The Rise of Enlightened Sexism: How Pop Culture Took Us from Girl Power to Girls Gone Wild

The Rise of Enlightened Sexism: How Pop Culture Took Us from Girl Power to Girls Gone Wild

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0312673922

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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 The Rise Of 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 The Rise Of 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 American women love and hate with equal measure.

Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation

Manliness

Hegemony and Heteronormativity

Deleuze and Feminist Theory

Female Economic Strategies in the Modern World (Perspectives in Economic and Social History)

Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dumb and Dumber (1994) to Superbad (2007), guys are hopeless losers. In Sex and the City, with its characters who were successful professionals by day and Kama Sutra masters by night, there was no such thing as the double standard: women had as much sexual freedom, and maybe even more kinky sex, than men. Cosmo isn’t for passive girls waiting for the right guy to find them; it’s the magazine for the “Fun, Fearless Female” who is also proud to be, as one cover put it, a “Sex Genius.” Have a look

no personal life, no network of female friends, and regrets, expressed as early as the first season, about not having children.24 Because the jokes, and often the resolution of each episode, rested on making fun of the excesses of feminism, Murphy was often disciplined in some way, and she even expressed fleeting remorse for taking competitiveness and selfishness to extremes many men would not have. So being really independent and really competitive was so ridiculous for a woman that it had to be

relished fighting. Despite the hulking size, serrated fangs, and bulging, bas-relief foreheads of the vampires, they were no match for the kickboxing, punching, crossbow-wielding Buffy. In one fight scene, she did a handstand on a bar and as a vampire walked under her she swung down and kicked him to the ground with her feet. She could also take a punch herself, get hurled against walls, and spring back just in time to drive her wooden stake into their hearts. If a guy had her pinned down cold on

look at a black man unless he’s financially successful (an endless beef, put much more crudely, of course, in all too many rap songs). Maxine, with her beautifully tailored suits and braggadocio about the cases she had won, had clearly made it in the professional world, but in the brownstone she could hand slap Khadijah, roll her eyes, and bring on the sass. We also learned that the boyfriend with whom she was very much in love had left her once she started becoming successful as a lawyer,

enough, gorgeous enough, or wearing the most enviable logo. Because of these powerful crosscurrents—both appealing, both profitable, both tapping into our ever-contradictory cultural zeitgeist—girls and women are pulled in opposite directions, between wanting serious success and respect, and wanting acceptance, approval, and love; between wanting power and dreading power. The fantasies laid before us, in their various forms, school us in how to forge a perfect and allegedly empowering compromise

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