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Audiences, Female

Karen Ross


The ways in which “the audience” has been conceptualized have moved, historically, through an arc from passive to active to interactive, and the embodied audience has become fragmented as the media industry tries to deliver niche audiences to particular advertisers. One such segmented audience is that of the group “women,” even though an archetypal “woman” does not actually exist. However, many researchers have nonetheless focused on the ways in which women, as a specifically gendered audience, have reacted to and engaged with media such as TV and film, and how they consume genres which are supposed to be especially appealing to women, such as soaps, romantic fiction, and magazines. Work in this field has often been feminist in orientation and has mostly focused on women's relationship with texts, although some work makes comparisons between women and men in terms of their enjoyment of particular media forms. However, the history of researchers’ engagement with the female audience is, in some ways, exemplified by the overdetermination of research studies on soaps and magazines. Research on the gendered audience spans more than half a century, although even 50 years ago, there were contradictory views on what kind of women were consuming popular cultural products (→  Soap Operas ). For example, while some studies identified the “typical” consumer of radio soaps as working-class women ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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