You are here

"Femme Dysfunction Is Pure Gold"

Title: "Femme Dysfunction Is Pure Gold": A Feminist Political Economic Analysis of Bravo's the Real Housewives.
Name(s): Cox, Nicole B., author
Proffitt, Jennifer M., professor directing dissertation
Edwards, Leigh H., university representative
Nudd, Donna M., committee member
McDowell, Stephen, committee member
School of Communication, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2012
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: As a programming powerhouse that has survived five years, more than 200 episodes, and seven series locations, Bravo's The Real Housewives franchise has become a formidable force in cable TV. With viewers in the millions, spin-off shows, merchandise, and cast appearances that extend far beyond Bravo, the presence of the franchise and its "ladies who lunch" cannot be missed in the realm of popular culture. Because of its success and its cultural position as a female-oriented reality TV program, this study examines Bravo's The Real Housewives franchise through the lens of feminist political economy. Exploring the franchise through Kellner's (1995) critical cultural model, this study moves the franchise through the stages of production, text, and reception to understand not only how the franchise is guided by commercial motives, but also how the series upholds elements of capitalism and patriarchy that are problematic for its target audience: females. Through the circuit of production, text, and reception, this research uses critical, ideological textual analysis to unmask the motivations behind The Real Housewives production, the messages regarding gender, race, class, and sexuality found within programming, and the ways in which audiences are making sense of--and responding to--those messages themselves. Concluding that the franchise targets the female audience through intense marketing and interactivity, perpetuates stereotypical gender norms in programming via use of Bravo's infamous "wink," and is textually read by fans largely in line with programming intent, I argue that The Real Housewives franchise targets and exploits the female audience, selling them "images" of themselves that are deeply problematic and indicative of the contemporary epoch of postfeminist media culture. And while fans are responding to the series' messages of gender, race, class, and sexuality in a variety of ways, analysis suggests that they are likewise perpetuating the problematic portrayals in their own online interaction.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-4780 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the School of Communication in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2012.
Date of Defense: February 28, 2012.
Keywords: Feminist, Gender, Internet, Media, Political Economy, Reality TV
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Jennifer M. Proffitt, Professor Directing Dissertation; Leigh H. Edwards, University Representative; Donna M. Nudd, Committee Member; Stephen McDowell, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Communication
Persistent Link to This Record:
Use and Reproduction: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). The copyright in theses and dissertations completed at Florida State University is held by the students who author them.
Host Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Cox, N. B. (2012). "Femme Dysfunction Is Pure Gold": A Feminist Political Economic Analysis of Bravo's the Real Housewives. Retrieved from