You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages

Carina Chocano. Mariner, $16.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-544-64894-4
In this whip-smart essay collection, pop culture critic Chocano explores representations of women in books, movies, and television, with characters ranging in time and temperament from Edith Wharton’s Lily Bart to Mad Men’s Joan and Peggy. Remarkably comprehensive and enjoyably associative, the essays move quickly from the haunting performances of French actress Isabelle Adjani to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeannie as allegories for the potential of powerful women to “wreck civilization.” Chocano astutely observes that Thelma and Louise and Pretty Woman are “dueling metanarratives” from the same cultural moment, offering diametrically opposed messages about women’s aspirations. On a personal note, Chocano describes her laborious efforts to raise a daughter without the patriarchy’s cultural hangups via an extremely thorough examination of Disney’s Frozen and its famous aria, asking—“What exactly is she letting go of?” Readers with even a rudimentary understanding of feminism may find it wearisome to have such seminal texts as Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper (1892) and Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963) rehashed; with a vast spectrum of material, and Chocano’s incisive and witty approach, however, these essays will appeal to anyone interested in how women’s stories are told. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/08/2017
Release date: 08/08/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-544-64896-8
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