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Feminization of Media Content

Johanna Dorer


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The term “feminization” tends to be used in communication studies in two basic ways. On the one hand, it describes any increases in the proportion of women working in a particular media profession. On the other, it refers to a process in which communication norms, values, and behaviors coded as “masculine” are becoming gradually modified, if not replaced, by others associated with the “feminine.” Some communication researchers use the notion of feminization to refer, for example, not only to increases in the number of women working in particular media but also to what they regard as a trend toward media organizations gradually acquiring a “feminine image,” i.e., undergoing a shift toward norms and values coded as feminine, with their attendant lower professional status (→  Femininity and Feminine Values ; Gender and Journalism ). The association of the two meanings of feminization can be traced back to the concept of the “feminization of culture” (→  Culture: Definitions and Concepts ). Huyssen (1986) gives a striking description of how the increasing presence of women in cultural production starting in the late eighteenth century led to a fear of culture being feminized and losing its character as a male construction. This cultural ideology, in which women are equated with lower-status mass (popular or low) culture, while men are associated with a superior, high culture (fine ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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