundly contradictory messages about what it means to be an American woman. Our national mythology teaches us that Americans are supposed to be independent, rugged individuals who are achievement-oriented, competitive, actively shrewd, and assertive go-getters, like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, or Ross Perot¿(Douglas, 1995)(pg. 17). Douglas is a feminist she shows this point of view throughout the entire book. Some things that Douglas mentions in her book are extreme. One extreme that Douglas writes, ¿she talks about two images that Disney presented to the audience about girls. These two images were to look at us in the mirror and chase the boys¿ (Douglas, 1995) (pg. 30). Douglas may perceive it this way but Disney can be viewed in much more positive ways. Most people perceive Disney as being for children. When Disney created fairy tales such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the intention was not to bash women. They were trying to capture a children¿s audience. Keeping in mind to keep the fairy tale at an age appropriate level for the children. If Disney did intend to bash women, the fairy tales would not have been geared toward children. Douglas is definitely a feminist. Her piece of work gives the simple things in feminism to absolute extremes. She portrays feminism as she sees it in the world. The more simple things to feminism in her point of view are many, ¿Women work for equal pay compared to men¿ (Douglas, 1995). The extreme message in her point of view ¿Is a man hater¿ (Douglas, 1995)! In her work people may find it to be very informative and sensitive to feminism. Others may decide it is too graphic and repetitive to read. She makes wonderful points about feminism but also is very extreme.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2002

    Every Woman Must Read

    A student at Purdue lent me this book. It was required reading for him, but I think it should be required reading for everyone, especially young women. I am old enough to remember some of the events, but looking back now understand the significance. With women from the sixties, working in the same enviroment as women raised in the eighties, I can't help but wonder if they realize what women have been, and sometimes still are up against. This book relates this information in a very entertaining way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2001

    Soooooooooo Funny

    This was my spring break read last year and not only did it pass an otherwise boring family vacation, but it also entertained and enlightned me. This book would really hit home with a woman of the baby boomer generation and for younger readers shed some light on how far women have really come!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2009

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    Posted February 25, 2010

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