Kathleen's Reviews > Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media

Where the Girls Are by Susan J. Douglas
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Jan 20, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: history, non-fiction, political, read-in-2011
Read in January, 2011

This analysis of mass media from the early fifties to the mid-nineties is fascinating because not only does Douglas explore how women were portrayed and addressed, she explains how these media affected and shaped women as an audience and as a movement. The contradictory, ever changing role of the woman in American society and the question of how much of a woman is shaped by external influence is well examined. Unfortunately, even an intelligent professor like Douglas can only offer analysis and addresses to send complaints, not curatives.

I like this analysis most of all because, recognizing that she could never separate her opinion from the material, Douglas has included a great deal of what is essentially autobiography. Her own anecdotes about singing along to girl group music as a teenager allowed me to understand more fully her analysis of The Shirelles as subtly subversive which is difficult for a person of my generation to really comprehend.

With a style that is witty, comprehensive, and credible, Douglas presents an analysis that is impossible to refute. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys thinking critically and dislikes being a passive consumer of culture.
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