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April 07, 2017

For Those of You Who've Been Wondering When "Scholarly Papers" Would Just Turn Into Girls Gabbing About Watching "The Bachelor:" That Time Is Now

Actually, that time was 2014, but I only heard of it today.

Before getting to that groundbreaking academic work, Harvard "students" have opened a "school of resistance" named Dumbledor's Army, because (as some people on Twitter notice) the only books Millennials are capable of referencing are Harry Potter books. "READ ANOTHER BOOK," goes a popular catchphrase, after catching yet another Millennial activist referencing the Only Books Xhe Has Ever Read.

Well, actually, I think they've just seen the movies, but whatever.

Students at the John F. Kennedy School of Government think this is a pretty neat idea.

Anyhow, the school’s not really a school, but rather a free four-week online course that bills itself as a means for participants to "sharpen the tools we need to fight back at the federal, state and local levels" with an overall goal of keeping "the embers of resistance alive through concrete learning, community engagement and forward-looking action."

I'm old enough to remember when Resisting a president and calling him illegitimate was a near crime, akin to treason.

Below, the real story: You can now submit papers about how you and a couple of girlfriends watched The Bachelor and videotaped your reactions to it, which is a "data-generating" exercise, and then engaged in the "hyper-reflexive experience" of watching yourselves commenting on a TV show and then commenting upon your previous comments.

This research paper (ahem) identifies itself as a "dissertation" -- which, if I understand this right, means that this is the work of original research that conferred a doctoral degree upon a person previously just in a Ph.D. Program.

Since she now identifies as Ph.D, I guess that means that according to the academic world, watching reality tv and blogging about it with your galpals is now doctoral-level work.

Can't wait for the people at Television Without Pity or the various YouTube TV show recappers to learn they're now all doctors.

In order to wade through this babble, here are some definitions of the stupid non-words shxee's using:

to "decenter" means to push some target out of the center. You look at the audience watching the tv show instead of the tv show the audience is watching. The show is "decentered" in favor of centering her and her galpals' bitching and snarking about it. (In other words: It's just watching reality tv in the same way everyone watches TV, as a horrorshow to be goofed on where the viewers provide their own entertainment.)

"performative acts" usually refers, in these gender study contexts, to displays and statements which serve some kind of identity-affirming function. In political contexts, we might call it "virtue signalling," where you're not really communicating stuff about the external world but about your internal self-definitions. So, like, just by being gurlz who are watching the Bachelor and snarking about it, they are "performing" their "gendered" roles as gurlz who watch the Bachelor and snark about it.

"subjectivities" -- I don't know what this means. I can only guess it just means "personal experience" or "lived experience." You know -- how I feel about the tv show I'm watching ( and how I feel about what I'm feeling about the tv show I'm watching, and how I feel about watching myself feeling about the tv show I had earlier been watching.)

But they had to dress it up as "subjectivities" to make it sound "sciencey."

"leisure spaces" refers to not just a physical space, but any sort of context in which one is, well, leisuring. "Feminist leisure studies" is a huge area of interest to the gender warriors, precisely because it's a great way to combine their two academic passions, watchin' tv and not workin' too hard.

But "leisure spaces" can also just refer to the couch these idiots were sitting in when they gamed the living shit out of the system.

"Wow, that bitch is crazy!": Exploring gendered performances in leisure spaces surrounding reality television

by Spencer, Callie Cross, Ph.D., THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH, 2014, 202 pages; 3680377


In Reality Bites Back, Jennifer L. Pozner states, "Women are bitches. Women are stupid. Women are incompetent at work and failures at home. Women are gold diggers. How do we know? Because reality TV tells us so." Not only does reality TV shape what we think about the "way things are," it also shapes how we think about and perform our own subjectivities, "who we are" as gendered, sexed, raced, classed humans. If the messages sent by reality TV are that women are incompetent, stupid, gold-digging bitches, what are women doing with those messages? Are we incorporating such messages, and writing them on our bodies? Repurposing them? Reproducing them? Actively and strongly resisting them? In other words, what is the work (on subjectivity production) of watching reality TV (watching other women being watched)?

The purpose of this dissertation was to take up that question by exploring the performative experiences of three women watching the 17th season of ABC's The Bachelor. Using duoethnography, we explored how we challenged, (re)produced, assigned, and constructed gendered subjectivities both for ourselves and for each other through our performances within leisure spaces surrounding The Bachelor. In three layers of data-generative surveillance, we 1) videotaped ourselves watching the show; 2) publicly reflected about our experiences of watching the show in a blog (www.blogaboutthebachelor.com); and, 3) spent a weekend together watching the videotape of ourselves watching the show (a hyper-reflexive experience).

Within the blog, we provided a space for women to react to, critique, support, or decenter messages sent by the show and one another. As such, the blog enacted a political project in order to decenter norms of practice offering more possibilities for gendered performance. In addition to this public political project, the results of our study as presented in five articles within this dissertation provide a methodological contribution to the body of knowledge by exploring what it means to do "empowering" "collaborative" feminist research. The ways in which we performed gendered subjectivities in reaction to messages sent by The Bachelor were inextricably entangled with the ways in which we performed gendered subjectivities as collaborative researchers.

digg this
posted by Ace at 03:38 PM

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