Mass Communication: Principles and Practices

By Mary B. Cassata; Molefi K. Asante | Go to book overview

Chapter 11 You've Come a Long Way, Baby . . . from Minnie Mouse to Wonder Woman*

by Mary B. Cassata and Niki Scher

The mass media mold everyone into more passive roles, into roles of more frantic consuming, into human beings with fragmented views of society. But what it does to everyone, it does to women even more. The traditional societal roles for women is already a passive one, already one of a consumer, already one of an emotional nonintellectual who isn't supposed to think or act beyond the confines of her home. The mass media reinforce all these traits.

Alice Embree

Everybody knows about the power of a great idea whose time has come. What often gets overlooked is that the strength of a mediocre idea whose historical moment has arrived can be just as awesome.

Time, November 22, 1976

The television commercial showing a young, sophisticated woman smoking a Virginia Slims cigarette and proclaiming to all that "You've come a long way, baby," may have been construed by some as a positive comment on the remarkable progress made by the American female. But many others--perhaps those members of the television- viewing audience who have become known as "obstinate, self-reliant, and active"--may just as easily have found reason to react to this commercial message with earnest indignation. For the very medium-- television--airing this speciously sincere message is the medium that historically has done its best to maintain the status quo.

We suggest that the two emergent points of view may not be

____________________
*
This essay originally appeared in The Gospel According to Lilith, 1( 4), Spring 1977.

-203-

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