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Feminist Media Studies


In this paper we position gendered affluence as a representational trend in dramatic comedies (e.g., Sex and the City [SATC]) and docusoaps (e.g., The Real Housewives [TRH]) that coalesces around themes like hyper-femininity, nouveau riche values, and conspicuous lifestyle. Through our analysis we suggest that institutional practices (identity politics, cybernetic commodification, and post-feminist technological interactivity) situated in a neoliberal context and a remediated environment enable the systematic reproduction of gendered affluence in the broader landscape of women’s television. The process of remediation is used as a lens to examine how the docusoap differs from (the immediacy of mediated self-performance) and resembles (the hypermediacy of mediated irony and post-feminist interactivity) the fictional portrayals of gendered affluence found in dramatic comedies like SATC. Our case analysis of TRH demonstrates the specific way non-fictional portrayals of gendered affluence are transforming genre (via an ethos of affluence and a consumerist ethic) and artfully maintaining the status quo in terms of gendered, raced, and classed intersections. Ultimately we argue that the docusoap is accomplishing this in a remediated environment that promotes a neoliberal agenda via affective engagement grounded in mediated self-performance and rational disengagement grounded in mediated irony.







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