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ERIC Number: ED380834
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Nov-20
Pages: 29
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Like Invisible Black Dots Just Visible Enough for Us To be Invisible: African American Women's Interpretation of 90210.
Strother, Karen E.
A study examined how African American women construct meaning in the television show "Beverly Hills 90210." The analysis was to examine how women of color decode and negotiate one of the most popular youth-oriented Eurocentric television shows--one in which none of the regular cast members are of African-American descent. Methodology was largely ethnographic. It consisted of observing five black college women watching the show in a residence hall on the Ohio State University campus, and then of in-depth interviewing of the same five women. Results showed that the women read the television show in a way directly opposed to that of the reading preferred by the dominant ideology. Although they do not see themselves represented in the show, there is still an identity that is important to them to know about since everyone else watches the show. The oppositional reading allows these viewers to have a bird's eye view of the fantasy that the women on the show live through, while still appreciating their own strengths as strong African-American women. They do not watch the show to confirm their identities; they watch it as entertainment and as members of a residence hall. Therefore, they are less likely to buy into everything that is presented to them in every scene. They can separate the fantasy from the "real" life experiences that they go through everyday. What it means to an African-American woman to watch 90210 is essentially the same thing it means to live their own real lives as a minority in a white society. (TB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A