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Sex And Money

Feminism and Political Economy in the Media

Eileen R. Meehan

Publication Year: 2001

It all comes down to sex and money: how the media are organized, how they work, what they say, who gets to say it and to whom. That is the message this book delivers—and then parses for its meaning to society and culture. Forcefully and persuasively, this groundbreaking volume uses the media to show how questions of gender and economics are inextricably linked to issues of power in Western capitalist societies. Integrating political economy and feminism, it offers a new understanding of communication at the personal, experiential, institutional, and structural levels-and exposes all the subtle and complex ways in which sex and money are sutured into individuals’ daily lives. Contributors: Robin Andersen, Fordham U; Ellen Balka, Simon Fraser U; Amy Beer; Carolyn M. Byerly, Ithaca College; Ramona Curry, U of Illinois; Fred Fejes, Florida Atlantic U; Nancy Hauserman, U of Iowa; Michèle Martin, Carleton U, Canada; Stana Martin, Central Missouri State U; Lisa McLaughlin, Miami U, Ohio; Roopali Mukherjee, Indiana U; Angela R. Record; Karen Ross, Coventry U; H. Leslie Steeves, U of Oregon; Angharad N. Valdivia, U of Illinois; Janet Wasko, U of Oregon; and Justin Wyatt.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Series: Commerce and Mass Culture

Title Page, About the Series, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

The editors wish to acknowledge the University of Arizona for travel support to the IAMCR conference in Glasgow, Scotland, UDC and ICA in San Francisco, and the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication for providing research and travel funds. ...

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Ellen Riordan, Eileen R. Meehan

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pp. ix-xiv

Controversies over gender and economics have produced some remarkable sights in the past twenty years: antiabortion fundamentalists joining with prochoice feminists to picket movie theaters showing pornographic films; fundamentalist Republicans calling for federal intervention in the private lives of gay Republicans; ...

I. Theorizing the Connections: Sex, Money, Media

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1. Intersections and New Directions: On Feminism and Political Economy

Ellen Riordan

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pp. 3-15

The current state of media and entertainment megamergers demands a closer analysis of the economic aspects organizing the logic of global communication industries. Political economists who analyze communications and media have suggested this for years (Golding and Murdock 1991; Garnham 1979); ...

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2. Feminist Theory and Political Economy: Toward a Friendly Alliance

H. Leslie Steeves, Janet Wasko

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pp. 16-29

Casual observation suggests that political economists and feminists have much in common. Both groups promote theory and activism addressing distributions of power and patterns of inequality and oppression in society. Political economists focus on these issues in the context of capitalism. ...

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3. Something Old, Something New: Lingering Moments in the Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism

Lisa McLaughlin

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pp. 30-46

For a number of years now, the battlelines have been drawn between cultural studies and critical political economy. By the time that the debaters have finished hurling epithets and the spectators have chosen sides, it is easy to forget that, since the inception of British cultural studies, a number of scholars have recognized the importance of a steady stream of systematic dialogue between the approaches (Meehan 1986; Mosco 1996). ...

II. In the Public Sphere: Work, Technology, Law

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4. An Unsuitable Technology for a Woman? Communication as Circulation

Michèle Martin

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pp. 49-59

“Women’s use of men’s technology would come to no good end,” said telephone developers and so-called experts in the early expansion of telephony (Marvin 1988, 23). For them, the telephone was too serious a technology to be used as women would for what men called frivolous matters. ...

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5. The Invisibility of the Everyday: New Technology and Women’s Work

Ellen Balka

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pp. 60-74

In the small community of Heart’s Content, Newfoundland, a museum chronicles the glory days of telecommunications in Newfoundland. It marks the site where the transatlantic cable first reached land in North America, which led to prosperous jobs. Although women represented at least half of the telegraph operators in Newfoundland telegraph stations between 1893 and 1896 (Bradbrook 1980), ...

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6. The Political Economy of Women’s Employment in the Information Sector

Stana Martin

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pp. 75-87

Prior to Machlup’s publication of Production and Distribution in 1962, economists traditionally divided the economy into three parts: primary/extractive, secondary/industrial, and tertiary/services. Machlup was the first to conceptually carve out a fourth sector: the knowledge/ information sector. ...

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7. Sexual Harassment as an Economic Concern: Swedish and American Coverage of Astra

Nancy Hauserman

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pp. 88-99

This chapter uses allegations of sexual harassment against Astra USA to link two important topics: sexual harassment and the power of the media as a cultural influence. It considers how the media contribute both to the condemnation and prevention of sexual harassment and to its persistence in an attempt to further our understanding of the underlying problem of sexual harassment ...

