Encyclopedia of Gender in Media


Edited by: Mary Kosut

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      List of Entries

      Reader's Guide

      About the Editor

      Mary Kosut is an associate professor of Media, Society, and the Arts at Purchase College, State University of New York, and the coordinator of the Media, Society, and the Arts program. While her Ph.D. is in sociology, she teaches courses in a variety of academic fields, including gender studies, environmental studies, art history, and media studies. Her courses fuse cultural and social theory and inventive methodologies, encouraging a critical and creative investigation of mediated life and contemporary media culture(s). Her interdisciplinary research examines the intersections between embodiment, everyday practices, artworlds, and popular culture. She has published work on tattoo art, body modification, and academic life in journals such as Deviant Behavior, Visual Sociology, The Journal of Popular Culture, and Cultural Studies-Critical Methodologies. Her book, The Body Reader: Essential Social and Cultural Readings edited with Lisa Jean Moore, investigates embodied practices, regimes, and representations. She is currently working on a manuscript on the recent trend of urban beekeeping that explores how bees traffic within cultural, economic, and political systems, and interspecies relationships between insects and humans. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

      List of Contributors

      Mary Alice Adams, Louisiana Tech University

      Karley Adney, Butler University

      Isra Ali, Rutgers University

      Neil M. Alperstein, Loyola University Maryland

      Patricia Amason, University of Arkansas

      Rina Arya, University of Wolverhampton

      Laura Barnes Ashley, University of Houston

      Lucinda Austin, University of Maryland

      Jay Baglia, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

      Lorin Basden Arnold, Rowan University

      Judy E. Battaglia, Loyola Marymount University

      Andrea M. Bergstrom, Franklin Pierce University

      Derek Bolen, Wayne State University

      Sarah E. Boslaugh, Kennesaw State University

      Melissa Camacho, San Francisco State University

      Jamie Capuzza, University of Mount Union

      Amy M. Corey, Gonzaga University

      Theresa Rose Crapanzano, University of Colorado, Boulder

      Carolyn Cunningham, Gonzaga University

      Jason Del Gandio, Temple University

      Spring-Serenity Duvall, University of South Carolina, Aiken

      Jennifer T. Edwards, Tarleton State University

      Nahed Eltantawy, High Point University

      Kathleen L. Endres, University of Akron

      Erika Engstrom, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

      Teri Fair, Suffolk University, Boston

      Jesse Fox, Ohio State University

      Julie Frechette, Worcester State University

      Margaretha Geertsema, Butler University

      Kim Golombisky, University of South Florida

      Gloria Gómez-Diago, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid

      Scott Gratson, Temple University

      Brittany N. Griebling, University of Pennsylvania

      Paul Grosswiler, University of Maine

      Miles Groth, Wagner College

      David Gudelunas, Fairfield University

      Donna L. Halper, Lesley University

      Megan Jean Harlow, European Graduate School, Switzerland

      David S. Heineman, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

      Jason A. Helfer, Knox College

      Stacey J. T. Hust, Washington State University, Pullman

      Stacey O. Irwin, Millersville University

      Robin Johnson, Sam Houston State University

      Katherine N. Kinnick, Kennesaw State University

      J. Meryl Krieger, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

      Celeste C. Lacroix, College of Charleston

      Jamie Landau, Keene State College

      Rebecca LaVally, California State University, Sacramento

      Brittney D. Lee, University of Arkansas

      Micky Lee, Suffolk University, Boston

      Ming Lei, Washington State University

      Brett Lunceford, University of South Alabama

      Susan Mackey-Kallis, Villanova University

      Shaka McGlotten, Purchase College, State University of New York

      Heather McIntosh, Boston College

      Michelle Millard, Wayne State University

      Shane Miller, St. John's University

      Beth M. Olson, University of Houston

      Natasha Patterson, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia

      Lisa Pecot-Hebert, DePaul University

      Kirsten Pike, University College Dublin

      Karen C. Pitcher, Eckerd College

      Gayle M. Pohl, University of Northern Iowa

      Monika Raesch, Suffolk University, Boston

      Bryce J. Renninger, Rutgers University

      MJ Robinson, Marymount Manhattan College

      Michelle Rodino-Colocino, The Pennsylvania State University

      Lori Amber Roessner, University of Tennessee

      Ryan Rogers, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

      Stephen T. Schroth, Knox College

      Read M. Schuchardt, Wheaton College

      Rae Lynn Schwartz-DuPre, Western Washington University

      Rachel E. Silverman, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

      Claire F. Sullivan, University of Maine

      Chit Cheung Matthew Sung, Lancaster University

      Shira Tarrant, California State University, Long Beach

      Yarma Velázquez Vargas, California State University, Northridge

      Wei-Chun Victoria Wang, Ohio University

      Lynne M. Webb, University of Arkansas

      Emily West, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

      Susan Westcott Alessandri, Suffolk University, Boston

      Robert Westerfelhaus, College of Charleston

      Jeffrey T. Wickman, Knox College

      Janice Hua Xu, Cabrini College


      The phrase the media is commonly employed both inside and outside the academy as a cultural and technological catchall. It is referenced to describe a range of media, both old and new. For example, I have heard college students use this generic term in relation to the content of Hollywood films and national newspapers, as well as social networking sites like Facebook. Often, when we think of the media, we consider the importance of the meanings of popular messages and images that are consumed by a mass audience. In this context, and at its most benign, mass media may be viewed as an outlet to provide us with information, or as a source of entertainment, pleasure, and escape. Conversely, “the media” has been criticized as politically liberal (or conservative), pornographic, superficial, and ultimately too influential in the daily lives of children and young adults. Intuitively, we know that all forms of media matter at the start of the 21st century, as they structure and saturate both the public sphere and the most personal aspects of our lives. As media scholar Douglas Kellner asserts, media culture provides the “materials out of which we forge our very identities, our sense of selfhood, our notion of what it means to be male and female, our sense of class, of ethnicity and race, of nationality, of sexuality, and of ‘us’ and ‘them.’” Clearly, the relationship between gender and media is a significant subject within academia and in the everyday lives of women and men.

      While this work examines mass media as a social institution and diverse media texts produced from within cultural industries, its focus is on gender in media. Over the last 30 years, technological changes have broadened our conception of, and relationship to, media in terms of both form and content. The advent of the Internet has ushered in a new relationship between media and user. As discussed in the articles on social networking sites, dating sites, and online video games, these platforms provide space for interaction, creativity, and what scholars have termed a “bleed” between real-world activities and those that occur within mediated environments. At this historical moment, more people not only use some kind of media everyday (from reading a magazine to searching for a word on Google) but also produce media in the form of texts, images, and videos. Given the ubiquity of cameras and video technology in cell phones and the interactivity made available via the Internet, there is a new generation of media users who are simultaneously media creators. People post updates of images on their Facebook walls and upload home videos onto YouTube. Others blog about their personal experiences, create online dating profiles, or debate whether or not we have entered an era of “postfeminism.” Thus, media is a multifaceted rubric that includes not only forms of media—from cable television and college radio to multi-user online video games—but also the production, consumption, and creation of media content.

      The Internet in particular has transformed how business is conducted in late-capitalism and has altered the way we obtain information. It has revolutionized communication, broadening the possibility of real-time interaction between people who live in different countries and time zones. In particular, e-mail and software programs such as Skype facilitate the potential for interconnectivity across cultural and geographical borders. Time and space have literally sped up, imploded, and virtually collapsed for those who have access to a computer with an Internet connection. Technological advances have radicalized the amount of information that may be available at the click of a key. While much of popular American mass media has been globally exported via print, film, video, records, and television for many decades, becoming familiar in numerous cultures, those living within developing countries have more opportunities not only to gather knowledge but also to create and transmit local media within a larger global media landscape.

