Women, Feminism and Media

Women, Feminism and Media

Women, Feminism and Media

Women, Feminism and Media


Over the past few decades feminist media scholarship has flourished, to become a major influence on the fields of media, film and cultural studies. At the same time, the cultural shift towards 'post-feminism' has raised questions about the continuing validity of feminism as a defining term for this work. This book explores the changing and often ambivalent relationship between the three terms women, feminism and media in the light of these recent debates. At the same time it places them within the broader discussions within feminist theory - about subjectivity, identity, culture, and narrative - of which they have formed a crucial part.

The book is organised around four key topic areas. 'Fixing into Images' offers a rethinking of one of the first preoccupations of feminist media analysis: the relationship between women and images. 'Narrating Femininity' explores the narratives of femininity produced in media texts in the light of theories of narrative and identity. 'Real Women' examines both the continuing absence of women's voices from the genres of news and documentary, and their over-presence within popular 'reality' media forms. Finally, 'Technologies of Difference' examines the relationship between feminism, women and new media technologies. Throughout, the book explores key issues within feminist media studies both through specific examples and via critical engagement with the work of major theoretical writers.


A completely up-to-date study of the key areas of issue and debate in feminist media studies.

Includes case studies and discussion of the work of key writers in the field.

Contains readings of specific texts, ranging from news and advertising to reality TV and 'postfeminist' TV drama.


In 1983 E. Ann Kaplan ended the Preface to her book Women and Film with a plea: 'I hope that teachers unfamiliar with feminist approaches to film will be inspired to undertake courses on women in film, or to build the perspective into their current courses'. Despite ten years of feminist film theory and criticism, she continues, 'undergraduate film students rarely learn much about it' and the work is 'virtually unknown' to students and academics in other, related disciplines (1983: ix, 1). Twenty years on, such tentativeness feels odd and even uncomfortable. In 2001, the journal Feminist Media Studies opened its launch issue in very different style: 'Over the past few decades,' it states, 'feminist media scholarship has flourished, emerging from a barely perceptible public presence to become a profound influence on the field of communications and across a range of disciplines, and gaining particular authority in cultural and critical studies' (McLaughlin and Carter 2001: 5). But there are other shifts too. We might now feel uneasy about some of the assumptions Kaplan makes: that 'women and film' and 'women in film' are the same thing; that women can be discussed as a more or less homogeneous category; that the relationship between feminism and women is a straightforwardly explanatory one; and that this new perspective can be unproblematically 'built in' to existing courses. All of which is to say that the three terms of this book's title - women, feminism, and media, together with their relationship — present us both with a number of immediate issues for discussion and with some already existing, but not always unproblematic, histories. In this introduction I shall trace these issues and histories, and also seek to place them within some of the broader discussions within feminist theory - about subjectivity, identity, culture, and narrative — of which they have formed a crucial part

Women and …

The title of Kaplan's Women and Film is itself very much of its moment In Britain the 1970s saw conferences on 'Women and Socialism' and . . .

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