Feminism a Dirty Word

Feminism a Dirty Word?
In Susan J. Douglas Where the Girls Are Douglas leads us on a journey of what it was like being a woman during the baby boom generation and the fear of being labeled a feminist. Douglas argues that the media has at the same time been both friend and foe, and as women “we love and hate the media, at exactly the same time, in no small part because the media, simultaneously, love and hate women” (Douglas 12).   Furthermore, Douglas argues that the media has played a significant role in defining the roles deemed appropriate for women, causing what she calls a “media-induced schizophrenia” (Douglas 19).
First, Douglas asserts that only by looking back on the “roller-coaster ride” mothers born in the 1920s-1930s went through, and the conflicting messages as to what was considered “proper female behavior” can we begin to understand their apprehension towards the mass media which would be passed on to their daughters. (Douglas 45) During the Great Depression married women were prohibited from working in some states and those who did work were in jobs considered “women’s work” i.e. teachers, nurses, secretaries. Just the same, if married couples worked together the woman would be fired before a man would be fired, as they were seen as stealing a man’s job as they had someone to take care of them. Yet, during World War II as many men left the work force women take over jobs, join military, doing what is considered a man’s job but still portrayed in a feminine light “soldier’s without guns.” But, the end of the war would once again see women forced out of the work force only by now women have begun to question why “men’s work” is called such if a woman can do it.
In the chapter entitled “Mama Said” Douglas argues that the media’s falsely portrays women as having it made comparing them to the likes of June Cleaver and Harriet Nelson whose only job was to take care of the home and the family. And while these fictional characters portrayed women as...