      Today the spectrum of mediated experiences often challenges binary boundaries, blurring how we conceptualize public and private, real and virtual, and old and new media. It is possible to participate in virtual sexual encounters in the online social world of Second Life via a laptop computer in a coffee shop. We can also stream television shows and read the New York Times on an iPhone. With this in mind, this volume explores the complexity of media across diverse platforms, technologies, and cultural, economic, and political landscapes. The ubiquity of mass media and the emergence of new media technologies have had a significant influence on culture (defined here in the broadest sense of the word), as well as our intimate daily experiences. Understandably, the relationship between gender and the media has become an increasingly salient subject within the last few decades.

      As an agent of socialization, media has an enormous impact on how we make sense of the social world—from what occurs in the local community in which we live to our understanding of transnational politics. Media, whether in the form of text or technology, literally mediate our relation to social institutions that structure our lives, including educational, healthcare, and economic systems. For example, media content can provide knowledge of a financial crisis, and access to types of media determine how (or if) we may participate in the postindustrial global labor force. Yet, media content also shapes our self-identity and, in turn, our gender identity. In the articles that appear within this text, gender is delineated as a socially constructed system of classification that hinges on the binary categories of masculinity and femininity. As a result, certain behaviors, expectations, and subjectivities are attributed to that which is deemed masculine and that which is categorized as feminine. Within the context of patriarchy, characteristics and social roles associated with masculinity are more highly valued than those that are defined as feminine. Furthermore, it is important to stress that the social construction of gender is directly related to power, as men have more political, cultural, and economic power, broadly speaking, than women. For example, men disproportionately hold upper-level positions in media industries and are more often owners of major media outlets such as television broadcasting companies, advertising agencies, and social networking sites.

      The history of mass media, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera/screen/microphone, has been a history of exclusion. In terms of media presence and participation, women, as well as nonwhite people and other minorities, have played limited roles, particularly in network television, Hollywood film, newspapers, and radio. For example, as discussed in this volume, within the history of network television news, women rarely held behind-the-scenes positions as reporters and writers, and only a few women sat behind the news anchor desk prior to the 1970s. Notably, in the 1970s Barbara Walters coanchored with Harry Reasoner, and later in the 1990s, Connie Chung coanchored with Dan Rather. However, it was not until 2006 that the coveted nightly news anchor position was given to a woman, Katie Couric. Before Couric, women had never anchored the news solo (that is, without a male coanchor). Until fairly recently, print newsrooms had a similar history of excluding women as key reporters. Historically, women have been relegated to covering “soft” news stories that are presumably of interest to female audiences. Female reporters and editors traditionally worked on articles and content centering on fashion, health, beauty, celebrity, entertainment, and human interest. The coverage of “hard” news, information that is culturally and politically significant, has been the domain of men. Implied within this tradition of exclusion and topical gender stereotyping is the idea that issues of great importance and seriousness “naturally” fall under male purview and authority.

      Media representations contain veiled and explicit scripts pertaining to gender. These narratives edify audiences regarding social roles and personal characteristics that are accepted and valued for men and women, as well as those that are undesirable. For example, female characters are more likely to be shown in television and film as mothers and caregivers, as compared with male characters. Although it is a biological fact that women have children, this gendered televisual script reproduces the notion that women are innately better at child rearing. Although gender is based on the biological categories of male and female, gender differences are not a “natural” fact. Gender roles have been traditionally read as a given in popular culture, as illustrated in the popular maxim “boys will be boys and girls will be girls,” but masculinity and femininity exist on a continuum and have never been static categories. Gender bending, drag, and even the recent arrival of the metrosexual male (thanks in part to the television show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) are examples of how gender is performed, negotiated, and challenged.

      The gender binary is directly connected to hetero-normativity, as men or women who transgress gender boundaries may risk being identified as butch, fag, or queer (in the pejorative sense of these words). Recently, there have been more representations of transgender and homosexual people in the media, from transgender guests such as Susan Stryker and a very pregnant Thomas Beatie, who both appeared on Oprah, to television shows, such as Queer as Folk and The L Word, that feature mainly gay and lesbian characters. Although the inclusion of homosexual and transgender people in mainstream media has allowed for greater visibility within heteronormative popular culture, it is imperative to examine whether sexual and gender stereotypes are being reproduced or transgressed within media. Such representations, which increase the visibility of alternative gendered and sexual experiences, are never neutral and emanate from within a larger cultural framework that is predominantly heterocentric.

      In addition to examining the role of media in enabling, facilitating, or challenging the social construction of gender in our society, this work acknowledges media and feminist theorists who have made significant contributions in the social sciences, humanities, and visual studies, including cinema studies and new media. The study of both gender and media as distinct areas of academic inquiry is a relatively recent phenomenon that reflects larger social and historical changes. Media and communication studies emerged as distinctive areas of inquiry within American universities and colleges within the late 1960s and 1970s. Not surprisingly, the study of media has become a progressively popular field of specialization across a range of disciplines, including not only communication and media studies programs but also sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, and the visual arts. While the output of media scholarship is currently unparalleled, many contemporary scholars have drawn from early theoretical works. For example, Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan, who placed emphasis on the specificities of television as a medium in Understanding Media (1964), has influenced current media scholarship. Additionally, media theory has been shaped by the work of European sociologists and philosophers, notably French literary critic and semiotician Roland Barthes (1915–80), as well as German Frankfurt School theorists such as Theodor Adorno (1903–69), who considered the impact of the emergence of the “culture industries” in the 20th century.

      The 1960s and the 1970s were a particularly important time not only for the burgeoning field of media studies but also for the institutionalization of feminist theory and women's studies programs. The women's rights movement of the 1960s ushered in what is commonly referred to as the “second wave” of feminism, an umbrella term for a divergent range of theoretical perspectives, including liberal, radical, Marxist, and socialist feminism. Notably, second wave feminists examined the connection between images of women in popular media, particularly magazines and advertisements, and the perpetuation of sexism and misogyny. Liberal feminist Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) analyzed the content of women's magazines, critiquing how advertisements and articles normalized and exulted women's place within the home. Friedan argued that media content reinforced the idea that all women were to fulfill their “natural” social roles as dutiful wives and mothers. Similarly, radical feminist Andrea Dworkin asserted that there is a direct relationship between pornographic images of women and the lived experiences of the women who work within the porn industry. She argued that pornographic media should not be protected as “free speech,” as it is based on and contributes to the perpetuation of sexual assault and violence against women. While these feminist scholars problematize very different forms of mass media content, they both argue that there is a real link between the lives of men and women, and media representations. More contemporary, or third wave feminists, have continued to highlight and deconstruct media messages in popular culture. Notably, Bitch magazine, founded in 1996, is an independent quarterly devoted to providing a critical feminist response to mainstream media. A decade and a half later, Bitch continues to take a radical and oppositional approach, now offering a Website with video and interactive content.

      In addition to examining feminist theoretical paradigms and theorists, this volume highlights contemporary scholars who have contributed to and expanded our understandings of how the media play a role in perpetuating not only gender inequalities but also those based on race, class, and sexuality. Included are biographies of cultural studies scholars such as bell hooks, who has underscored the connection between sexism, racism, and identity through a variety of popular media, including advertisements, film, and rap music, and Stuart Hall, whose encoding/decoding model of communication illuminates how mass media perpetuates dominant ideologies that are often accepted by audiences. It is significant that there are numerous individuals who have broadened our understandings of the power of media as an economic and political force, such as journalist and media reform activist Bill Moyers and writer/theorist Douglas Rushkoff, who has written extensively on digital media and cyberculture; both are included in this volume.

