Defining Women: Television and the Case of Cagney & Lacey

Defining Women: Television and the Case of Cagney & Lacey

Defining Women: Television and the Case of Cagney & Lacey

Defining Women: Television and the Case of Cagney & Lacey

Synopsis

This book deals with the cultural constructions of gender, the many troubles that underlie them, and U.S. television's place in the overall process. It investigates the 'struggle over meanings'--specifically the meanings of woman, women, and femininity; the role of television networks, production companies, production teams, and publicity firms in generating and circulating these meanings; the ways in which TV viewers, the press, and numerous interest groups produce meanings and countermeanings of their own; and how all of these meanings clash and compete for social and semiotic space and power.

Excerpt

The late 1980s and early 1990s brought signs of trouble on many fronts: "Thelma" and "Louise" burst onto theater screens and made the cover of Time magazine; bitter fights erupted in the press and on television about feminist pedagogy and "political correctness"; Queen Latifa, Cindy Lauper, Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox, M C Lyte, Madonna, and Salt- N-Pepa told it like it was on sound systems and music videos; Susan Faludi and Gloria Steinem appeared on TV talk shows and Time's cover; activists stepped up their efforts in the battles over legal abortions and "family values"; Anita Hill, "Murphy Brown," and Hillary Rodham Clinton were omnipresent on home screens and the front pages of national publications; record numbers of white women and women of color fought for and won congressional seats in the 1992 elections; Sandra Bernhardt played an on- going role as a lesbian on Roseanne, and k. d. lang posed for a lesbian photo . . .

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