Tough Girls
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Tough Girls
Women Warriors and Wonder Women in Popular Culture

Sherrie A. Inness

240 pages | 6 x 9 | 16 illus.
Anniversary Collection

"Inness discerns a broad cultural ambivalence about changing gender roles. The influence strong heroines hold in young women's lives, she argues, is not to be underestimated."—Publishers Weekly

"The author's arguments are clearly drawn, and themed chapters make her impressive research easy to navigate."—San Jose Mercury News

"In Tough Girls Sherrie Innes examines the ways that popular culture helps to shape and change broader social views of women. . . . This book will appeal to anyone interested in the representation of women in the media. It will be of use to students of media, gender and sports studies; indeed, anyone interested in gender roles."—International Journal of the History of Sport

"Drawing on an encyclopedic, first-hand knowledge of popular cultural texts . . . [Inness's] treatment of the subject is comprehensive and accessible."—Choice

Tough girls are everywhere these days. Whether it is Ripley battling a swarm of monsters in the Aliens trilogy or Captain Janeway piloting the starship Voyager through space in the continuing Star Trek saga, women strong in both body and mind have become increasingly popular in the films, television series, advertisements, and comic books of recent decades.

In Tough Girls, Sherrie A. Inness explores the changing representations of women in all forms of popular media and what those representations suggest about shifting social mores. She begins her examination of tough women in American popular culture with three popular television shows of the 1960s and '70s—The Avengers, Charlie's Angels, and The Bionic Woman—and continues through such contemporary pieces as a recent ad for Calvin Klein jeans and current television series such as The X-files and Xena: Warrior Princess. Although all these portrayals show women who can take care of themselves in ways that have historically been seen as uniquely male, they also variously undercut women's toughness. She argues that even some of the strongest depictions of women have perpetuated women's subordinate status, using toughness in complicated ways to break or bend gender stereotypes while simultaneously affirming them.

Also of interest—
Madcaps, Screwballs, and Con Women: The Female Trickster in American Culture
Lori Landay

Sherrie A. Inness is Distinguished Laura C. Harris Chair of Women's Studies at Denison University. She is the editor of Kitchen Culture in America: Popular Representations of Food, Gender, and Race and Disco Divas: Women and Popular Culture in the 1970s, both published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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