Prime-time feminism : television, media culture, and the women's movement since 1970 / Bonnie J. Dow.

by Dow, Bonnie JLooking glass.

Series: Feminist cultural studies, the media, and political culture: Publisher: Philadelphia, Pa. : University of Pennsylvania Press, [1996]Description: xxvi, 240 pages ; 23 cm.ISBN: 0812215540; 0812233158; 9780812215540; 9780812233155.Subject(s): Feminism -- United StatesLooking glass | Television and women -- United States | Women on television -- United StatesNote: Includes bibliographical references (pages 219-234) and index.
Item type Home library Collection Class number Status Date due Barcode Item reservations
Long loan London College of Communication
Main collection
Printed books 791.45082 DOW (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 40611426
Long loan London College of Communication
Main collection
Printed books 791.45082 DOW (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Issued 06/12/2021 54099843
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title

Dow discusses a wide variety of television programming and 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 programs 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.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 219-234) and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Acknowledgments (p. ix)
  • Preface (p. xi)
  • Notes (p. xxv)
  • Introduction: The Rhetoric of Television, Criticism, and Theory (p. 1)
  • Notes (p. 22)
  • Chapter 1 1970s Lifestyle Feminism, the Single Woman, and the Mary Tyler Moore Show (p. 24)
  • Notes (p. 54)
  • Chapter 2 prime-Time Divorce: the ""Emerging Woman"" of One Day at a Time (p. 59)
  • Notes (p. 83)
  • Chapter 3 After the Revolution: 1980s Television, postfeminism, and Designing Women (p. 86)
  • Notes (p. 127)
  • Chapter 4 Murphy Brown: postfeminism personified (p. 135)
  • Notes (p. 161)
  • Chapter 5 The Other Side of postfeminism: Maternal Feminism in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (p. 164)
  • Notes (p. 198)
  • Afterword: Feminist Images, Feminist politics (p. 203)
  • Notes (p. 215)
  • References (p. 219)
  • Index (p. 235)

Reviews provided by Syndetics


This important book is concerned with how television programming has contributed to the cultural conversation about feminism. There is no lack of books that examine the synergism of feminism and the media, but Dow (North Dakota State Univ.) analyzes the progression of feminism and postfeminism in the US from the vantage point of public-address studies. She considers the intersection of the textual strategies of several prime-time series and discourses produced by and about feminism in the time period in which the series were originally broadcast. This type of contextualized analysis of television has become common among feminist media scholars in recent years, and like them, Dow emphasizes television's role in mediating social change and in reproducing assumptions about women's "appropriate roles." The author offers surprising connections and comparisons in the book (she favors Dr. Quinn over Murphy Brown as an example of a feminist discourse), and she provides a solid overview of the women's movement in America to the present. The book concludes that media have been sophisticated in understanding the strategies that create mediated visions of feminism for their own purposes. Feminist analysis must be equally sophisticated in understanding those strategies. Highly recommended for upper-division and graduate media, cultural, and feminist studies collections. M. R. Grant Wheaton College (IL)

Author notes provided by Syndetics

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