Women In The Media And Pop Culture

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Women in the Media and Pop culture

Women in the Media and Pop culture


Popular culture is the term for artistic expressions of the people, at least half of whom are women. Its academic definition overlaps substantially with that of folklore as both involve the broad study of creative expression in context. Sometimes women's popular culture subverts the status quo; sometimes it reflects women's lives, including prejudices they face. Whether a popular form celebrates women, demeans them, or interpretably or alternatively does both, understanding it teaches us much about women's culture and folklore generally. (Ensler, 2002, 21)

Images and Representation of Women in the Media and Pop culture

Some scholars argue that popular culture is a post-industrial phenomenon beginning late in the nineteenth century, and link it exclusively to mass media phenomena(Ensler, 2002, 21). Others trace it farther back, considering it the “expressive materials of any group, large or small, pre-industrial or post-industrial” (Ensler, 2002, 21). Most folklorists and feminists use the phrase in this second sense of the aesthetics and pastimes of everyday life. “Popular” means “of the people.” Popular culture thus usually connotes creative expressions of ordinary people as opposed to those of a society's elite or educated classes (typically literature, visual art, and music). The term “culture” has many layers of meaning. Today, it is most often understood as those processes of learned behavior and creative expression that can be interpreted at some level as symbolic. (Orenstein, 2003, 99)

Popular culture encompasses a wide variety of genres: television programs, films, popular (pulp) fiction, graphic novels, cartoons, music, fashion, entertainments including circuses, gambling, festivals, beauty pageants, and rodeos, games, parks, food, sports, toys, religions, fads, celebrity icons, bumper stickers, and graffiti. This is a suggestive rather than a comprehensive list. What often separates the field of popular culture studies from that of cultural studies is the extent to which the context (worldviews, attitudes, thoughts, opinions, and lifestyles) of art makers and audiences are taken into consideration in studying or evaluating it. Like folklorists, scholars of popular culture consider interactions between the art itself (the lore or the culture) and the people who make and/or use the art (the population, populace, or folk).

Some genres of popular culture, like the romance novel, completely dominated by and focused on women, may actually subscribe to the dominant cultural philosophy, stereotyping women as dependent on men for fulfillment. Despite the fact that romance novels are devoted, at least on one level, to the very outcomes patriarchy expects (seeing women happily married and ready to produce children), these works are generally belittled and despised, especially by powerful men. Many men, and many feminists as well, may nonetheless mock those women who find in romances ways to take charge, artistically explore, and possibly even enjoy the sensual possibilities of their historically assigned functions. Many romance readers and writers, however, subvert the genre with readings that move them beyond the novel's assigned roles. (Pike, 2001, 99)

Religion provides another way through which women take control of ...
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