Media Depictions of Brides, Wives, and Mothers

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9780739177082: Media Depictions of Brides, Wives, and Mothers
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Media Depictions of Brides, Wives, and Mothers, edited by Alena Amato Ruggerio, explores how television, film, the internet, and other media variously perpetuate gender stereotypes. The contributors to this volume bring a variety of feminist rhetorical and media criticism approaches from across the communication discipline to their analyses of how television, film, news coverage, and the Internet shape our expectations of the performance of women’s identities. This collection includes studies of Bridezillas, Jon & Kate Plus 8, Sex and the City, Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi, The Devil Wears Prada, Practical Magic, “momtini” blogs, and Mad Men fan websites. Readers will learn to apply the insights from each chapter to their own sets of myths, stereotypes, and assumptions about gendered roles, and to recognize the possibilities for both liberation and domination when women’s practices of marrying, mating, and mothering are represented and misrepresented in the media. This collection is an essential contribution to media studies and criticism of gender stereotypes in contemporary culture.

Read the author's recent interview with Literary Ashland. You can also visit the author's website here.

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About the Author:

Alena Amato Ruggerio is associate professor of communication at Southern Oregon University.

Review:

Alena Amato Ruggerio's anthology offers a stimulating collection of chapters by scholars who discuss the impact of myths and stereotypes in media portrayals of brides, wives, and mothers. What's most intriguing and hopeful is its media literacy approach, which neither wholly blames nor wholly forgives but rather advocates the empowerment of media consumers through critical thinking and social activism that can replace inappropriate and damaging images and perceptions with 'equality and justice.' This collection's excellent chapters provide road maps for this worthy outcome. (Mary-Lou Galician, Arizona State University)

Although the editor's aim is to offer current research on how media perpetuate gender stereotypes, one might wonder—given today's plethora of depictions of women throughout television, cable, film—if this is a cutting-edge endeavor. But the scholarship is impressive, and the 17 chapters do sweep anew over Kate Gosselin, Desperate Housewives, Sarah Palin's grizzly bear mamas, Mad Men women, et al. In the mix, a few less-explored issues appear, for example, depictions of women in the military and Deepa Mehta's important film Water (2005), to which Lauren DeCarvalho applies Martha Nussbaum's capabilites approach. The book will introduce less experienced readers to a broad scope of women scholars and impressive analyses and documentation. Summing Up: Recommended. (CHOICE)

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