The feminist movement or the Women’s Movement or Women’s Liberation launched a series of campaigns on issues on reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, sexual harassment and sexual violence. A very contemporary example of the exhibition of the ideals of this movement is the talk show — The View. The show is ABC Daytime’s morning gabfest, featuring a team of dynamic women of different ages, experiences and backgrounds discussing the most exciting events of the day. The present roster of [t]he View’s hosts comprises of Barbara Walters, Sherri Shepard, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg.
The very fact that women can openly talk about anything under the sun in this television show is already a clear indication and exemplification of how far feminist rhetoric has developed and evolved. Women on the show openly talk about all sorts of issues that range from simple domestic issues to highly political ones. The very fact that they are able to speak openly and opine knowledgeably about such issues is already indicative of how far the feminist movement has brought women of the present.
The women in the show speak in a spontaneous and extemporaneous format, raising issues in the news about which to exchange their opinions and ideas. They openly talk and do not necessarily talk about superficial issues. The women express their opinions and are knowledgeable, not just on domestic issues or gossips, but also on political issues and other issues that are of global pertinence (Dolan, 2007). It was not always that women were educated and that women were allowed to speak their minds.
The roster of women and the very dynamics of the show indicate freedom of women’s thought, freedom to nurture these thoughts and the freedom of expression of these thoughts. From these, it appears that the show seemingly furthers a very liberalist attitude on issues and at the same time tries to reinforce feminism through the in-depth knowledge, not just of domestic but political issues as well. It also reinforces feminism through very educated and intelligent discussions exemplified and exhibited in the show.
The show exhibits how far women have gone standing on the shoulders of their giants. However, not all observations on [t]he View have been this positive. Take for instance the time when Sherri Sheperd was criticized for not knowing whether the earth was round or flat, and subsequently refusing to take a side on this already solved debate. (Hirsh, 2007) Another instance was when Star Jones was taken off the show for being not fat enough (Finkelstein, 2006). The commentator observed, “[t]he View has a distinct liberal tint to its patter.
And as we know, one of the tenets of feminist theology is that women have a right to whatever body size they want, free of societal restraints. How ironic — some might say hypocritical — that one reason for the recent firing of co-host Star Jones is that . . . she refused to stay fat! ” These contradictions cannot be helped. While the show exemplifies and exudes feminism, it appears that there are glitches in the view of [t]he View as seen in Star Jones’ and Sherri Sheperd’s cases. There seems to be a backward movement in the feminist rhetoric of [t]he View.
This apparent contradiction is the case as with every development in society — setbacks. For every move forward, there are steps back. But that does not necessarily mean that we are back where we started. It just means that the endeavors are a work in progress. In fact this is very much consistent with the poststructuralist insight that everything is discourse, and that we therefore cannot separate discursive practice from “real life” (Bonnie, 1996, p. 28). “Whether or not television reflects reality outside the tube is beside the point: we watch television and it is therefore part of life.
Rather than existing in some autonomous realm outside of political life, media is part of it” (Dow, 1996, p. 28). This means that the contradiction in the furtherance of the feminist rhetoric in the show is truly reflective of the contradiction that exists in real life — that while the ideals of feminism are furthered, there are instances when there are actions that hinder the promotion of these ideals. “A rhetorical perspective, assumes that symbolic acts function to accomplish an end, and that they do so through the employment of strategies that influence audiences” (Dow, 1996, p. 30).
This is achieved by the show by reinforcing the very thesis of radical feminism — women supremacy. The show by employing an all-female roster, which are knowledgeable and well-informed about domestic, socio-economic, political, cultural and religious issues sends the message that women can know as much as men can, and women can articulate and express their views, as much as men can, or even better. By employing an all-female roster, the show sends the message that in such type of medium, these women’s views are preferred over those of the men.
Because the truth of the matter is that the audience to which the show caters is predominantly female, the sympathies to which the show caters is predominantly of the female and the concerns to which the show caters is predominantly of the female. This brings back the dilemma of some of the non-radical members of the feminist movement — that while they aim for equality of rights and opportunities with men, the end product is a yearning to be greater than men — to further reinforce the dichotomy rather than mend and fill the gap. References Dolan, J. (2007, February 7). Chatting About Gay People on The View.
The Feminist Spectator. Retrieved, December 2, 2007, from http://feministspectator. blogspot. com/2007/02/chatting-about-gay-people-on-view. html Dow, B. J. (1996). Prime-Time Feminism: Television, Media Culture, and the Women’s Movement since 1970. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Finkelstein, M. (2006, June 28). Fired For Failing to Be Fat: Feminist Hypocrisy at The View in Star Jones Exit. Retrieved, December 2, 2007, from http://newsbusters. org/node/6148 Hirsh, M. (2007, September 24). What the Hell is Wrong With The View. Retrieved, December 2, 2007, from http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/20887159/
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