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Television and feminism: A tool for political and social empowerment for women - Essay Example

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Television and feminism: A tool for political, economic, and social empowerment for women Name Instructor Class 31 August 2012 Gender and sexuality affect people’s identity, which in turn, help shape their attitudes and behaviors. Technology, in particular, the television, continues to affect how women and men see gender and sexuality…
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Television and feminism: A tool for political and social empowerment for women
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"Television and feminism: A tool for political and social empowerment for women"

Download file to see previous pages TV supported feminism through discussing and showing potential and claimed opportunities for women’s political, economic, and social empowerment. One of the main goals of feminism is to gain access to political empowerment for women, which TV supports. TV shows, specifically talk shows for and by women, allow women to express their political opinions. In the article “The Oprahification of America,” Shattuc (2002) explored the political value of talk shows. She recognized that democracy is expressed through an existence of a public arena, where people can freely express diverse opinions (Shattuc, 2002, p.168). The first generation of daytime TV talk shows developed during the 1970s and the 1980s and included The Oprah Winfrey Show, Donahue, and Geraldo. These shows allowed “average” Americans to talk about issues that are important to them (Shattuc, 2002, p.168). Some of their episodes explored issues with political relevance, such as racism, welfare, sexuality, religious freedom, and changing civil liberties at the wake of continued terrorist activities and criminality. Shattuc (2002) stressed that sensationalized approaches to these issues decrease the political significance of talk shows. Nevertheless, she agreed that talk shows provide women a public sphere, where social issues that are important to them are openly discussed. TV shows also facilitate political empowerment of women through showing women in power. The news has covered powerful women in business and politics. Some of them are Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund. These women support feminist ideals that women possess strong leadership and communication skills too, not just men. TV shows also emphasize political empowerment through nationalism. In “Nationalism and Gender,” Jenkins (2011) described the rise of female superheroes in TV programming. The Bionic Woman, however, is not an ordinary hero, but one that fostered nationalism too (Jenkins, 2011). Thus, the TV served multiple functions in promoting women’s access to political participation and leadership. The television provides economic empowerment that feminism also wanted. Before, women depended on men because the former lacked their own income. After the Civil Rights Movement, women increasingly worked outside their homes. The rise of TV watching and programming enabled women to work in the media as actresses, producers, and other host of occupations. TV itself directly provided means of employment for women. Soon, financial independence inspired the demand for social and political equality (Barnett, 2012, p.273). Moreover, TV shows have produced the image of the “New Woman,” a working woman with high self-esteem and economic power. In “Singled out: Postfeminism's “New Woman” and the dilemma of having it all,” Genz (2010) studied the idea and effects of the New Woman. She stressed that the media shaped and sold female subjectivities, as it asked women to leave their “old” self behind and replace it with a “new woman” (Genz, 2010, p.97). Thus, TV shows inspired women to attain economic independence. Finally, the TV supported feminism through challenging patriarchal social norms. The television is a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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