Housework and Gender in American Television

Housework and Gender in American Television : Coming Clean

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Housework and Gender in American Television: Coming Clean examines representations of housework and gender in sixty of the most popular television shows of the 1950s through the 1980s. This book challenges the notion that housework functions primarily as a mechanism through which female characters are marginalized, devalued, invisible, or passive, instead proposing a reading that brings to the fore the strength, often ignored in standard feminist analyses, that is inherent in the loving, sacrificial, and active qualities of more

Product details

  • Hardback | 182 pages
  • 156 x 240 x 18mm | 408g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 16 Halftones, black and white
  • 0739192523
  • 9780739192528

About Kristi Rowan Humphreys

Kristi Rowan Humphreys is assistant professor of critical studies and artistic practice at Texas Tech more

Review quote

Humphreys uses textual analysis and personal experience to examine representations of housework and gender from four decades (1950s-80s) of television programs in the US. Humphreys identifies more than 20 trends across these representations, including how 1950s representations of housework and parenting showed both men and women involved in such tasks whereas 1960s-70s representations were less egalitarian, how 1970s programs (e.g., The Partridge Family) featuring a single female as the head of a household showed her and children doing household tasks yet programs featuring a single male often had a female housekeeper covering the family's tasks (e.g., Diff'rent Strokes), and how 1980s programs (e.g., Growing Pains) represented women as able to work full-time and maintain responsibility for household tasks. Throughout, Humphreys uses postfeminist principles to describe and critique the matriphobic tendencies of second-wave feminism, espouse the strong and loving characteristics of housework, and reconnect the idea of motherhood with feminist virtues. An accessible, nuanced, and compelling resource for those interested in gender, television history, and popular culture. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. CHOICE Dr. Humphreys' writing is inspiring and evocative. Her meticulous research into how housework on television has both shaped and empowered women's roles in their families-as leaders, caregivers and mentors-creates a new and powerful meaning to the very essence of housework, itself. Though housework has largely been downplayed as "women's work," Humphreys creates a more honest understanding of its importance in one's identity. Through her research, the housework itself becomes a diverse landscape of duties and accomplishments for each individual, and for each family unit, as women across the generations work to ensure their families' survival and well being. -- Marta Holliday, Alabama State University In Housework and Gender in American Television, Humphreys engages the problematic relationship between feminism and housework. In doing so, Humphreys reveals that representations of housework on network television are more complicated than depictions of traditional gender roles and female characters being relegated to the kitchen. By focusing on the role of housework in family sitcoms during the 1950s to 1980s, Humphreys demonstrates that these shows also depicted women as active agents coming from positions of strength in their performance of housework. -- Elizabeth Patton, University of Maryland Baltimore Countyshow more

Table of contents

List of Images Acknowledgments Chapter One: Introduction Chapter Two: Televised Housework in the 1950s Chapter Three: Televised Housework in the 1960s Chapter Four: Televised Housework in the 1970s Chapter Five: Televised Housework in the 1980s Chapter Six: Conclusions Bibliographyshow more