Challenging Images of Women in the Media: Reinventing Women's Lives

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9780739176986: Challenging Images of Women in the Media: Reinventing Women's Lives

Challenging Images of Women and the Media: Reinventing Women’s Lives, edited by Theresa Carilli and Jane Campbell, collects fifteen articles addressing the status of women through an examination of depictions of women in the media. This in-depth study shows how mixed messages from the media muddle attempts at breaking the “glass screen,” causing women to constantly question their role in global culture. With cake ads followed by diet commercials, the media’s depiction of women is both confusing and contradictory. While more and more women have begun to contribute to the media as respected anchors, talk show hosts, and commentators, these portrayals are often counteracted by music videos and reality television shows such as Jersey Shore. This collection seeks to analyze these depictions and their effects on women and culture. The contributors to this anthology hail from such diverse locations as Japan, Australia, Pakistan, India, China, Bulgaria, and the United States. With this global focus, Challenging Images of Women in the Media scrutinizes issues of race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality through a study of gendered media portrayals. By challenging the status quo of media images, the contributors to this essential volume invite a dialogue about women’s lives.

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About the Author:

Theresa Carilli is professor of communication at Purdue University Calumet.

Jane Campbell is professor of English at Purdue University Calumet.

Review:

Media representations of women proliferate around the world in an ever more confusing jumble of images ranging from sexualized commodities—both feared and revered—to legitimate political candidates, including antiquated villains that rewrite women’s history. In this volume of carefully selected essays by global scholars, Carilli and Campbell unmask the assertions and demands that such disjointed depictions make on the lives and well-being of real women. But this essential book also illustrates the ways in which women continue to reclaim their own voices, images, desires and power, and in doing so reaffirm our collective humanity. (Robin Andersen, Fordham University)

In their edited volume Women in the Media (2005), Carilli and Campbell (respectively, communication and English, Purdue Univ., Calumet) argued that global images of women in the media are problematical. The 15 essays in the present work reexamine the status of women in/on the media, also concluding that although images of women have changed as the second decade of the new millennium continues, presentations of women are more ambiguous than ever. Global media abound with images of woman as powerless and with harmful stereotypes about women's bodies and behavior. North Americans already know this is the case in their own media, but they have little exposure to depictions of women in media beyond North America. These essays provide valuable insight into ways in which foreign media sources have shifted from matronly to sexy depictions. This comes in tandem with the decline of state-sponsored maternity leave, child care, and abortion services. Also examined is global news media's difficulty in covering stories involving world figures like Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton. The study ends with fresh, "reflective" essays on positive images in North American media of full-figured black women and lesbian comics, suggesting that these women become "guides for a new feminist frontier." Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. (CHOICE)

In whole, Carilli’s and Campbell’s edited volume is undoubtedly a thought-provoking selection of essays. It provides stable theoretical frameworks and methodological platforms from where to examine a wide range of representations, pointing persistently at the need to debunk harmful and unrighteous perceptions about women. Above all and more than an important contribution to scholarship, Challenging Images of Women in the Media, offers a fertile ground for diverse discussions on how women’s lives may get better perceived and re-invented. (Women's Studies International Forum)

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