      Feminist scholars have critically analyzed the negative impact of hegemonic representations of masculinity and femininity, both past and present. Susan Bordo's Unbearable Weight (1993) and media literacy documentaries produced by the Media Education Foundation, such as Jean Kilbourne's Killing Us Softly series, Sut Jhally's Dreamworlds films, and Jackson Katz's Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity (1999), describe how gender binaries are reproduced in media texts, negatively affecting the bodies and subjectivities of men and women. For example, an idealized female body, one that is unattainably thin, beautiful, and typically white, has become a normative standard by which women judge themselves and in turn are judged by others. Low self-esteem, poor body image, and eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have been attributed to media representations that reify an unreachable standard of what constitutes an attractive, and by extension a feminine, body. Likewise, masculinity, as embodied in media texts is often drawn in binary opposition to that which is deemed feminine. Men often appear taller, more muscular, and powerful—physically, economically, and culturally—as compared to women. While women are portrayed as thin, weak, and sexually objectified, men take on the role of emotionally vacant, oversexed macho aggressor.

      As noted above, our relationship with the media is complex, and scholars have debated the extent to which the media influences the ideological construction of gender and hegemonic understandings of masculinity and femininity. Media consumption studies have focused on how audiences interpret texts, attempting to assess the degree to which individuals critically and reflexively engage with media. Reception theories have purported that all people are not simply passive consumers when it comes to encountering media content. For example, as discussed within, Janice Radway's 1984 study of women's interpretation of romance novels—which typically perpetuate traditional gender roles vis-à-vis plotlines based on old-fashioned ideas of romance, marriage, and sexuality—showed how readers of such novels reinterpreted the narratives, viewing female characters as empowered and independent. Studies in this vein reject a naïve “injection” model approach to media—that is, one that views media consumption as simply unidirectional. Notwithstanding, even if individuals reflexively revise and reinterpret media narratives, these alternative readings do not challenge dominant social structures and institutions that reproduce gender-biased, heterosexist, and racist media content.

      Given the fact that we live in an era that is more image-saturated and technologically mediated than at any other time, media scholars and activists have championed media literacy. As discussed in this volume, media literacy calls for reflexive engagement with media, including the ability to read, understand, evaluate, differentiate, and deconstruct media materials. Media literacy recognizes that media are forms of cultural pedagogy. In this vein, Kalle Lasn, author of Culture Jam (1999) and founder of Adbusters magazine, has advocated “culture jamming” as a means to critique and subvert media narratives and wage “meme warfare.” Culture jamming, as discussed in this book, refers to social critique centered on the relationship between the rise of consumer society and what is commonly referred to as the mass-media spectacle. Culture jammers posit that the media-consumption nexus is slowly corroding the human psyche (we are free to resist, but it never occurs to us to do so) and that the mediated public sphere is not public, as it is not free and, by extension, not democratic. Rather, it is controlled by corporations, owned by a small cadre of individuals who profit from the production of media content that reiterates narratives that are predictably stereotypical and ultimately easily consumable given their simplicity. Culture jamming takes many forms, from tweaking advertisements, to subtly revealing a subtext, to staging anticonsumer demonstrations in Disney stores.

      In addition to detailing the politics of media production and consumption, this volume addresses alternative media made by individuals, feminists, and media activists who have not only critiqued media but also created content that is subversive and oppositional. For example, the Riot Grrrls music and zine movement that was born out of a merger between punk and political activism in the early 1990s is an example of the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to cultural creation. In addition to forming all-girl bands, such as the influential Bikini Kill, the Riot Grrrls spawned a generation of young women who took a personal and proactive approach to independent media production (before the ubiquity and accessibility of the Internet). Since then, zines—handmade, low-budget, self-distributed Xeroxed magazines—have continued to be an accessible alternative to mass-media messages and imagery. In an era of media convergence, both traditional zines and e-zines share a common culture online and off, circulating amid more dominant and hegemonic media forms and representations. As new media technologies continue to influence and structure our everyday lives, it is crucial to be reflexive consumers, users, and creators of media content.

      Thanks to the women's liberation movement of the 1960s, in the past half century women and other minority populations have become a more integral part of the labor force and a more visible and vocal presence in public life. Women's participation, not only in media but also within the spheres of politics and education, has invariably influenced how we think about traditional gender roles and has led to shifting understandings of masculinity and femininity. As media owners, makers, and producers continue to become more diverse, including not only women but other ethnic and cultural minorities as well, underrepresented perspectives and experiences will both challenge dominant media representations and empower a new generation to participate actively in the increasingly heterogeneous media landscape.




      The first women's magazine, The Lady's Magazine, begins publication in England. It creates the model for other popular women's magazines of the period by targeting upper-class women with a combination of fiction and articles focused on concerns such as fashion and etiquette.


      Godey's Lady's Book becomes the first fashion magazine published in the United States. It features sewing instructions as well as hand-colored plates exhibiting the latest fashions and, along with imitators such as Peterson's Magazine, is influential in creating the “cult of true womanhood,” which advocates that women should concentrate their energies on the domestic sphere and be submissive, pious, and pure.


      The Delineator, a women's fashion magazine that features tissue-paper dressmaking patterns, begins publication. It will eventually reach a circulation of more than 2 million before going out of business in 1937.


      Harper's Bazar, a magazine devoted to women's interests, including fashion and household matters, begins publication. It is still in publication today (now titled Harper's Bazaar with two a's), making it the oldest continuously published fashion magazine in the United States.


      Vogue is founded by Arthur Baldwin Turnure; in 1909 the magazine is purchased by Condé Nast, and it remains a leading fashion magazine today.


      Alice Guy-Blaché directs La Fée aux Choux, one of the first narrative films ever created. She will create more than 700 films in the course of her career in France and the United States.


      Sybil Herrold begins hosting a weekly radio program in San Jose, California; she is generally assumed to be the first woman radio announcer in the United States.


      The radio station WUMS, operated by David Thomas, begins broadcasting in Ohio. Thomas never obtains a license from the Federal Radio Commission, required after passage of the Communications Act of 1934, but manages to keep broadcasting until 1948.


      The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) becomes the first national radio network in the United States, with the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) following a year later.


      The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson, becomes the first feature film to include synchronized sound dialogue and ushers in the era of the “talkies” and the decline of the silent film industry.


      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is created in the United States to regulate domestic nonfederal use of the radio spectrum, including radio and television broadcasting.

      Eleanor Roosevelt begins a weekly news commentary program on the radio, making her the first First Lady to have her own radio show.


      The Olympic Games in Berlin are broadcast to television parlors in several German cities, representing the first practical use of television.

      Dorothy Arzner, who had been directing films in Hollywood for 10 years (including Clara Bow's first talkie, The Wild Party), becomes the first woman to join the Directors Guild of America.

      Joe Weider begins publication of an early bodybuilding magazine, Your Physique, which in 1966 will be renamed Muscle Builder and in 1980 Muscle and Fitness.


      Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster create the first Superman story, published by DC Comics, and usher in the era of the costumed superhero.


      Talent search programs on American television and radio, such as Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts and Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour, involve audience members in the programs by allowing them to vote on contestants.


      The Amazon warrior princess Wonder Woman first appears in a DC Comics issue, and one year later she first appears on the cover of a comic. Wonder Woman is remarkable both for her superhero attributes (which include martial arts expertise and possession of magic bracelets that can deflect bullets) and for her well-developed figure and revealing costume.


      Regular television broadcasting to the general public begins in the United States.


      The American mathematicians Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver publish The Mathematical Theory of Communication, which refines theories of how messages are communicated and received, adding concepts such as the possibility of corruption in delivery and the ability of the receiver to affect the producer of the message.


      Playboy magazine, founded by Hugh Hefner, begins publication. Playboy becomes noted not only for its nude centerfolds (Marilyn Monroe was an early model) but also for publication of contemporary fiction and interviews with cultural leaders.


      The nonprofit organization American Women in Radio and Television is founded with 282 members; today it has more than 2,300, employed mostly at television and radio stations.


