Eschewing a straightforwardly positive or negative assessment the book explores the contradictory character of contemporary gender representations, where confident expressions of girl power sit alongside reports of epidemic levels of anorexia among young women, moral panics about the impact on men of idealized representations of the 'six-pack', but near silence about the pervasive re-sexualization of women's bodies, along with a growing use of irony and playfulness that render critique extremely difficult.
The book looks in depth at five areas of media - talk shows, magazines, news, advertising, and contemporary screen and paperback romances - to examine how representations of women and men are changing in the twenty-first century, partly in response to feminist, queer and anti-racist critique.
Gender and the Media is also concerned with the theoretical tools available for analysing representations. A range of approaches from semiotics to postcolonial theory are discussed, and Gill asks how useful notions such as objectification, backlash, and positive images are for making sense of gender in today's Western media. Finally, Gender and the Media also raises questions about cultural politics - namely, what forms of critique and intervention are effective at a moment when ironic quotation marks seem to protect much media content from criticism and when much media content - from Sex and the City to revenge adverts - can be labelled postfeminist.
This is a book that will be of particular interest to students and scholars in gender and media studies, as well as those in sociology and cultural studies more generally.
* Exam copies only available to lecturers for whom the book may be suitable as a course text.
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"This book is extremely well written, which adds to its excellence as a text that combines an expert synthesis of the literature and Gill's own insightful analysis. Gill's book is suitable as a core text for any media studies, cultural studies and gender studies course as an update of Van Zoonen's 1994
text, since it contains an analysis of a diverse body of work made suitable for undergraduate level thanks to Gill's accessible writing style."
Gender and Education
"Brilliant - a must-read for all media educators."
Newsletter of the Media Education Association
"Gender and the Media is excellent throughout and confronts the reader with an embarras de richesse of insights."
Feminism and Psychology
"Gender and the Media is a lively and stimulating read and works as an excellent introduction for students in the field of media and gender studies. It is also a grown-up book that moves beyond the current feminist preoccupation with 'girls', to a renewed focus on 'women' in their infinite variety. I strongly recommend it."
European Journal of Women s Studies
"A new masterpiece in the field of feminist media studies. Gender and the Media sheds new light on where we have been, and where we are going. It will be a staple of all media studies and women's studies classes for at least the next decade."
Andrea Press, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"This is a thorough, lucid study which includes a good deal of new and original material, presenting it with admirable theoretical fluency yet in a clear and student-friendly way."
Angela McRobbie, Goldsmiths College
"Rosalind Gill's book is an invaluable contribution to the field of gender and media research. Well written and engaging, it offers an overview of contemporary representations of gender, a sense of the main theoretical and methodological approaches at issue and a grounding in the cultural politics of the field."
Cynthia Carter, Cardiff University