Television Culture and Women's Lives: "Thirtysomething" and the Contradictions of Gender

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University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995 - Performing Arts - 173 pages

Contemporary cultural theory, feminist criticism, and ethnography converge in this provocative study of the construction of meaning in mass culture. Television Culture and Women's Lives explores the complex relationship between the gender conflicts played out in the scripts of the popular television show thirtysomething and the real-life conflicts experienced by "baby-boomer" women viewers.

Women viewers often reinterpreted the program's conservative view on gender roles, seeing it instead as a protest against real dilemmas women face as they try to integrate career and family priorities. Heide's study confirms women viewers' close identifications with thirtysomething characters and positions audience responses against the backdrop of changes in the lives of women in the 1980s and 1990s. Television Culture and Women's Lives accessibly treats fascinating issues related to cultural criticism, the relationship between mass media, and audiences, and the struggles faced by women in late twentieth-century America.


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About the author (1995)

Margaret J. Heide teaches sociology at SUNY/Empire State College.

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