I will be referring to Susan Douglas' book, Where the Girls Are, to discuss how representations of femininity in popular culture evolved before and after the woman's movement. For the children born after World War II, the media's influence was extraordinary. These children were the fastest growing market segment and were referred to as the "baby boomers". The preteen and teenage girls were the first generation to be relentlessly isolated as a distinct market segment. Advertisers knew they had to speak to the young women of this generation in a way that encouraged distinctions between teenagers and adults in order to go against the usual parental guidance in which provided fiscal restraint. "So at the same time that the makers of Pixie Bands, Maybelline eyeliner, Breck shampoo, and Beach Blanket Bingo reinforced our roles as cute, air headed girls, the mass media produced a teen girl popular culture of songs, movies, TV shows, and magazines that cultivated in us a highly self-conscious sense of importance, difference, and even rebellion.(Douglas,14)" Because the market of young women became important economically, these women started to believe that they could be of importance culturally and politically as a generation. Mass media, without trying, was able to encourage rebellion throughout this generation.
"American Women have been surrounded by contradictory expectations since at least the nineteenth century (14)." After World War II these circumstances increased with the meticulous array of media technology and outlets that interlocked in peoples homes. The contradictions in the media were heightened dramatically due not only to the changes of the audience but because the media itself was transforming in how it regarded and marketed the consumers. Mass media started to be defined by the division of age and sought to please "the lowest common denominator". Television programs sought to please the "lowest common denominator" by offering homogenized images of...
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