Pop heroines and female icons : youthful femininity and popular culture

Hopkins, Susan (1999) Pop heroines and female icons : youthful femininity and popular culture. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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Abstract

The thesis suggests much feminist theorising on girls' and young women's relationship to popular culture is limited by a 'moral-political' approach which searches for moral and political problems and solutions in the consumption of popular images of femininity. The thesis offers a critique of such 'moral-political' interpretations of the relationship between youthful femininity and popular culture. Following thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean Baudrillard, the thesis opposes the political preoccupation with 'reality' and 'truth'. The study follows Nietzsche's and Baudrillard's notion of the 'Eternal-Feminine' which accepts the necessity of illusion, deception and appearances. Through a close textual analysis of magazines, films, television and music video, this study offers an aesthetic appreciation of popular culture representations of femininity. The thesis comprises six essays, the first of which explains my Nietzschean inspired aesthetic approach in more detail. The second essay looks at images and discourses of supermodels and model femininity in women's magazines. The third looks at image-based forms of 'girl power' from Madonna to the Spice Girls. The fourth essay examines the 'Cool Chics' of the pay TV channel TVJ,from Wonder Woman to Xena: Warrior Princess. The fifth essay, 'Gangster Girls: From Goodfellas to Pulp Fiction' considers the 1990s model of the femme fatale, the bad girl who thrives on moral chaos. The final essay 'Celebrity Skin: From Courtney Love to Kylie Minogue' suggests some of the most powerful feminine role models of our time have built their careers not on notions of authenticity and truth but rather on the successful management of illusion and fantasy. The essay argues that our social world has outgrown the traditional moral-political approach which aims to lead girls and young women from 'deceptive''immoral' appearances to moral, 'authentic' 'reality'. The pleasures of popular culture, Isuggest, cannot always be linked to deep meanings but may be drawn from superficial appearances and beautiful surfaces.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 35812
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Kendall, Gavin & Tait, Gordon
Additional Information: Presented to the School of Social Science, Queensland University of Technology.
Keywords: Women heroes, Popular culture, Popular music, popular culture, femininity, youth-Australia, United States, Great Britain, mass media and cultural studies, youth identity, postmodernism-social conditions, celebrity-cultural aspects, thesis, doctoral
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Susan Hopkins
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:03
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2017 00:08

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