Representations of Feminism Discussion

1. When I ask students in any particular class how many of them identify as “feminists,” very few raise their hands, and those who do raise their hands are female students. However, when I ask how many people in the class would state they personally believe in “equality and respect for all forms of life,” and “resisting oppression of women, men, people with disabilities, people with any gender or sexual identity, people of any race, ethnicity or religion, elderly people, children, animals or our planet,” nearly every hand in the class goes up (Fixmer-Oraiz and Wood 4). Obviously, our cultural images of feminists are quite negative and drastically different from the definition of feminism in the previous sentence. Paragraph #1: Draw from your own personal experiences and knowledge to describe, in as much detail as possible, the various negative images of feminists that exist in our culture. 2. Roxane Gay begins her TED Talk, “Confessions of a Bad Feminist,” by saying, “I have failed as a feminist.” This statement is more than a joke; she uses this idea to reject the impossible demands of the feminist movement. Throughout the talk, Roxane Gay then provides alternate ideas about feminism. Paragraph #2: 1) Describe how Roxane Gay discusses her understandings of feminism. 2). What elements of Roxane’s ideas are similar to your own ideas about feminism? 3) What elements of her ideas are different from your own ideas about feminism? 4) Explain why you agree with Roxane’s ideas about feminism OR explain why you disagree with Roxane’s ideas about feminism. 3. Bonnie Dow states that specific aspects of The Mary Tyler Moore Show are in direct conflict with feminist praise for the show, and that the show instead promotes “a traditional picture of the female within the family through Mary Richards’s implicit roles as wife, mother, and daughter” (265). But Susan Douglas praises The Mary Tyler Moore Show, claiming that “few shows embodied more perfectly the intertwining of traditional femininity with new feminist ambitions” (41). Paragraph #3: Explain why you agree with Bonnie Dow OR why you agree with Susan Douglas. Reference relevant portions of the episode “Love is All Around” to build your case. 4. In “Media, Gender, and Feminism,” Susan Douglas states that television shows in the mid-1960s “subtly (and metaphorically) blended women’s emerging desire for liberation with their traditional roles as helpmates and love interests” (p. 40). Paragraph #4: In what ways does the episode “Hellride” from Charlies Angels accomplish this “blend?” Be specific and reference relevant portions of the episode. Post your response to these questions by Wednesday, 9/9, 11:59 p.m. Respond to three members of your group by Sunday, 9/13, 11:59 p.m. Works Cited Douglas, Susan. Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Critical Reader, edited by Bill Yousman et al., Sage Publications, 2020, pp. 37–55. Dow, Bonnie J. “Hegemony, Feminist Criticism and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Critical Studies in Mass Communication, vol. 7, no. 3, 1990, pp. 261–274. Fixmer-Oraiz, Natalie, and Julia T. Wood. Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture, 13th ed., Cengage, 2019, pp. 1–14.

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