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Introduction: Funhouse Mirrors — Popular Culture’s Distorted View of Girl/Womanhood

  • Melissa Ames
  • Sarah Burcon

Abstract

Popular culture as of late has painted a blissful and utopic image of gender equality in the United States and elsewhere in the Western world. If you believe everything you read in books and see on the screen, then we are living in a wonderland full of female success. It’s the age of girl/woman power — of Frozen, Girls, The Hunger Games, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hermione Granger, Olivia Pope, Lady Gaga, and Michelle Obama. The past decade has produced our first female speaker of the House, and Presidential elections that found women perpetually in the spotlight as nominees for Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates. Today, we’re being told that if women want to succeed in the work force, they just have to ‘lean in’.1 And perhaps they don’t even have to lean in all that far because, according to media proclamations, we’ve supposedly arrived at ‘the end of men’.2 However — surprise, surprise — this simply is not the case.

Keywords

Popular Culture Female Success Taboo Word Helicopter Parent Cultural Training 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Sandberg, Sheryl. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. NYC: Knopf, 2013.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rosin, Hanna. The End of Men: And the Rise of Women. NYC: Riverhead, 2012.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    See Needleman, Sarah E. ‘Pay Gap Between Men and Women Remains a Reality in Work Force’. Careerfournal.com. 24 April 2007. For additional studies on the pay gap among women, see Chang, Mariko Lin. Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 9.
    Douglas, Susan J. Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message that Feminism’s Work is Done. NYC: Times Books, 2010, p. 279.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    Orenstein, Peggy. Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. NYC: Harper Collins, 2011, pp. 6, 18.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    Rivers, Caryl, and Rosalind C. Barnett. The New Soft War on Women: How the Myth of Female Ascendance is Hurting Women, Men — and Our Economy. NYC: Penguin, 2013.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    Douglas, Susan. Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message that Feminism’s Work is Done. NYC: Times Books, 2010, p. 4.Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    McRobbie, Angela. The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture, and Social Change. London: Sage, 2009.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    Gill, Rosalind. Gender and the Media. Maiden, MA: Polity, 2007.Google Scholar
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    Gill, Rosalind. Gender and the Media. Maiden, MA: Polity, 2007.Google Scholar
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    Gay Roxane. Bad Feminist. NYC: Harper Perennial, 2014, pp. ix–x.Google Scholar
  12. 23.
    Susan Faludi (NYC: Metropolitan, 2007) discusses how the events of 9/11 helped to revitalize these stereotypical gendered depictions through the media’s frenzied attention to heroic (male) first responders and emotional (female) widows. [See Faludi, Susan. The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America. NYC: Metropolitan, 2007.]Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Melissa Ames and Sarah Burcon 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa Ames
    • 1
  • Sarah Burcon
    • 2
  1. 1.Eastern Illinois UniversityUSA
  2. 2.University of MichiganUSA

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