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Feminist Media Studies

Feminist Media Studies

May 1994 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Feminists have long recognized the significance of the media as a site for the expression of - or challenges to - existing constructions of gender. In this broad-ranging analysis, Liesbet van Zoonen explores the ways in which feminist theory and research contribute to the fuller understanding of the multiple roles of the media in the construction of gender in contemporary societies.

The text initially outlines some major themes in feminist media studies and the ways in which they offer specific models for understanding the media. The author goes on to examine the key questions posed by a gendered approach within communication and cultural studies. Issues explored include: theories of transmission, representation, construction and discourse; the structures of media organization and production; the analysis of media representations through content analysis and semiotics; the contradictions of the gendered image as spectacle; new approaches to understanding the audience and the politics of media reception; and the potential of feminist and interpretive research strategies.

'New' Themes
A 'New' Paradigm
Media Production and the Encoding of Gender
Media Texts and Gender
Spectatorship and the Gaze
Gender and Media Reception
Research Methods

`An invaluable tour d'horizon of feminist media theory and research, this book will also be essential reading for anyone interested in the many diverse strands of feminist media politics today. Liesbet van Zoonen successfully maps the contours of a now vast terrain, reflecting its tremendous heterogeneity and providing a thoughtful appraisal of current theoretical positions within it' - Margaret Gallagher, Media Consultant

`At last we have a cogent and accessible synthesis of feminist work on the media. That would have been contribution enough, but van Zoonen's book goes beyond a synthesis to a sophisticated yet sympathetic critique of various feminist approaches to studying the media, using her own original analysis of media content and production to fill in where work is undeveloped or absent. The reader - whether new to the subject or a seasoned feminist scholar - will find the book useful and provocative. The book lays the foundation for understanding the value of a poststructuralist turn in feminist media studies but without condemning the usefulness of other feminist projects and without theoretical jargon. van Zoonen presents the best explanation of some phenomena - such as the reason that the 'male gaze' is not simply reversed when women look at pictures of men's bodies - that I have read. It's all here in one place. van Zoonen deserves our thanks' - Lana Rakow, University of Wisconsin-Parkside

`Although, as van Zoonen notes, the media have played a central role in feminist critique, questions of gender are scarce in the mass communication literature and feminist media studies remain marginalized. Here is a strong effort to remedy the situation' - Choice

`Liesbet van Zoonen has succeeded in exhibiting the unappreciated diversity of feminist media theorising and has prepared the ground for demonstrating its continuing relevance to newly emerging and diverse media genres. Her interesting and insightful work will be greatly welcomed by researchers, students and teachers both in women's studies and media and communication departments. I suspect that a straightforward feminist voice is what those interested would most welcome' - Sociology

`Van Zoonen offers a provocative vision for the future of the field, and provides us with an important contribution to the literature of mass communication' - Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

Seminal work that should be read as widely as possible.

Dr Valentina Cardo
School of Political, Social and International Studies, University of East Anglia
May 19, 2011

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ISBN: 9780803985544