Susan J. Douglas to Speak on Feminism and the Media at Concord University

For Immediate Release: 
Oct 20 2004

Susan J. Douglas to Speak on Feminism and the Media at Concord University

Athens, W.Va. – Susan J. Douglas, leading authority on American studies, pop culture, and the media, will be speaking at Concord University on Wednesday, November 17 at 1 p.m. in the main theater of the Alexander Fine Arts Center.

The presentation will focus on Douglas’ views on women and their role in both current and past media. The mass media, Douglas claims, both advances and thwarts women. While the media provides a forum for women’s issues, gives coverage to feminist movement, and shows the many breakthroughs made by women, at the same time, they demonize feminists, welfare mothers, and women who work. Moreover, they glorify women as sex objects and continually focus on women’s appearances, as reported by Traci Dziatkowicz.

Douglas’ views on women in the media are straight forward and to the point. “Laugh at the way women are portrayed, see the silliness of the whole charade. Do the ‘Barbie walk’ across your kitchen a couple of times (how can she walk on her tiptoes all the time?): rip ads out of magazines and see if you can even get your body into the contortions of the models. Laugh at the impossibilities of raising kids and being perfectly primped and well rested all the time - laugh at these things and take yourself seriously. As we do that, we can start reclaiming feminism,” said Douglas.

However, she is also conflicted about some roles that women play, “I think I’ll always feel like I’m simultaneously acquiescing to and rebelling against media imagery. On the one hand, the media urge [women] to be plain, cute, sexually available, thin, blonde, poreless, wrinkle-free, and deferential to men. On the other, they suggest we can be rebellious, tough, enterprising, and shrewd. Some shows manage to be feminist and anti-feminist at the same time - like ‘Charlie’s Angels.’ These days, I have conflicting feelings about ‘NYPD BLUE’ and ‘ER.’”

Douglas earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. from Brown University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Elmira College. She has taught extensively on this subject since graduating and has written several books, including “Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media.” She has also written quite a few articles and papers as well, and has appeared on such shows as “Weekend Edition,” “The Today Show,” and “Oprah Winfrey.” She currently is spending her time traveling and lecturing on women in the media and the implications of how our culture views feminism.

Admission is free to the public.

For more information, call 1-304-384-5101 or e-mail


CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 if special assistance or help is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.

Karlee Edmonds, a student in Concord University’s communication arts department wrote this press release. Her hometown is Harrison, N.Y.