By Julie D'Acci
Defining ladies explores the social and cultural development of gender and the meanings of lady, girls, and femininity as they have been negotiated within the pioneering tv sequence Cagney and Lacey, starring ladies as manhattan urban police detectives. Julie D'Acci illuminates the tensions among the tv undefined, the sequence creation crew, the mainstream and feminist press, a variety of curiosity teams, and tv audience over competing notions of what ladies may well or couldn't be—not purely on tv yet in society at large.Cagney and Lacey, which aired from 1981 to 1988, was once well known as an cutting edge therapy of operating girls and constructed a wide and dependable following. whereas learning this booklet, D'Acci had unparalleled entry to the set, to creation conferences, and to the whole construction records, together with correspondence from community executives, exposure organisations, and millions of audience. She lines the usually heated debates surrounding the advance of ladies characters and the illustration of feminism on prime-time tv, exhibits how the sequence was once reconfigured as a 'woman's program,' and investigates questions of woman spectatorship and feminist readings. even if she specializes in Cagney and Lacey, D'Acci discusses many different examples from the heritage of yank tv.
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Additional resources for Defining Women: Television and the Case of Cagney & Lacey
The mainstream press, as can be imagined, demonstrated extremely varied interests: One sector, very much affected by feminism, agitated for a wider range of women characters on television and, specifically, for roles shaped by women's movement concerns. 2 Similarly, a number of interest and pressure groups weighed in according to their own stakes in divergent meanings and portrayals: The National Gay Task Force, for example, vehemently protested the network's effort to shield the series from connotations of lesbianism by replacing one actress portraying Cagney with another "more feminine" one.
Richard Rosenbloom, then president of Filmways Television and a staff producer at Filmways, joined the project as the movie's line producer, and Ted Post, who was known primarily as an action director, was hired to direct. 22 The preproduction publicity trumpeted Cagney and Lacey's importance to the cause of feminism. Gloria Steinem at Ms. magazine had been sent a script by the creators and was so enthusiastic that she appeared with Loretta Swit on Donahue to plug the movie. "23 Steinem also featured Loretta Swit and Tyne Daly, in character in their police uniforms, on the cover of the October issue of Ms.
As Todd Gitlin says of Charlie's Angels, the show "appealed at once to elements of the new feminism and its conservative opposition. " The jiggle phenomenon, in the face of audience and interest-group protest, tapered off (at least in its most blatant form) by the early 1980s. But its complex and multidimensional legacy included the breaking of barriers to womenboth black and white (Get Christie Love featured African American actress Teresa Graves)as stars of TV dramas. It also introduced a "spectacle" aspect to the representation of female bodiesthat is, a more explicit sexual dimension to the traditionally more domesticated woman, revealing her as sex and beauty object.