      Mattel introduces the Barbie Doll, an adult-bodied doll designed by Ruth Handler after a German doll called Bild Lilli. Barbie's fictional boyfriend, Ken, is introduced in 1961.


      Television begins broadcasting in color, and by the end of the decade color broadcasting has become the norm.


      Hasbro introduces G.I. Joe, an action figure based on members of the U.S. armed forces.

      Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique criticizes role expectations for American women (including that they should forgo their own careers in favor of homemaking) and challenges contemporary images of the “ideal woman.” Although criticized as addressing primarily the interests of middle-class white women, it becomes a galvanizing force in the feminist movement.


      In the United States, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race or gender.

      Sports Illustrated publishes its first swimsuit issue; it becomes phenomenally successful and evolves into an annual publication, relying on a formula featuring primarily supermodels posing in exotic locations but occasionally female athletes (including Steffi Graf, Anna Kournikova, Serena Williams, and Danica Patrick).

      Marshall McLuhan publishes Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, which advocates studying the media themselves because they affect society over and above any content they may carry; this gives rise to the popular formulation “the media is the message.”


      The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is created in the United States to investigate complaints of discrimination based on characteristics such as race and gender.


      Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm, and colleagues found the National Organization for Women (NOW), currently the largest women's liberation organization in the United States.

      That Girl, a television program starring Marlo Thomas, becomes the first American situation comedy to focus on an unmarried woman living alone.

      Lawyer and civil rights activist Florynce Kennedy founds the Media Workshop to counter racist representations of minorities in the media.


      The Kerner Commission, created by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the underlying causes of racial unrest in the United States, identifies in its report a lack of diversity among the staff of newspapers and television stations, leading to a lack of coverage of issues important to racial minorities.


      Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman publish “After Black Power, Women's Liberation,” which points out the inequalities within the civil rights movement and the New Left while taking on the issue that U.S. feminism was widely understood to be the concern of white women.

      The Brady Bunch, an American television program created by Sherwood Schwartz, begins broadcasting. The show presents a “blended family” in which the parents both have children from previous marriages; the father (played by Robert Reed) is described as a widower; the reason that the mother (Florence Henderson) was not married is left open.


      Electronic versions of popular role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons are developed by users, often on mainframe university computers.

      The videocassette recorder (VCR) presents a relatively cheap and easy way for people to watch movies at home at their convenience and also to record television programming for use on their own schedules.

      The Mary Tyler Moore Show, created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, becomes the first American situation comedy to focus on a career woman who is not seeking a husband.


      The groundbreaking American sitcom All in the Family, produced by Norman Lear, begins broadcasting. Over its run (to 1979 in its original form, and from 1979 to 1983 as Archie Bunker's Place), this show addressed many controversial issues, including women's liberation, homosexuality, racism, menopause, and impotence, and was also one of the most popular shows of its era.

      Ken Robinson directs Some of Our Best Friends, an early documentary featuring gay activists and other members of the community (some of whom appear in shadow).


      John Berger and four colleagues create Ways of Seeing, a British television series as well as the title of a book published to accompany it, which argues that power relationships based on gender and class are evident in both modern advertising and historical western European art. One famous example is Berger's observation that in European art “men act, and women appear” and that women in art were represented for the pleasure of men, an early formulation of the theory of the male gaze.

      Maude, a situation comedy spun off from All in the Family, features Bea Arthur as a liberal, feminist woman who is the opposite of Archie Bunker in every way (in All in the Family Maude was the cousin of Archie's wife, Edith). The program incorporated serious themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, and abortion.

      Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 stipulates that girls and women in the United States must have equal opportunity to participate in educational programs. This is interpreted to include school sports teams, leading to a great expansion of organized sports for women at the high school and college levels.

      Gloria Steinem cofounds Ms. magazine, the first major U.S. magazine to focus on women's issues from a feminist point of view.

      The television drama That Certain Summer, which focuses on a teenage boy who learns that his father is gay, becomes the first television movie to deal with gay issues.


      Stuart Hall publishes Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse, which states his theory that media producers encode messages in media content, which is then decoded by audience members.

      The Miller test (as developed by the U.S. Supreme Court while considering the case Miller v. California) becomes the standard for defining pornography: Pornography must appeal to the prurient interest (as defined by community standards), describe sexual conduct in a patently offensive manner, and lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.


      Molly Haskell publishes From Reverence to Rape, an early work of feminist film theory and one of the first books to focus on images of women as presented in the movies.


      Laura Mulvey publishes her groundbreaking essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” in Screen. This essay explicates her theory of the “male gaze,” basically that the conventional Hollywood movie is created to appeal to a male viewer and that story lines, shot selections, and other technical elements are governed by this male point of view.

      Susan Brownmiller publishes Against Our Will, which attempts to redefine rape as a crime of violence (usually against women) rather than sex.


      Barbara Walters becomes coanchor (with Harry Reasoner) of the ABC Evening News.


      Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives is released by the Mariposa Film Group; this documentary features 26 gay men and lesbians willing to be interviewed on camera about their lives.

      The American television comedy Soap features the bisexual character Jodie Dallas, played by Billy Crystal.


      In the United States, the FCC issues its Statement of Policy on Minority Ownership of Broadcasting Facilities, which attempts to remedy the underrepresentation of women and minorities as owners of broadcast licenses.

      The Sundance Film Festival, originally titled the Utah/U.S. Film Festival, is held for the first time; it will go on to become a major showcase for independent American films.


      Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis create Usenet, a worldwide Internet discussion system that allows users to read and post messages to newsgroups.


      The first participatory reality television programs are broadcast in the United States. The genre receives a strong boost in 1988 during a strike by the Writers Guild of America.

      Cable television becomes popular in the United States, providing subscribers with access to more specialized programming than is available on the broadcast channels.


      The American Psychiatric Association recognizes transsexuality as an official disorder.


      The African American feminist bell hooks publishes Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, which examines the portrayal of black women in the media, as well as a number of other issues relating to racism and sexism.

      The maze video game Ms. Pac-Man, featuring a female protagonist, is released in North America and becomes one of the most popular video games of all time.

      The prime-time soap opera Dynasty begins broadcasting. The show will stay on the air until 1989 and feature American television's first recurring gay character, Steven Carrington (played by Al Corley and Jack Coleman).


      Oprah Winfrey begins hosting the television program AM Chicago, which rapidly becomes the most popular talk show in Chicago. In 1986, the program begins national broadcast as The Oprah Winfrey Show, which soon becomes the most popular daytime talk show in the United States.


      The Times of Harvey Milk, a film about the gay politician directed by Robert Epstein and produced by Richard Schmiechen, wins the Academy Award for Best Documentary.


      The WELL (Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link), one of the oldest virtual communities in the world, is founded as a dial-up bulletin board system by Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant.

      The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) drama An Early Frost, starring Aidan Quinn and D. W. Moffett, becomes the first television movie to deal with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

      Janice Radway publishes a book-length study of the audience for romance novels, which argues for reader response criticism (looking at how audiences receive and interpret a work) rather than the close readings (focused on the text itself), typical of New Criticism, to understand the impact of romance novels on their female readership.


      Murphy Brown, an American situation comedy starring Candice Bergen as a journalist and news anchor, begins broadcasting. In the show's 1991–1992 season, one story arc concerns Murphy becoming pregnant and choosing to raise the child as a single mother, a choice that becomes famous when Vice President Dan Quayle refers to it in a speech as emblematic of the decay of family values in America.


      Kimberlé Crenshaw coins the term “intersectionality” to emphasize how race, class, and other attributes together influence the unique experience of minority women.


      Internet chat rooms such as those in the America Online (AOL) network become popular sites for social interaction, a practice celebrated in the popular 1998 feature film You've Got Mail. The potential in such chat rooms for people to assume an identity different from their own (changing gender, age, and other traits) led to the caption “on the Internet, no one knows you're a dog,” featured in a New Yorker cartoon.

