English 216: Notes for Chapter 7


  • radical: creates concept of patriarchy (systemic sexism)
    • patriarchy: social systems invested with sexism regardless of individual intention
  • Marxist: women are exploited by men as a consequence of capitalism
  • liberal: oppression comes from individual, prejudiced men
  • dual-systems theory: capitalism is sexist; sexism is capitalist, they conspire
  • bell hooks: ‘finding a voice’ speech turns one from object to subject


Feminist textual analysis

  • goal is to reveal what was always there but silenced (women)
  • pop-culture: culture is where we define what it means to be woman


Women at the Cinema:

  • breaking away from text-determinist theories (e.g., Mulvey’s gaze)
  • Jackie Stacey: defines three discourses of British women filmgoers of the 40s/50s
  • escapism: into the lavish theatre as well as the film, escaping every-day life
  • identification: use images of film stars as empowerment, enact control of their own lives
  • consumption: use the film’s excess of escapism to construct a new self


Reading Romance:

  • moving towards audience studies rather than textual studies
  • Modleski: abandon dismissive or mocking tone towards women who read romances
    • romantic suffering: romances are a protest against the suffering of women
  • Coward: admits she is a reader, popularity of romances implies they’re addressing a need
    • regressive fantasy: adore the male’s power, depict female sexuality as passive/guiltless
  • Radway: studies a specific reading group, analyzes their criteria of “good” and “bad”
    • triangular satisfaction (Freudian): father’s protection, mother’s care, adult sexuality
    • fear of male violence: reveal it to have been an illusion and/or benign
    • fear of female sexuality: confine it to a heteronormative, monogamous relationship
    • Ang: Radway is criticizing from the outside; Ang focuses on pleasure as empowerment


Ang on Dallas

  • realism: a mode, like a super-genre (as opposed to a subgenre)
    • classical realism: verisimilitude, adherence to expectations; empirical realism
    • denotative realism: resemblance to reality
    • connotative realism: emotionally identifying with the content; emotional realism
  • tragic structure of feeling: pleasure via connotative realism
    • melodramatic imagination: repertoire that allows access to tragic structure of feeling
  • struggles with mass-culture ideology: mass-culture critique: dislike b/c something is mass-culture (circular reasoning)
    • irony: reinterpret as object of mockery, love it b/c it’s mass-culture
    • fan: defend it as meaningful, or surface irony: “I can handle it”
    • appeal to taste: they like it because they like it
  • pleasure: derives from seeing fantastic solutions to real problems


Women’s Magazines

  • Winship: studies as an insider
    • attraction and rejection: want to feel feminine but not be defined by sexism
    • fictions: all content of women’s magazines, including ads, creates various worlds
    • pleasurable femininity: myth of successful, individual woman, cut off from context
  • Hermes: previous critiques showed concern but not respect; postmodern methodology
    • fallacy of meaningfulness: only study ‘fans,’ end up ignoring ordinary readers
      • repertoires of women’s magazines: easily put down: convenient for women in domestic labour
      • relaxation: actual relaxation also signal to others to leave her alone
      • practical knowledge: practical how-to tips, make one feel omni-capable
      • emotional learning: construct ideal self, ready for all interpersonal crises
    • moments of empowerment: effects of repertoires generally don’t last very long



  • what comes after the second wave?
  • Winship: feminist ideas aren’t oppositional any more, thus more internal discussion
  • McRobbie: tactical position, act like feminism is no longer necessary after 70s/80s
  • re-traditionalization (Ball): construct new identities for women through capitalism


Men’s Studies and Masculinities:

  • arguably not feminist, arguably couldn’t exist without it
  • dominant masculinities (Easthope): force all other genders to compare themselves to DM
    • lived masculinities: how men, including gay/bi men, actually live
    • regimes of representation (Nixon): constructions of masculinity in ads, magazines, etc.
  • Canaan & Griffin: men might crowd women out, women must insist it’s feminist work


Queer Theory

  • political methodology (like feminism), resistance to heteronormativity
  • Butler: “sex” (biology) is not outside culture, a discursive category that’s been naturalized
    • uses concept of performative language: utterances that make reality
    • gender performance: each performance cites the last performance as proof, reifies
    • drag: imitative performance reveals that gender is always imitative
      • i.e., “You’re born naked, and the rest is drag.” — Ru Paul
  • Queerness and Consumerism
    • Warner: assimilation into the mainstream means assimilation into consumerism
    • Creekmur & Doty: problem is how to be ‘out in culture’ without consumerism
  • queer reading (Doty): reveal anything and everything that’s not heteronormative
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