Synopses & Reviews
Where the Girls Are is about the confusing and contradictory images of women in American pop culture. Media critic Susan J. Douglas looks back at the television programs, popular music, advertising, and nightly news reports of the past four decades to reveal the mixed messages conveyed to girls and women coming of age in America. In a humorous and provocative analysis of our postwar cultural heritage, Douglas deconstructs these ambiguous messages and examines their influence on her life and the lives of her contemporaries....It is no accident, she argues, that 'girl groups' like the Shirelles emerged in the early 1960s, singing sexually charged songs like "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?;" or that cultural anxiety over female assertiveness showed up in sitcoms like Bewitched whose heroines had magical powers; or that the news coverage of the Equal Rights Amendment degenerated into a spat among women, absolving men of any responsibility....And yet for all the images that reinforced a traditional view of servile and dependent women, Douglas powerfully reveals how American mass culture also undermined these images by offering countless examples of girls and women who were actors in the wider world and who controlled their own destinies.
"In this insightful study of how the American media has portrayed women over the past 50 years, Douglas (Inventing American Broadcasting: 1899-1922) considers the paradox of a generation of women raised to see themselves as bimbos becoming the very group that found its voice in feminism." Publishers Weekly
"In an engaging personal tour through the landscape of television, popular music, new media, and advertising, she retrieves that history while exploring the mixed messages the media delivered to women....Douglas...translates intricate academic ideas into witty and accessible prose." Library Journal
Media critic Douglas deconstructs the ambiguous messages sent to American women via TV programs, popular music, advertising, and nightly news reporting over the last 40 years, and fathoms their influence on her own life and the lives of her contemporaries. Photos.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -333) and index.