Postfeminist News: Political Women in Media Culture

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SUNY Press, Aug 1, 2002 - Political Science - 225 pages
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In the media-saturated decade of the 1990s, news reports shaped public sentiment about women in electoral politics and beyond. Mary Douglas Vavrus explores the process of representing political women in media, and argues that contemporary news accounts promote a postfeminist politics that encourages women’s private, consumer lifestyles and middle-class aspirations, while it discourages public life and political activism. The author discusses the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings of 1991, the 1991–92 “Year of the Woman” in politics, the 1996 presidential campaign’s use of “soccer moms,” and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign for Senate in 2000. Vavrus assesses the logic that emerges in these narratives’ recurrent themes about gender and explores their significance for women and for feminism, ultimately arguing that feminism has been supplanted by postfeminism in news accounts of political women.
 

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Contents

Theorizing Media Representation of Electoral Feminism
11
Anita Hill Clarence Thomas and the Crisis of White Patriarchal Authority
37
Postfeminist Identies Neoliberal Ideology and Women of the Year
75
From Women of the Year to Soccer Moms The Case of the Incredible Shrinking Women
105
Pray Tell Who Is the She? Campaign 2000 or the Year of One Woman
129
Putting Ally on Trial Contesting Postfeminism in Media Culture
165
Notes
187
Reference
199
Index
217
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About the author (2002)

Mary Douglas Vavrus is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She is the coeditor (with Catherine Warren) of American Cultural Studies.

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