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8. Single Moms, Quota Queens, and the Model Majority: Putting “Women” to Work in the California Civil Rights Initiative

Roopali Mukherjee

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pp. 100-111

I begin this chapter with the foregoing quotes to draw attention to the ways in which the category of “women” and representational claims on their behalf have performed subtle yet significant discursive work in recent public debates over affirmative action policies in the United States. ...

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9. Selling Women (Down the River): Gendered Relations and the Political Economy of Broadcast News

Karen Ross

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pp. 112-129

This chapter is concerned with the relationship between sex (gender), politics (agenda), and the economy (money) and uses the particular nexus of women and broadcast news as a way to explore the ways in which news media’s “treatment” of women in news domains—where women are objects of news interest (selling sex) or else rendered invisible ...

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10. Gender and the Political Economy of Newsmaking: A Case Study of Human Rights Coverage

Carolyn M. Byerly

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pp. 130-144

History is replete with evidence that those who control the media in effect control the content of the ideas that those media produce and disseminate. In that context, neither Karl Marx nor Susan B. Anthony1—two of the earliest to critique the owner-media relationship—was particularly revolutionary in their observations. ...

III. In the Private Sphere: Entertainment, Identity, Consumption

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11. Weighing the Transgressive Star Body of Shelley Duvall

Justin Wyatt

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pp. 147-163

Patricia Mellencamp’s provocative musings draw attention to the paucity of film scholarship addressing the intersection of film, feminism, and industry. However, as she suggests, the scholarship in the area of industry studies is complicated even further by perceived divisions between market and Marxist models, industrial and cultural models. ...

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12. Periodical Pleasures: Magazines for U.S. Latinas

Amy Beer

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pp. 164-180

In October 1997 Estylo joined Latina and Moderna in a group of new magazines targeting women defined by their ethnic consciousness as “U.S. Latinas.”1 While Vandidades Continental and Cosmopolitan en Español, the best-selling Spanish-language women’s magazines, aim at Latin American women interested in the lifestyles of an international elite, ...

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13. Born to Shop: Teenage Women and the Marketplace in the Postwar United States

Angela R. Record

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pp. 181-195

In 1947 Eugene Gilbert traveled from Chicago to New York to earn his fortune by defining and exploiting the untapped teenage market. By 1958 Gilbert had earned a reputation as a leader in his industry; he grossed between $500,000 and $1 million annually by selling teenage consumers as the next hot commodity. ...

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14. Advertising and the Political Economy of Lesbian/Gay Identity

Fred Fejes

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pp. 196-208

If the struggle for legal and social equality for lesbians and gay males is still being fiercely fought (and often lost), the struggle to treat them as full and equal citizens in the republic of postscarcity, postmodern hyperconsumption is all over but the shouting. The good guys (and some of the girls) won. ...

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15. Gendering the Commodity Audience: Critical Media Research, Feminism, and Political Economy

Eileen R. Meehan

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pp. 209-222

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, media scholars sorted the field into the categories of “mainstream” versus “critical” research. These adjectives instantly communicated where one stood in terms of the root assumptions and valuations undergirding one’s work—as well as which side you rooted for at the staged debates where administrative researchers ...

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16. The Thrill Is Gone: Advertising, Gender Representation, and the Loss of Desire

Robin Andersen

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pp. 223-239

The designers of commercial culture have long been using sex to make a sale. We are enjoined to buy, on a daily basis, a vast array of products because a connection has been forged between them and sex. That simple proposition, selling sex, is in fact not so simple, however, because it implies a staggering amount of expertise, psychoanalytic theory, research, development, and of course money, ...

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17. Xuxa at the Borders of U.S. TV: Checked for Gender, Race, and National Identity

Ramona Curry, Angharad N. Valdivia

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pp. 240-256

Except for a few English comedy shows, the occasional international film, and some English-dubbed Japanese “anime” cartoons that currently play on Saturday morning, virtually all of the vast quantity of television programming available to U.S. audiences via broadcast and cable is “Made in U.S.A.” ...


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pp. 257-290


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pp. 291-294


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pp. 295-312

E-ISBN-13: 9780816692736
E-ISBN-10: 0816692734
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816637881

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2001

Edition: First edition
Series Title: Commerce and Mass Culture