Enlightened sexism : the seductive message that feminism's work is done / Susan J. Douglas.

by Douglas, Susan J. (Susan Jeanne), 1950-Looking glass.

Publisher: New York : Times Books, 2010.Edition: First edition.Description: 354 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm.ISBN: 080508326X; 9780805083262.Subject(s): Feminism -- United StatesLooking glass | Mass media and women -- United States | Women in popular culture -- United StatesLooking glass
Contents:
Get the girls -- Castration anxiety -- Warrior women in thongs -- The new girliness -- You go girl -- Sex "R" us -- Reality bites -- Lean girls-mean girls -- Red carpet mania -- Women on top -- sort of.
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages [307]-334) and index. Summary: Women today are inundated with conflicting messages from the mass media: they must either be strong leaders in complete command or sex kittens obsessed with finding and pleasing a man. Here, cultural critic Susan J. Douglas takes readers on a spirited journey through the television programs, popular songs, movies, and news coverage of recent years, telling a story that is the cultural biography of a new generation of American women. Revisiting cultural touchstones from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Desperate Housewives, Douglas exposes these images of women as mere fantasies of female power, assuring women and girls that the battle for equality has been won, so there's nothing wrong with resurrecting sexist stereotypes--all in good fun, of course. She shows that these portrayals not only distract us from the real-world challenges facing women today but also drive a wedge between baby-boom women and their "millennial" daughters.--From publisher description.
Item type Home library Collection Class number Status Date due Barcode Item reservations
Long loan Chelsea College of Arts
Main collection
Printed books 305.3 DOU (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Issued 07/12/2021 54161410
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

From the author of Where the Girls Are , a sharp and irreverent critique of how women are portrayed in today's popular culture

Women today are inundated with conflicting messages from the mass media: they must either be strong leaders in complete command or sex kittens obsessed with finding and pleasing a man. In Enlightened Sexism , Susan J. Douglas, one of America's most entertaining and insightful cultural critics, takes readers on a spirited journey through the television programs, popular songs, movies, and news coverage of recent years, telling a story that is nothing less than the cultural biography of a new generation of American women.

Revisiting cultural touchstones from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Survivor to Desperate Housewives , Douglas uses wit and wisdom to expose these images of women as mere fantasies of female power, assuring women and girls that the battle for equality has been won, so there's nothing wrong with resurrecting sexist stereotypes--all in good fun, of course. She shows that these portrayals not only distract us from the real-world challenges facing women today but also drive a wedge between baby-boom women and their "millennial" daughters.

In seeking to bridge this generation gap, Douglas makes the case for casting aside these retrograde messages, showing us how to decode the mixed messages that restrict the ambitions of women of all ages. And what makes Enlightened Sexism such a pleasure to read is Douglas's unique voice, as she blends humor with insight and offers an empathetic and sisterly guide to the images so many women love and hate with equal measure.

Includes bibliographical references (pages [307]-334) and index.

Get the girls -- Castration anxiety -- Warrior women in thongs -- The new girliness -- You go girl -- Sex "R" us -- Reality bites -- Lean girls-mean girls -- Red carpet mania -- Women on top -- sort of.

