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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media Hardcover – April 26, 1994

4.2 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An insightful, witty, and well-written analysis of the effects of mass-media on women in late 20th-century American culture. Douglas cuts through the fluff that spews from the tube with a finely-honed sense of the absurd that can forever change (or minimally, inform) how you perceive the changing portrayals of women by the media. The only book I know of that has been given highest recommendations by Gloria Steinem, The McLaughlin Group, and Amazon.com. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

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. Modern American women, she suggests, have been fed so many conflicting images of their desires, aspirations and relationships with men, families and one another that they are veritable cultural schizophrenics, uncertain of what they want and what society expects of them. A single image--Diana Ross of the Supremes, for example, or Gidget from the popular sitcom--can send mixed signals, Douglas shows, at once affirming a woman's right to a voice and cautioning her not to go too far. Thus the media is often both a liberating and an oppressive force. Douglas is particularly attentive to the ways pop culture's messages have responded to shifting social and economic imperatives, including the feminist movement itself. While she asserts that pop culture can have a profound impact on one's self-perceptions, she also stresses that women, by the example of their own lives, have changed--mostly for the better--the way the media represents them. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books; 1st edition (April 26, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812922069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812922066
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Reading this book is like spending a long weekend with a new friend about your own age, wallowing in music and decades-old sitcom reruns while you trade memories that begin "Did you ever see . . . ?" and "Remember the one about. . . ?" You laugh yourselves silly, but also come away with a new appreciation for how TV, movies, and music helped you define who you were and how you saw the world.
OK, I'll be honest. _Where The Girls Are_ is also a first-rate introduction by example to the field of media studies, a brilliant defense of feminism, a scathingly funny critique of American broadcast journalism and an insightful exploration of the complex ways that girls and women relate to the steady stream of female images they're fed by the mass media. But if I led with that paragraph, the book wouldn't sound like it was any fun at all. And it *is* fun. Oh, my, is it fun.
Susan Douglas starts from the idea that, although her experiences and those of her friends (white, middle-class, suburban, straight, Baby-Boom-era women) aren't universal, they *can* be used to illustrate larger truths about how people relate to the mass media. She proceeds, for 300 pages, to do just that. Her analyses are always sharp (you will *never* look at "Charlie's Angels" the same way again), and her prose is as far from academic-ese as you can get: funny, pointed, and (when the subject warrants it) wrath-of-God angry at some of the manifest injustices she describes.
Read this book. Even if you're not part of the Baby Boom generation. Even if you're not a woman. Trust me.
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Format: Paperback
This book chronicles the images of females in baby-boom popculture and how they reflected and shaped politics.
Because women have been historically consigned to the private sphere of home and hearth, the idea that our tv and mass media images can alter society is a riveting idea. Douglas then backs up this thesis with an admirable amount of intensive research and personal recollection that travels from Gracie Allen to Northern Exposure.
Although the book was primarily intended for babyboom women's culture, I am old enough to remember the rise of the superwoman as personified in Wonder Woman and Charlie's Angels and how this new genere was designed for both male tittilation and female admiration. Meanwhile, myself and other first graders loved the show because people who looked like us (hopefully when we were older) were the center stars of the show.
While I am now eagerly awaiting a revised and expanded edition with chapters on Buffy, Xena and Charmed, the book still provides an excellent example of the un-ending struggle between feminist and anti-feminist influences in the American mass media. No self-respecting feminist of any age ought to be without this awesome and well-researched tome.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Where the Girls Are" is a tour through and a look at how pop culture affected girls and women. It is a thought provoking, sarcastic, and very witty portrayal from a woman who admits to having an "attitude problem." The targets are taken from literature, movies, TV and music, and include everything and everyone from "Bewitched," The Shirelles, "Sex and the Single Girl," Charlie's Angels, Murphy Brown and Madonna. She also examines famous feminists'impact including Kate Millett, Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug. The book contains plenty of quotes from anti-feminists, as well, to show (at least in this reviewer's eyes) just how ridiculous if often effective the opposition to the Women's Movement was.

One thing. The author laments that role models in children's literature are "few and far between." Either she is making a blanket statement, or she has no experience. Young adult and children's lit, even back in 1994 when the book was published, are a treasure trove of strong, positive female heroines.
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Format: Paperback
While I found this book to be breezily written and often entertaining, I also found it to be very one-sided in its knowledge of and presentation of primetime entertainment television history.
To read Ms. Douglas's book, one could easily come away with the belief that not a single "positive" image of American womanhood has ever been broadcast in the history of the small screen. The world set forth in "Where the Girls Are" is one where women were constantly demeaned by the media; and the real-life women of the time (one assumes) willingly, ignorantly accepted these images and these programs which (one also gathers) were created and broadcast by a group of 100% male, women-hating producers, writers and network execs.
To make the above myopic point, Douglas ignores entire genres and entire series. In her book, she makes no mention of Barbara Stanwyck on "The Big Valley" or Anne Francis on "Honey West" or of the series "The Nurses"; or of the popular anthology programs of the era often hosted by the likes of Stanwyck, Jane Wyman and Loretta Young; or of the variety shows of the time also often helmed by women; or of the constant presence of individuals like Kitty Carlisle, Faye Emerson or Arlene Francis and their witty, wise contributions to the primetime panel programs also of the time.
She also makes no mention of Yvonne Craig or Julie Newmar on "Batman" or of Pat Crowley's avant-garde mom on "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" and she unfairly dismisses "Our Miss Brooks" as just a "husband-hunter," failing to recognize her as the competent professional she was. Instead, Douglas prefers to take easy shots at the usual TV targets-"Charlie's Angels," "I Dream of Jeannie" and the poor, much-maligned Donna Reed, among others.
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