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You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies,…
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You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, &…

by Carina Chocano

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Chocano's collection of essays takes a critical look at various elements of popular culture and dissects just what they have to say about women and our place in society. Or at least they do some of the time. Unfortunately, this collection was more miss than hit for me. There were some essays where Chocano would start exploring a film or tv show but I never could figure out her central thesis. There were a couple essays where Chocano was a presence but I never really felt like I connected with her. And I have to admit that any essay that cites Foucault always leaves me leery (I blame an hour-long class in undergrad spent dissecting the meaning of a single Foucault sentence for my dislike). The essays aren't bad, just not quite what I was expecting and more on the academic end of the spectrum than I'd expect of a book that had been marketed at a general audience. ( )
  MickyFine | Oct 7, 2017 |
Carina Chocano is the essay writer I wish I was. She examines how pop culture treats women and girls- and how it affects us. From Katherine Hepburn and how her image had to be toned down for people to accept her movies; ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and ‘Bewitched’ (how two insanely powerful women constantly deferred to men); to the huge Disney princess phenomena wherein a princess is someone to be saved by a man or presented to a man. ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Real Housewives’, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’, ‘Flashdance’, the misogyny in ‘Can This Marriage Be Saved’- in a women’s magazine, no less, ‘Thelma and Louise’, ‘Pretty Woman’, Disney, ‘Mad Men’ and a lot more all come under her feminist microscope. And while you can tell she’s very frustrated by the way the media presents women, she is always entertaining and easy to read. I’d love to read what she thinks about ‘Wonder Woman’ and the new Dr. Who! Five stars out of five. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Jul 23, 2017 |
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"Who is "the girl"? Look to movies, TV shows, magazines, and ads and the message is both clear and not: she is a sexed-up sidekick, a princess waiting to be saved, a morally infallible angel with no opinions of her own. She's whatever the hero needs her to be in order to become himself. She's an abstraction, an ideal, a standard, a mercurial phantom. In You Play the Girl, Chocano blends formative personal stories with insightful and emotionally powerful analysis. Moving from Bugs Bunny to Playboy Bunnies, Flashdance to Frozen, the progressive '70s through the backlash '80s, the glib '90s, and the pornified aughts--and at stops in between--she explains how growing up in the shadow of "the girl" taught her to think about herself and the world and what it means to raise a daughter in the face of these contorted reflections. In the tradition of Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, and Susan Sontag, Chocano brilliantly shows that our identities are more fluid than we think, and certainly more complex than anything we see on any kind of screen."--Page 4 of cover.… (more)

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