Reality Gendervision

Sexuality and Gender on Transatlantic Reality Television

Reality Gendervision

Book Pages: 400 Illustrations: 32 illustrations Published: March 2014

Cultural Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Sex and Sexuality, Media Studies > TV

This essay collection focuses on the gendered dimensions of reality television in both the United States and Great Britain. Through close readings of a wide range of reality programming, from Finding Sarah and Sister Wives to Ghost Adventures and Deadliest Warrior, the contributors think through questions of femininity and masculinity, as they relate to the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality. They connect the genre's combination of real people and surreal experiences, of authenticity and artifice, to the production of identity and norms of citizenship, the commodification of selfhood, and the naturalization of regimes of power. Whether assessing the Kardashian family brand, portrayals of hoarders, or big-family programs such as 19 Kids and Counting, the contributors analyze reality television as a relevant site for the production and performance of gender. In the process, they illuminate the larger neoliberal and postfeminist contexts in which reality TV is produced, promoted, watched, and experienced.

Contributors. David Greven, Dana Heller, Su Holmes, Deborah Jermyn, Misha Kavka, Amanda Ann Klein, Susan Lepselter, Diane Negra, Laurie Ouellette, Gareth Palmer, Kirsten Pike, Maria Pramaggiore, Kimberly Springer, Rebecca Stephens, Lindsay Steenberg, Brenda R. Weber


“This book is a must-read for all who are interested in gender studies as well as for economists, sociologists, and people from social sciences who are interested in the social and political effects of the ongoing recession and the rising economic inequality in the United States and Europe. It provides an important missing link between feminist economist and sociological analyses of the gendered causes as well as the gendered impact of the financial crisis and the recession….”  — Margunn Bjørnholt, Women's Studies

“This collection of essays is an informative, interesting, and entertaining read, even for someone who has never watched a reality program because the essays are so well-written, and synopses so well-intertwined, that one can easily understand the arguments.” — Sarah Gawronski, Journal of Popular Culture

"All in all, an indispensable addition to any self-respecting television studies library." — Donna Spalding Andréolle, Cercles

"This timely anthology brings together a selection of strong scholarship concerned with the gendered dimensions of reality television. Although there already exist some good analyses of reality TV, this anthology’s focus on gender and its intersections is a necessary addition to the field. Brenda R. Weber’s introduction is pivotal in our thinking about gender and the reality genre, and there is a serious attempt to think beyond the US—including some useful contributions about UK reality television. The collection fills a gap in the scholarly literature and is a welcome and necessary addition to the field of reality TV studies." — Katherine Sender, author of The Makeover: Reality Television and Reflexive Audiences

"While there has been a significant amount of research done on reality television over the past decade, only a small portion of that work has focused on gender, despite the plethora of issues around gender and sexuality found in reality TV programming. This anthology fills the gap." — Susan Murray, coeditor of Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture


Availability: In stock
Price: $29.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Brenda R. Weber is Associate Professor in Gender Studies at Indiana University, where she holds adjunct appointments in American Studies, Cultural Studies, Communication and Culture, and English. She is the author of Women and Literary Celebrity in the Nineteenth Century: The Transatlantic Production of Fame and Gender and Makeover TV: Selfhood, Citizenship, and Celebrity, which is also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top

Introduction. Trash Talk: Gender as an Analytic on Reality Television / Brenda R. Weber

Part I. The Pleasures and Perils in Being Seen

1. The "Pig," the "Older Woman," and the "Catfight": Gender, Celebrity, and Controversy in a Decade of British Reality TV / Su Holmes and Deborah Jermyn

2. Reality TV and the Gendered Politics of Flaunting / Misha Kavka

3. Keeping Up with the Aspirations: Commercial Family Values and the Kardashian Brand / Maria Pramaggiore and Diane Negra

4. When America's Queen of Talk Saved Britain's Duchess of Pork: Finding Sarah, Oprah Winfrey, and Transatlantic Self-Making / Brenda R. Weber

5. Wrecked: Programming Celesbian Reality / Dana Heller

Part II. Citizenship, Ethnicity, and (Trans)National Identity

6. Abject Femininity and Compulsory Masculinity on Jersey Shore / Amanda Ann Klein

7. Supersizing the Family: Nation, Gender, and Recession on Reality TV / Rebecca Stephens

8. "Get More Action" on Gladiatorial Television: Simulation and Masculinity on Deadliest Warrior / Lindsay Steenberg

9. Jade Goody's Preemptive Hagiography: Neoliberal Citizenship and Reality TV Celebrity / Kimberly Springer

Part III. Mediated Freak Shows and Cautionary Tales

10. "It's Not TV, It's Birth Control": Reality TV and the "Problem" of Teenage Pregnancy / Laurie Ouellette

11. Intimating Disaster: Choices, Women, and Hoarding Shows / Susan Lepselter

12. Freaky Five-Year-Olds and Mental Mommies: Narratives of Gender, Race, and Class in TLC's Toddlers & Tiaras / Kirsten Pike

13. Legitimate Targets: Reality Television and Large People / Gareth Palmer

14. Spectral Men: Femininity, Race, and Traumatic Manhood in the RTV Ghost-Hunter Genre / David Greven




Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5682-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5669-1
Publicity material