      Many girl-oriented video games come on the market, including Hawaii High: The Mystery of the Tikki, Barbie Fashion Designer, and Tomb Raider, the latter featuring archaeologist Lara Croft.

      Satellite broadcast companies such as the Dish Network offer television viewers an alternative to terrestrial broadcast and cable programming.


      A touring exhibition of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, is shown at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center. Because some of the photos are sexually explicit (although they have been exhibited elsewhere without fuss), the center and its director, Dennis Barrie, are both charged with promoting obscenity, although they are ultimately cleared of the charges. The episode is chronicled in the 2000 television movie Dirty Pictures, directed by Frank Pierson.


      With Daughters of the Dust, Julie Dash becomes the first African American woman to direct a feature film shown in general theatrical release.


      The U.S. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) produces a miniseries based on Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, which is popular but controversial because of its inclusion of homosexual characters, drug use, and explicit sexual situations. The conservative backlash against the program leads PBS to decline to produce the sequel, More Tales of the City, which is produced instead by the cable network Showtime.


      The television program Xena: Warrior Princess, a spin-off of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, offers a new role model to women in the form of the leather-clad warlord, Xena (Lucy Lawless), and her best friend, Gabrielle (Renée O'Connor).


      The magazine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture begins publication; its particular focus is to respond to antifeminist messages in mainstream media for young adults and to provide alternatives for young women.

      In the United States, the Telecommunications Act deregulates much of the media market, dropping rules against local monopolies (such as those that had prohibited a company from owning both a newspaper and a radio or television station in the same city) and allowing for consolidation of media ownership.

      Tim Draper and Steve Jurvetson use the term “viral marketing” to describe their practice of attaching advertising (for Hotmail) to every e-mail sent through the Hotmail system.


      Popular actress and comic Ellen DeGeneres comes out (publicly declares her sexual preference as homosexual) on The Oprah Winfrey Show.


      Sex and the City, a television series loosely based on the book of the same name by Candace Bushnell, begins airing on HBO. The show focuses on four professional women in New York City (played by Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon) and includes frank discussion of issues such as female sexual fantasies and desires, promiscuity, and sexually transmitted diseases.

      Will and Grace, a broadcast television situation comedy featuring two gay male characters (Will, played by Eric McCormack, and Jack, played by Sean Hayes), begins airing. The program is highly rated and wins numerous awards but is also criticized for reinforcing stereotypes through the superficial, flamboyant character of Jack.


      American soccer player Brandi Chastain makes media history when, after scoring on a penalty kick that won the championship game for the United States, she peels off her jersey and falls to her knees in celebration. The photo of Chastain in her sports bra is widely featured in the mainstream media, including on the cover of Sports Illustrated.


      Queer as Folk, an American gay soap based on a British series of the same name, premieres on the premium cable network Showtime. The program follows the stories of a group of gay men and is far more explicit than previous television programs, including numerous scenes of same-sex lovemaking and dramatic elements such as drug use and cross-generational romantic relationships.

      Robert McChesney publishes Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times, which argues that consolidated corporate media ownership in the United States compromises journalistic integrity, creates conflicts between the public interest and the corporation's desire for profit, and reduces consumer choice, because the most profitable genres and formulas tend to be repeated and others ignored.


      Julie Powell blogs about her project of cooking all the recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This project becomes one of the first blogs to be adapted to book form (in 2005) and made into a film (2009), both titled Julie and Julia.

      One of the first reality makeover television programs, Extreme Makeover, begins broadcasting on ABC. This program features extensive makeovers (sometimes including plastic surgery) of individuals (mostly female) who were presented as being transformed from ugly to beautiful.


      Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis create Skype, a software program that allows users to make voice calls and other forms of communication, including instant messaging and video conferencing, using the Internet.

      The social networking site Myspace is founded to compete with sites such as Friendster, Xanga, and AsianAvenue; it becomes the leading social networking site by 2005 but in 2008 is overtaken by Facebook.

      Second Life, a virtual world that uses three-dimensional modeling to allow users to create avatars that can interact with other avatars, engaging in many of the same activities common to the real world, including sexual relations.

      The cable channel Bravo begins airing Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a reality television show in which five gay men perform a makeover on a straight man, giving him advice about grooming, clothing, cooking, home decorating, and relationships. It became a popular hit and won an Emmy in 2004 and in later seasons included women and gay men as makeover subjects.


      The groundbreaking program The L Word, a Showtime series based on the lives of a number of lesbians, begins airing.

      Mark Zuckerberg and several collaborators found Facebook, a social networking service originally limited to Harvard students but later expanded to other universities, then to high school students, and finally anyone age 13 or older.


      Logo, an American cable channel that focuses on gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual programming (including reality shows, original dramas, and travel programming and films) begins service.

      The video-sharing Website YouTube, which allows individuals to upload their videos and watch the videos uploaded by others, begins operation.

      The Huffington Post, a news-aggregation and opinion Website, is created by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti. It becomes extremely popular and influential, winning numerous awards, including a Webby Award for Best Politics Blog in 2006 and 2007, but is also criticized for its policy of relying on content created at other sites and for not paying many of those who create its unique content.


      The social networking and microblogging site Twitter is launched by the San Francisco–based company Twitter, Inc.

      Internet pornography in the United States is reported to be a $2.8 billion business.


      Glee, a television drama about high school students participating in a glee club (show choir), begins broadcasting. The series, created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan, is notable for featuring the out gay character Kurt Hummel, played by Chris Colfer, another character (Rachel Berry, played by Lea Michele) with “two gay dads,” and guest appearances by gay icons including Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel.

      RuPaul's Drag Race, a reality television program featuring the drag queen RuPaul, begins airing on Logo.


      Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to receive the Academy Award for Best Director, for her film The Hurt Locker.

      Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, commits suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge. Clementi, who was gay, was videotaped by his college roommate, Dharun Ravi, during a sexual encounter. Although Ravi was not charged with Clementi's death, he was convicted in 2012 on a number of charges, including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, and evidence tampering.

      Dan Savage and Terry Miller found the “It Gets Better” project in response to teen suicides. Many celebrities (and non-celebrities) post videos speaking about the bullying and harassment they experienced in their childhoods and teenage years and the better lives they are currently enjoying as adults.


      Journalist Peggy Orenstein publishes Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie Girl Culture, detailing the cultural pressures on preteen girls to adopt sexualized clothing and appearances.

      ESPN airs Reneé, a film about the transsexual tennis player Reneé Richards.


      In January, gay civil union laws go into effect in Delaware and Hawaii.

      In March, Maryland becomes the eighth U.S. state to allow same-sex couples to marry.

      Sarah E.BoslaughKennesaw State University
    • Glossary

      The Beauty Myth: A 1991 book by Naomi Wolf, which charges than an ideal of female beauty has been used to oppress women and maintain the patriarchal system.

      Body image: An individual's perception of his or her physical appearance. Some theorists believe that promotion of idealized body types in the media has led to widespread dissatisfaction with bodies that are in fact normal, leading in turn to unhealthy practices such as extreme dieting, bulimia, or excessive plastic surgery.

      Bridezilla: A pejorative term (combining “bride” and “Godzilla”) coined in the 1990s to denote a demanding and difficult bride; it was adopted in 2001 for the television reality program Bridezillas, which followed a number of women from engagement to wedding, reinforcing gender stereotypes about women as more concerned than men with their weddings and also emphasizing the self-centeredness of the female characters.

      Culture jamming: Resistance to cultural practices and media messages through activities such as ad parodies (e.g., of “Joe Camel” as “Joe Chemo”), defacement of billboards (e.g., adding an antismoking message to a cigarette advertisement), and pranks (e.g., switching the voice boxes of Barbie and G.I. Joe dolls and then returning them to store shelves).

