Review of the Week: 3/13/17

As March is Women's History Month, our Review of the Week explores the history of feminism.

Watching women’s liberation, 1970: feminism’s pivotal year on the network news

Dow, Bonnie J. Illinois, 2014
239p bibl index afp, 9780252038563 $95.00, 9780252080166 $28.00, 9780252096488

A leading scholar of gender and communication, Dow (Vanderbilt Univ.) has written an important and incisive study of media reportage in 1970, a “pivotal year” for feminist movements. The view of many is that news media, primarily print and television, functioned as critics of the women’s movement. Using case studies, Dow provides a nuanced analysis of the tumultuous context of 1970 second-wave liberal and radical feminist movements. She convincingly demonstrates how, in that one fractious year, national media presented shifting strategies in reporting on second-wave feminism. Particularly distinctive are case studies that show that some visual network coverage was inventive and positive in depicting feminist grievances at a time when the CBS and NBC networks’ verbal coverage was both dismissive and sensational. Dow’s analysis reveals that the chaotic context of 1970 second-wave feminism serves as a lasting testament to the women and men who gave so much to advance the cause of gender equality. This is an invaluable study for those interested in the history of feminism and media in the US.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
Reviewer: M. R. Grant, emerita, Wheaton College
Interdisciplinary Subjects: Women’s & Gender Studies
Subject: Humanities – Communication
Choice Issue: May 2015