Cover

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Front Matter

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Contents

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pp. v-vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-ix

It is difficult to write acknowledgments on behalf of fifteen authors, and mostly, I am in debt to these wonderful people for committing to this project and writing such enjoyable, interesting, and insightful chapters while juggling their myriad other responsibilities. I have been honored to work with...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-12

It was an interesting experience to be working on this book during the 2008 primary season. Whatever one’s politics, the historic runs of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination led to quite a few conversations about both race...

Part I

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1 Extreme Makeover and the Classica l Logic of Transformation

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pp. 15-34

Though ultimately liberated by postmodernity’s recognition that identity is discursive, replacing the tyrannical, univocal, modernist “self,” I still find myself nostalgic, at times, for essentialism. I notice that I am reflexively attracted to reports that individuals have uncovered, recovered, or discovered...

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2 Smart, Funny, and Romantic?

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pp. 35-52

In looking at “chick flicks,” films marketed primarily to women, I wonder what new popular fantasies are being produced and what this reveals about how we see women, feminist goals, and heterosexual romance today. As a romantic genre, “chick lit” and chick flicks track the romantic and professional...

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3 From Madonna to Lilith and Bac k Again

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pp. 53-70

During the Dixie Chicks’ Top of the World Tour in 2003, while in London, lead singer Natalie Maines made the off-the-cuff comment that they were ashamed the president of the United States was from Texas to express their opposition to the Iraq war. Immediately, many country music station veejays...

Part II

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4 The Reformer and Her Work

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pp. 73-92

In the summer of 2005, Turner Network Television aired the first season of a new police procedural drama, The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson. The series departs from earlier ventures that featured women working as police detectives. In The Closer, the woman leads. Johnson is an outsider who is brought in to reform the community. In part, the...

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5 The City, the Suburbs, and Stars Hollow

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pp. 93-114

In the mid-1990s, “Must-See TV” meant sitcoms like Seinfeld, Frasier, and Friends on NBC. These comedies dominated the ratings and the zeitgeist with their own blend of quirky characters and ironic humor. Soon after, reality TV became the hottest new genre of programming, beginning with MTV’s The Real World and exploding into the popular consciousness...

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6 Why Are All the Presidents Men?

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pp. 115-134

Is America ready for a female president?1 This question was asked repeatedly during the primary season preceding the 2008 presidential election.2 At first glance, asking the question seems rather benign. There has never been a female U.S. president. Women have long been constrained by their gender...

Part III

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7 Baby Lit

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pp. 137-158

In her assessment of the impact of feminism, historian Linda Gordon wrote, “The greatest accomplishments are the least tangible. They are in the way women speak, walk, dress—in the way so many men now change diapers with aplomb. . . . It would be difficult to find any area of life unchanged by...

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8 Supermom

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pp. 159-176

Two hit films from 2007 feature, at their center, pregnant women in nontraditional contexts. Juno and Knocked Up find their leading characters, Ellen Page’s Juno and Katherine Heigl’s Allison Scott, unexpectedly pregnant and unmarried. They are only the most recent cultural presentations of what it...

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9 The Mommy Trac k versus Having It All

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pp. 177-198

A flexible schedule with on-site day care. Paid time to visit the doctor, to attend a parent-teacher conference or a dance recital. A boss who understands when little Sophie is ill and must be picked up from day care. Time to care for the newest (and tiniest) member of the family. This is the dream of the “family-friendly” workplace, one in which working parents can easily..

Part IV

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10 It Was Chick Lit All Along

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pp. 201-214

The past ten years have seen the flowering of a literary genre labeled “chick lit.” Rooted in consumerism and nurtured by a certain neofeminist consciousness, this rose-colored phenomenon has captured the rapt attention of publishers, readers, and critics. In due time a (pink) collection of scholarly...

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11 The Personal Is Political

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pp. 215-232

These days, the 1950s suburban housewife, culled from the pages of women’s magazines by Betty Friedan, is a familiar figure in popular culture. Despite her beauty and her middle-class ease, she is restless and yearning for “something more.” In The Feminine Mystique Friedan urges women to resist the...

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12 The Money, Honey

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pp. 233-252

On September 5, 2006, after a summer full of listening tours, gossip columns, and media hype, Katie Couric took over the CBS Evening News. Female news anchors and reporters have become commonplace among local, cable, and other network news programs, but this was the first time in U.S. history that...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 253-260

Contributors

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pp. 261-264

Index

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pp. 265-289