Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

Female Foursomes & Their Fans

Department

Liberal Studies Department

College

Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

Drawing on scholarship in the fields of feminist media studies, cultural studies and women's studies (Bobo 1997; Hall 1980; Johnson et al.2007; Press 1991; Means Coleman 2000; Lotz 2002) I bring Hall theories of preferred (dominant culture), oppositional (resistant), and negotiated readings of television, Means Coleman s African American reception study of situation comedies, and the queered lens of Johnson et al s third wave feminist readings of contemporary television to bear on the audience reception data collected from fan based message boards and forums focusing on :The Golden Girls, Designing Women, Living Single, Sex and the City, Cashmere Mafia and Girlfriends. While Means Coleman, Bobo, and Press studies include in-depth interviewing, I engage in an online observational study of fan based message boards and forums, focusing on fan posts as articulations of their preferred, negotiated and or oppositional readings of these female foursome programs and characters. Referencing online posts from fan based message boards and forums, I engage in an audience reception study of these online communities formed in response to these female foursome shows and characters. It should be noted that the original runs of many these shows were completed between ten and twenty-five years ago, and yet participation in online fan communities continues well into the new millennium[i]. Although I consider myself a scholar-fan[ii], the intensity of fan attachment to these female foursome shows came to me as something of a surprise. As I poured over more than one hundred pages of fan posts per series (more than 1000 posts per series) for programs that completed original runs as early as 1992 in the case of The Golden Girls and as late as 2008 in the case of Girlfriends, I recognized the critical need for an online fan-based audience reception study[iii].

Conference Name

PCA/ACA Joint Conference

Conference Location

Washington, DC

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