      Cyberculture: The technologies, attitudes, values, and modes of thought developed by people who take part in cyberspace. Practices associated with cyberculture include social networking, cloud computing, mass collaboration, social bookmarking, and distributed creation.

      Cyberspace: A term coined by science fiction writer William Gibson in his 1984 novel Neuromancer and currently used to describe the nonphysical world created by computer systems and their users.

      Desensitization: An effect of continual exposure to something that results in diminished emotional, cognitive, biological, or behavioral response to it. With regard to the media, the term is most often used to refer to the effects of repeated exposure to violence on television or other media, such as video games or films, which may make audiences more accepting of violence in real life.

      Encoding/decoding model: A theory of audience reception developed by Stuart Hall that states that media producers encode messages in the mass media, which are then decoded by the audience. This model envisions the audience as active rather than passive and describes four ways in which a message may be decoded: professional, dominant, negotiated, and oppositional.

      Ethnography: A method of research and cultural practice based on long periods of participant observation in order to explore aspects of human social processes.

      Facebook: A social networking service created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Chris Hughes, and Dustin Moskovitz, which as of 2010 claimed to have more than 500 million active users.

      Fairness doctrine: A policy introduced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1949 that required fair and equitable presentation of controversial issues to license holders (e.g., radio and television stations). The fairness doctrine was upheld in a 1969 U.S. Supreme Court decision, but in 1987 a court decided that the FCC did not have to continue enforcing the doctrine.

      Federal Communications Commission (FCC): An agency of the U.S. government established in 1934 to regulate nongovernmental use of the radio spectrum, including radio and television broadcasting and interstate telecommunications.

      First-person shooter: A video game such as Call of Duty or Halo in which the player experiences simulated combat through the point of view of the game's protagonist (i.e., in the first person).

      Frankfurt School: A group of European scholars originally affiliated with the School of Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany, who were concerned with the philosophical and political analysis of culture. Prominent members of the Frankfurt School (many of whom immigrated to the United States around the time of World War II) include Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse.

      Gender inequality: Social inequality due to gender.

      Gender-specific advertising: Advertising that uses persuasive messages created specifically to address men or women.

      Gold farming: A practice in some massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) of playing a game for the purpose of acquiring virtual currency, which is then sold to other players. Most typically, a gold farmer lives in a low-wage country such as China, whereas those who purchase the currency live in higher-wage countries such as the United States; users purchase currency to advance quickly in the game without investing large amounts of time playing it.

      Hacking: Unauthorized entry into a computer or computer system or use of a computer for unauthorized purposes; if performed as part of a political or social protest, this activity may be termed hacktivism. Examples of hacking include Website defacement, denial-of-service attacks, and e-mail bombing.

      Hashtag: A set of tweets (messages sent on Twitter) on a particular topic, identified by the # sign before the topic word.

      Hegemony: A term, popularized by the Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci, referring to the process whereby the beliefs, practices, and values of a particular class become dominant in a society to the point where alternative beliefs are excluded.

      Hypermedia: Media in which information (including words and images) is connected in a web, allowing for construction of a nonlinear narrative.

      Injection model of audience reception: A theory of audience reception popular in the early 20th century. Also known as the “magic bullet” or “hypodermic needle” model, it hypothesizes that a mass communication medium such as radio or television simply inserts its messages into the consciousness of the audience and that all audience members respond in the same way to a given message.

      Intersectionality: A feminist theory that deemphasizes the common experience of women and emphasizes instead the different experiences of, for instance, poor versus middle-class or white versus black women; this theory argued that black women's identity was holistic and not separable into aspects informed by race and other aspects informed by gender.

      Male gaze: A concept explicated by Laura Mulvey in her 1975 essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” that states that conventional Hollywood movies are created as if all audience members were male, with story lines and shot selections designed to appeal to a male point of view.

      Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG): A type of computer game developed in the 1990s characterized by virtual narrative environments and in which users create avatars and interact with other users through them. MMORPGs developed from real-world role-playing games, and there is some debate about what constitutes a MMORPG: Some would include virtual communities such as Second Life (which does not involve gaming), whereas others would restrict the definition to games such as Ultima Online and World of Warcraft.

      Media convergence: A term describing changes brought about by digital technologies, including the merging of different types of media (e.g., video, audio, and text) onto a single platform and the merging of media industries (e.g. Time Warner and America Online in 2000) as well. Convergence has increased the ability of users to create and use media but has also led to consolidation of ownership and greater horizontal and vertical integration in the media industry.

      Media Education Foundation (MEF): An organization based in Massachusetts that produces and distributes educational resources, including documentary films, which encourage critical reflection on the American mass media and its social, political, and cultural impact. Topics covered by MEF materials include gender, sexual orientation, consumerism, violence, media ownership, and media consolidation.

      Metrosexual: A term coined around 2000 to refer to heterosexual men who adopt cultural practices formerly identified more with gay men, such as close attention to grooming and fashion.

      Misogyny: Hatred of, dislike of, or prejudice against women.

      Multi-User dimensions (MUDs): Shared virtual worlds used in online gaming and similar contexts, in which users can interact in real time through the use of avatars. Examples of MUDs include Second Life, The Sims, and World of Warcraft.

      Myspace: A social networking site, created in 2003, that became the most popular networking site in the United States in 2006 but was overtaken in 2008 by the rival site Facebook.

      Pathologizing: A technique used in advertising in which normal human conditions, particularly those associated with aging (such as graying hair or loss of skin tone), are presented as problems that need correction or that can be overcome through purchasing the product being advertised.

      Polysemic text: A text having multiple meanings.

      Pornification: A term coined in the 1990s by scholars to describe what they saw as the aesthetics of pornography entering the general culture; an associated term is porn creep.

      Reception theory: A method of analysis that focuses on the relationship between media and the person or audience receiving it and emphasizes that texts or other media are interpreted by people (rather than being passively received by them). British theorist Stuart Hall describes three interpretation codes audiences may apply to a text: dominant (the preferred reading, reflecting mainstream ideology), negotiated (in which the preferred reading is inflected to take into account the audience's own experience), and oppositional (which is when the audience's reading is in direct conflict with the preferred reading).

      Semiotics: The study of signs, a field of philosophical inquiry begun in the 19th century by Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Saunders Peirce. Semiotics was applied to the field of gender studies by, among others, Gillian Dyer and Judith Williamson, who focused on advertising and how it constructs social difference.

      Sexism: A term in existence since the 1930s but that came into common use in the 1960s to refer to discrimination against men or women based on their biological sex.

      Short message service (SMS): A communication service that allows short text messages to be sent between fixed or mobile phones.

      Sitcom: Situation comedy, a type of television program with ongoing characters and a story line, usually set in a situation such as a workplace, family, or group of friends.

      Soap opera: A fictional serial program on television or radio. The name derives from the fact that some of the early programs were sponsored by soap companies and, as the programs were broadcast during the daytime, the programming was intended to appeal to women, particularly housewives.

      Social comparison theory: A theory, first developed by Leon Festinger in the 1950s, that argues that people tend to make comparisons between themselves and others and also against idealized images, such as are often presented in advertising.

      Social inequality: Inequalities generated by social institutions and leading to unequal control of valued resources.

      Social role theory: A theory put forward by Alice Eagly that posits that society assigns or teaches roles depending on gender and that by playing those roles people acquire or renounce certain attributes. For instance, females are more often placed in nurturing roles and thus develop caregiving and nurturing qualities (which are also associated in the public mind with femininity), whereas boys are placed in competitive roles and thus develop qualities such as independence and aggression, both traits identified in the public mind as masculine.

      Stereotype: A generalization about people or groups of people, often based on characteristics such as gender or race. Stereotypes are pervasive in popular media (arrogant Americans, lazy African Americans, vain women, obsessed and violent Arabs), and thus the media can reinforce and perpetuate incorrect or biased beliefs.

