You Play the Girl

You Play the Girl

On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, and Other Mixed Messages

Book - 2017
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Houghton
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR CRITICISM
A FINALIST FOR THE PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR THE ART OF THE ESSAY

"If Hollywood's treatment of women leaves you wanting, you'll find good, heady company in You Play the Girl."—ELLE


As a kid in the 1970s and 80s, Carina Chocano was confused by the mixed messages all around her; messages that told her who she could be—and who she couldn’t. Dutifully absorbing all the conflicting information the culture has to offer on how to be a woman, Chocano grappled with sexed up sidekicks, princesses waiting to be saved, and morally infallible angels who seemed to have no opinions of their own. She learned that "the girl" is not a person, but a man's idea of what a woman should be—she’s whatever the hero needs her to be in order to become himself. It wasn't until she spent five years as a movie critic, and was laid off just after her daughter was born, however, that she really came to understand how the stories the culture tells us about what it means to be a girl limit our lives and shape our destinies. She resolved to rewrite her own story.

In You Play the Girl, Chocano blends formative personal stories with insightful and emotionally powerful analysis. Moving from Bugs Bunny to Playboy Bunnies, from Flashdance to Frozen, from 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.

In this smart, funny, impassioned call to arms, a pop culture critic merges memoir and commentary to explore how our culture shapes ideas about who women are, what they are meant to be, and where they belong.


Baker & Taylor
A staff writer for Salon examines how girls are portrayed in popular culture through recent history and discusses the confusing and sometimes toxic effect this has on self-esteem and the ramifications it has for raising a daughter. Original. 25,000 first printing.

Baker
& Taylor

Examines how women are portrayed in popular culture through recent history and discusses the confusing and sometimes toxic effect this has on self-esteem and the ramifications it has for raising a daughter.
"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.

Publisher: Boston, MA : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, c2017
ISBN: 9780544648944
Branch Call Number: 305.42 CHO
Characteristics: xxvi, 275 p. :,ill. ;,21 cm.

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