Is action TV an ‘anti-feminist’ genre?

With Anti- war protests, Civil Rights movements and the Women’s Liberation Movement, the US was in an immense transitional period during the 1960’s which caused the social shifts amongst the population’s attitudes. The Woman’s Liberation Movement, also known as Second Wave Feminism, reached its zenith of controversy and popularity in the mid-seventies reinforcing equal opportunities amongst women. Consequently, a number of debates circulated around the ‘oppressive’ representation of women on T.

V, thus the government pressured the industries to pay attention to local communities otherwise they would lose their licenses Bradley (1998; 170). Parallel to this, British Action series such as The Saint (CBS 1961-67) )and The Avengers (ABC 1961-1969) with it’s focus on consumer style and culture, had proved to be very popular amongst U. S audiences and gained prime time-slots. The Avengers particularly was one of the first action series to depict women in high sexy, yet challenging roles. Chapman (2001) argues that such shows were highly influential on the emergence of leading female characters in U.

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S action series such as Police Woman (NBC, 1974-1978), The Bionic Woman (ABC, 1965-1977) Wonder Woman (CBs 1975-1977) and Charlie’s Angels (ABC, 1975-1981), in what was predominantly a male orientated genre. Perceived as a response to second wave feminism, such shows portrayed strong, single women characters working for law enforcement, or secret agencies in contrast to the conventional housewife roles in Bewitched (NBC, 1964-1967) Douglas (1994; Chap. 6) Charlie’s Angels in specific led to 59% of US TV sets tuning in during it’s first series receiving a popular young male and female audience (Durkee, 1986 cited in Gough-Yates, 2002;83)

Despite their perceived revolution in representing progressive women’s roles, the programs have been criticized for not only undermining the goals of feminism but reinforcing patriarchy. The essay will therefore focus on whether the female Action T. V is an anti-feminist genre in specific reference to Charlie’s Angels and other female action series. This will consist of analyzing the text in regards to it’s marketing, producers and it’s re-emergence back into popular culture. The text’s backgrounds are also key in assessing on how contemporary discourses that may have shaped it’s content, to which it will I shall now turn.

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