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"Obvi we're the ladies" : the unruly women of postfeminist television
Roche, Jennifer Lauren
In recent years, the attention of the public and the media has turned back to issues affecting women around the world. During the postfeminist backlash of the 1990s and into the early part of the twenty-first century, women's issues were pushed to the backburner and "feminism" became a word loaded with negative connotations. Today, people are seeing the effects of this unfortunate backlash, and activists, politicians and entertainers are returning their attention to issues of equality. This renewed interest in equality has created a kairotic moment for Hollywood to change the dialogue about women on screen. This study analyzes two of the top rated, most highly acclaimed shows on television that were created and written by women and investigates, through a feminist lens, how the leading female characters in these shows represent rhetorical constructions of women and of feminism. Using the shows Girls on HBO, written, starring and created by Lena Dunham and Scandal on ABC, written, produced and directed by Shonda Rhimes, this paper traces issues of character development and story arcs; body image and notions of beauty; positions in both the private and public spheres; and personal relationships, and argues that today's leading lady is a postfeminist version of the unruly woman. Postfeminism's unruly woman, though progressive in some ways, is symbolic of a rhetorical crisis of representation facing women as creators of media.
Rhetoric and Writing Studies
Arts and Letters
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2015
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