      Televisuality: A term coined in the mid-1990s by John Caldwell to denote a new visual style in television programming that calls attention to itself and contrasts with the previous ideal of the “invisible” style.

      Textual analysis: An approach to cultural artifacts, including media texts, that emphasizes the fluid and multiple interpretations possible and the possibility that multiple meanings are encoded in any text.

      Traditional media: Types of mass communication such as television, radio, and newspapers in which professionals (e.g., writers and producers) create and implement programming, while the participation of audience members is restricted to consuming the finished product.

      Trope: Rhetorical devices or units of metaphor that reflect cultural norms and are used to facilitate communication. Common gendered tropes in folklore include the hero (for men) and the damsel in distress, evil stepmother, and fairy godmother (for women).

      Tween: A young person between the ages of 8 and 14, an age group that has been identified as a demographic with specific tastes and sufficient disposable income to make them a useful target for marketing.

      Twitter: A social networking and microblogging site, created in 2006 by the San Francisco–based company Twitter, Inc., which allows users to communicate through “tweets” or text-based messages of up to 140 characters.

      Usenet: An Internet discussion system created in 1979 by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis that allows users to post messages, organized around topics, to newsgroups.

      Virtual community: A community created through the interactions of individuals or groups of people who may be distant from one another geographically. Among the early Internet-based virtual communities were those formed by people through Usenet newsgroups (beginning in 1979) and the Internet forum The WELL (founded in 1985).

      Virtuality: A socially constructed world that does not exist in reality (as does the physical world) but is created through the interaction of users. Virtual worlds are key to role-playing games (RPGs), in which users create avatars that interact with one another in the context of the game.

      Web 2.0: Web applications that allow users to create and share information: examples include wikis, video-sharing sites such as YouTube, and social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace.

      Wiki: An Internet composition system and particular Websites or other repositories of information created in using such a system. The defining characteristic of wikis is their collaborative nature: The wiki is created by its users, and generally anyone with access can contribute, view, and edit the information. Major wikis devoted to gender issues include Wikigender.

      Sarah E.BoslaughKennesaw State University

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      Vorderer, Peter and Jennings Bryant, eds. Playing Video Games: Motives, Responses, and Consequences. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006.

      Walkderdine, Valerie. Children, Gender, Video Games: Toward a Relational Approach to Multimedia. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

      Warner, Michael. Publics and Counterpublics. New York: Zone Books, 2002.

      Wasko, Janet. Understanding Disney: The Manufacture of Fantasy. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001.

      Weaver, David H. and G. Cleveland Wilhoit. The American Journalist in the 1990s: U.S. News People at the End of an Era. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996.

      Williamson, Judith. Decoding Advertisements. London: Marion Boyars, 1978.

      Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women. New York: William Morrow, 1991.

      Wright, Bradford W. Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.


      American Journalism Review

      American Psychologist

      Archives of Sexual Behavior

      Columbia Journalism Review

      Computers in Human Behavior

      Critical Studies in Media Communication

      CyberPsychology & Behavior

      Developmental Review

      Educational Media International

      Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources

      Feminist Media Studies

      Human Communication Research

      Information, Communication and Society

      International Journal of Business Science and Applied Management

      International Journal of Eating Disorders

      International Journal of Electronic Commerce

      International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology

      Journal of Advertising Research

      Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

      Journal of Bisexuality

      Journal of Black Psychology

      Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media

      Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

      Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

      Journal of Counseling Psychology

      Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

      Journal of Information Science

      Journal of Interactive Advertising

      Journal of Media Practice

      The Journal of Philosophy

      Journal of Popular Film and Television

      The Journal of Research into New Media Technologies

      Journal of Website Promotion

      Journal of Women in Culture & Society

      Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly

      New Media & Society

      Newspaper Research Journal

      Sex Roles


      Social Identities

      Stanford Social Innovation Review

      Television Quarterly

      Urban Affairs Quarterly

      Web Journal of Mass Communication Research

      Women and Language

      Women's Studies in Communication


      American Society of News Editors: http://asne.org

      Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania: http://www.asc.upenn.edu

      Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California: http://annenberg.usc.edu

      Archive of American Television: http://www.emmytvlegends.org

      Bitch Magazine: http://www.bitchmagazine.org

      Bust Magazine: http://www.bust.org

      Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film: http://womenintvfilm.sdsu.edu

      danah boyd Blog—Apophenia: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts

      danah boyd Website: http://www.danah.org

      Federal Communications Commission: http://www.fcc.gov

      Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation: http://www.glaad.org

      Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media: http://www.thegeenadavisinstitute.org

      Gender, Media and Politics: http://www.gendermediaandpolitics.org

      Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication: http://www.grady.uga.edu

      HealthyPlace: http://www.healthyplace.com

      International Network for Gender Media Watchdogs: http://www.mediawatchdogs.gendersquare.org

      Jean Kilbourne Website: http://www.jeankilbourne.com

      Mark Crispin Miller Website: http://markcrispinmiller.com

      Media and Gender Justice: http://mediaactioncenter.org/gender

      Media Education Foundation: http://www.mediaed.org

      Media Management Center at Northwestern University: http://www.mediamanagementcenter.org

      Media Report to Women: http://www.mediareporttowomen.com

      Media Watch: http://www.mediawatch.com

      Ms. Magazine: http://www.msmagazine.org

      Museum of Broadcast Communications: http://www.museum.tv

      National Center for Transgender Equality: http://transequality.org

      National Organization for Women: http://www.now.org

      National Telemedia Council: http://nationaltelemediacouncil.org

      Pew Research Center, Internet and American Life Project: http://www.pewinternet.org

      Radio Television Digital News Association: http://www.rtdna.org

      Robert McChesney Website: http://www.robertmcchesney.com

      2010 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry: http://www.theesa.com/facts/gameplayer.asp

      Women in Media and News: http://www.wimnonline.org

      Women's Media Center: http://www.womensmediacenter.org


      The following selected Websites, along with editorial commentary, are provided for further research on gender in media.

      American Psychological Association: Sexualization of Girls


      The American Psychological Association (APA) has been involved in issues related to children and media content since the 1990s, including the representation of violence in media (including television, video games, and interactive media) and the effects of advertising aimed at children. In 2007, the Women's Programs Office of the Public Interest Directorate Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls released a report that summarized the evidence for the sexualization of girls in mass media and other societal influences (from magazines and television programs to dolls and clothing) and the psychological consequences of this sexualization. This Website includes a downloadable copy of this report and an executive summary of it, press releases related to it, and a number of ancillary materials.

      The APA's report concluded that almost every type of media studied (including television, music lyrics and music videos, movies, magazines, video games, and the Internet) sexualized women, that women were more likely to be portrayed in a sexual manner than were men, and that an unrealistic standard of physical beauty was emphasized in women. An extensive study of the sexualization of children in advertising found that although such images were rare (occurring in about 1.5 percent of the advertisements studied), when children were presented in a sexual manner they were almost always (85 percent of the time) images of girls rather than boys. The study also concluded that sexualization had negative effects on girls' cognitive functioning, mental and physical health, and sexual well-being. Materials, available in HTML and PDF format, added to the Website to follow up the information contained in this report include suggestions on what parents and other adults can do to combat this sexualization of girls, what girls can do to challenge these images, and a collection of links to organizations that promote media literacy and improved images of girls and women in the media.

      Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation


      The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) was founded in 1985 to monitor media representation of GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender) issues and people. Today GLAAD sees itself as an “amplifier” of the voice of the GLBT community and works with many local organizations to build support for equality while also continuing to monitor the media, advocate change, and conduct educational and outreach activities. The Website includes a form for reporting unfair and defamatory coverage in the news media, and such incidents are reported on the Website (including the original material, date and source, and reasons the material is objectionable).