Women today are inundated with conflicting messages from the mass media: they must either be strong leaders in complete command or sex kittens obsessed with finding and pleasing a man. Here, cultural critic Susan J. Douglas takes readers on a spirited journey through the television programs, popular songs, movies, and news coverage of recent years, telling a story that is the cultural biography of a new generation of American women. Revisiting cultural touchstones from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Desperate Housewives, Douglas exposes these images of women as mere fantasies of female power, assuring women and girls that the battle for equality has been won, so there's nothing wrong with resurrecting sexist stereotypes--all in good fun, of course. She shows that these portrayals not only distract us from the real-world challenges facing women today but also drive a wedge between baby-boom women and their "millennial" daughters.--From publisher description.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Introduction: Fantasies of Power (p. 1)
  • 1 Get the Girls (p. 23)
  • 2 Castration Anxiety (p. 54)
  • 3 Warrior Women in Thongs (p. 76)
  • 4 The New Girliness (p. 101)
  • 5 You Go, Girl (p. 126)
  • 6 Sex "R" Us (p. 154)
  • 7 Reality Bites (p. 188)
  • 8 Lean and Mean (p. 214)
  • 9 Red Carpet Mania (p. 242)
  • 10 Women on Top ... Sort Of (p. 267)
  • Epilogue: The F-Word (p. 297)
  • Notes (p. 307)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 335)
  • Index (p. 339)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Douglas (communication studies, Univ. of Michigan; Where the Girls Are) offers an incisive and humorous analysis of mass media representations of women from 1990 to the present. Barely one major television program, film, or celebrity is left unexamined. Transgressive women from Lorena Bobbitt to Janet Reno, warrior women like Xena, and girly women Ø la Ally McBeal are all dissected. Douglas also examines Riot Grrrl, reality TV, cosmetic surgery, and women in politics, including Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, defining enlightened sexism as the deployment of sexist stereotypes of girls and women that emerged in the 1990s as a response to feminist activism. Enlightened sexism, she writes, assumes that women have gained full equality and should now invest their time, money, and energy on their appearance and the pursuit of men. Douglas's thorough analysis of women complements last year's You've Come a Long Way, Baby: Women, Politics, and Popular Culture, edited by Lilly J. Goren. VERDICT This interesting work will appeal not only to scholars and students of gender studies and popular culture but also to all readers interested in media and social change.-Karen Okamoto, John Jay Col. Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

In a sharp-witted polemic against the media's stereotyping of females and feminism, University of Michigan communications professor Douglas (Where the Girls Are) parses music, movies, magazines, television dramas, reality TV, and news coverage to demonstrate how the "girl power" of the early '90s developed into "enlightened sexism": "a response, deliberate or not, to the perceived threat of a new gender regime." Given women's progress, enlightened sexism assumes, now "it's okay, even amusing, to resurrect sexist stereotypes of girls and women." According to Douglas, this media trend includes stereotypes of black women as lazy and threatening in characters like Big Momma or Omarosa on The Apprentice, and the insidious sexualization of young girls. Douglas supports her analysis with data, such as on women's continuing inequitable pay and professional opportunities, black women's struggles for equality, and the negative consequences of the rising use of plastic surgery. And while the media have focused on girls bullying other girls, a much bigger problem, says Douglas, is sexual harassment of young girls by boys. Readers may not agree with Douglas's politics, but her position that women's interests are being harmed by the media is well argued and well documented. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

CHOICE Review

Douglas's breezy, witty prose masks a serious message. In this well-documented book, Douglas (communication, Univ. of Michigan; Where the Girls Are, CH, Mar'95, 32-3711, and other titles), questions whether the US has moved beyond feminism (as television, music, film, and literature imply). Bombarded by images of successful, sassy women, media consumers see women--doctors, judges, politicians, cops, soldiers--portrayed as having equal status with men in all fields of endeavor. Is this reality, or does it reflect only a desire for equality? Douglas supports the latter view. Her evidence: women's median salaries remaining less than men's, women's poor representation in Congress, and so on. The media provide a mixed message: women have made progress but they are dumber, meaner, and nastier than men (viz., reality television). With a wink and a nudge, entertainment producers argue that this is permissible because everyone understands the parody. Though it sometimes reads like an in-depth, well-written TV Guide article, this thought-providing book will appeal to those interested in women's and gender studies, mass media, and popular culture. But one wonders how Douglas could sit through so many hours of Sex and the City, The Gilmore Girls, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates. R. L. Abbott University of Evansville

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Susan J. Douglas is the author of Where the Girls Are , The Mommy Myth , and other works of cultural history and criticism. She is the Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor of Communication Studies and chair of the department at the University of Michigan, where she has taught since 1996. Her work has appeared in The Nation , The Progressive , Ms. , The Village Voice , and In These Times . She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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