      GLAAD organizes its activities into 10 program areas: advertising media; entertainment media; field work and community media; national news; religion, faith, and values; Spanish-language media; Spirit Day (October 20, a day designated for showing support of GLBT youth); sports advocacy; transgender voices; and voices of color. The entertainment media program monitors film, television, music, and related media; speaks out against anti-GLBT content; and works with television and film executives, script writers, and producers to advocate the inclusion of GLBT material in popular media and to provide consulting services to ensure the authenticity of that content. GLAAD publishes two reports in this area, the “Network Responsibility Index,” which ranks the networks according to their inclusion of GLBT content, and the annual “Where We Are on TV,” which measures the number of GLBT characters in television programming.

      The GLAAD Website includes a number of informational materials that can be downloaded for free or viewed on the Website. These include the “Where We Are on TV” reports, the Network Responsibility Indexes, a Media Reference Guide to transgender issues (including information about Chaz Bono), a Spanish-language guide to GLBT terminology (Guía de terminologia gay, lebiana, bisexual y transgénero), the GLAAD Media Reference Guide, and resource guides to issues and topics ranging from the film The Kids Are All Right to adoption and gay parenting. Publications in the “Talking About” series are also available for free download. These publications are guides intended to help open discussions on sensitive topics such as gay marriage or transgender protections in the workplace and suggest language that may help keep the discussion usefully focused on the issues at stake.

      The GLAAD Advertising Media Program (http://www.commercialcloset.org) was founded in 1996 as the Commercial Closet Association to scrutinize the portrayal of GLBT people in advertising and to advocate appropriate inclusion as a means to fight homophobia and discrimination. The program maintains a searchable online library of over 4,000 television and print ads from all over the world; many of these ads are available for viewing on the Website. The Website offers breakdowns by year, region, type of product (e.g., computers), target, medium, company, brand, and agency. The Website also offers a number of resources related to the GLBT presence in advertising, including links to scholarly materials, marketing resources, lesson plans, and an explanation of the “respect score” and how it is calculated.

      The GLAAD Website includes a blog carrying news relevant to GLAAD's mission and can be sorted by topic or searched. The Website also includes press releases and information about GLAAD events, including the annual GLAAD Media Awards.

      Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media


      The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media was founded in 2004 by actress Geena Davis to research gender roles in children's media (media aimed at ages 11 and younger), educate the general public as well as decision makers about this issue, and advocate for more balanced portrayals of both boys and girls in children's media. Davis's motivation for founding the institute, according to its Website, was her realization while watching children's media with her daughter that there were almost no female characters. She commissioned a study on gender in film and television, authored by Dr. Stacy Smith of the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The study found that in family films male characters outnumber females 3:1, and in group scenes 83 percent of the characters are male.

      The goal of the institute is to change the portrayal of female characters and gender stereotypes in children's media. The Geena Davis Institute holds a biennial Symposium on Gender in Media attended by over 300 industry professionals, has amassed a large body of research on gender in children's media, performs outreach with media creators and the general public, and is regularly cited by educational and governmental institutions and major media outlets.

      Two of the institute's research reports—“Gender Disparity on Screen and Behind the Camera in Family Films” and “Gender Stereotypes: An Analysis of Popular Films and TV”—are available for download in PDF format from the institute's Website. Executive summaries and key findings from three reports are also available for download: the “Gender Disparity on Screen” report cited above plus “Changing the Status Quo: Industry Leaders' Perceptions of Gender in Family Films” and “Occupational Aspirations: What Are G-Rated Films Teaching Children About the World of Work.” The Website also presents basic facts about gender disparity in children's media and information to debunk common myths about gender in children's and family media and provides links to other research and to organizational Websites that are concerned with issues of gender roles in children's media.

      The programming arm of the Geena Davis Institute is See Jane, which works with professionals and students in the media industry to challenge gender stereotypes presented in children's television, to provide media training to students in middle school and high school, and to produce educational media. See Jane, in conjunction with college media producers, created the video series “Guess Who?” to educate children ages six to nine about gender stereotypes. This program appeared on Channel One and may be viewed on the Website also.

      The “Press” section of this Website includes press releases from the Geena Davis Institute, video interviews and keynote addresses, and links to press coverage of the institute's research and work. A number of other videos and photo galleries relating to the Geena Davis Institute's work are also available in the “Resources & Media” section of the Website. The institute also publishes a weekly e-mail newsletter, “The Geena Davis Institute SmartBrief,” which compiles relevant news from industry sources; the Website includes an interface to subscribe to this newsletter.

      Media Education Foundation


      The Media Education Foundation (MEF), located in Northampton, Massachusetts, produces and distributes educational resources, including documentary films, intended to motivate viewers to reflect on the cultural impact of American mass media. The MEF is motivated by the belief that language and image define the limits and possibilities of thought and imagination and that it is crucial to teach students to think critically about the media they consume and which forms a large part of their environment.

      Gender issues are one of the major categories covered by MEF media, with specific topics that include male and female sex roles, body image, homosexuality, sexual violence, and body image as well as how these and other issues are portrayed in the mass media. The MEF was founded by Sut Jhally, a professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; it is governed by a board of directors and a board of advisers.

      MEF videos may be ordered from the site, and many may be screened in part or in whole on the Internet; when the entire video is available for preview screening on the Internet, the streamed video is low resolution and is intended only for purchase consideration. A description of each film, including information about the filmmakers, is available from the Website. Examples of gender-related titles available from MEF include The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men, The Codes of Gender: Identity and Performance in Pop Culture, Date Rape Backlash: Media & the Denial of Rape, and Playing Unfair: The Media Image of the Female Athlete.

      A number of other educational materials addressing issues of concern to MEF are available for free from the Website. For many of the films, specific materials such as study guides, transcripts for some films, and links to related information are included. In addition, the Website offers a number of free downloadable resources related to media education, including handouts, articles, and classroom activity suggestions (e.g., a poster titled “10 Reasons Why Media Education Matters,” guides to deconstructing advertisements, and fact sheets on topics such as the advertising industry and media ownership and regulation).

      Media Stereotyping: Media Awareness Network


      The Media Awareness Network (MNet), founded in 1996, is a Canadian nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting media and digital literacy, conducting research, and producing programs and resources to increase awareness and education of media issues. The main focus of MNet, according to its Website, is “equipping adults with information and tools to help young people understand how the media work, how the media may affect their lifestyle choices and the extent to which they, as consumers and citizens, are being well informed.”

      Most of MNet's materials are freely available from the Website in French and English. The section “Media Stereotyping” briefly explains what media stereotypes are, their effects on the audience, and why they are problematic. The Website then treats the following issues in separate sections: ethnic and visible minorities, aboriginal people, girls and women, men and masculinity, gays and lesbians, whiteness and white privilege, and persons with disabilities. Each issue is further broken down into subtopics, with summaries of the relevant topics within each, and links to further information and related Websites. For instance, the “Girls and Women” section includes the following subtopics: “Beauty and Body Image in the Media;” “Sex and Relationships in the Media;” “Media Coverage of Women and Women's Issues;” “Media and Girls;” “Economics of Gender Stereotyping;” “Women Working in the Media;” and “Resisting Stereotypes and Working for Change.”

      MNet's Website provides access to its press releases, fact sheets, newsletters, annual reports, public service announcements (videos viewable online with QuickTime), and other reports and publications. The site also includes materials meant specifically for teachers and for parents. In the former case, these include materials designed for classroom use, professional development materials, information about media education initiatives in the Canadian provinces, a number of free games for student use, and a catalog of resources available to schools. Materials focused on parents include advice and information about children's Internet use, a public education program on Web safety, and games designed to teach children how to use the Internet safely.

      Sarah E.BoslaughKennesaw State University
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