Television for women dossier introduction: Why 'television for women'?

Rachel Moseley, Helen Wheatley, Helen Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This Screen dossier brings together contributions from a number of scholars, who reflect here on the question of ‘television for women’. We imagined this dossier as a way to broaden, internationalize and challenge the agenda of our AHRC-funded project ‘A History of Television for Women in Britain, 1947–1989’ (Warwick and De Montfort Universities), by asking about the significance of television programming that is or was addressed specifically to a female audience both within and outside the UK context. The notion that we are interested in television for and not necessarily by or about women has often been difficult to grasp, or has been misunderstood, by those to whom we have explained the research. Indeed, as attested to by the work collected in this dossier, often the notion of programming for women becomes linked with questions of representation and an analysis of the television produced by women. Nevertheless, this slippage is indicative of the fact that whilst there is often recognition of a sensibility underpinning ‘women's television’, this category of programming has not been rigorously theorized, historicized or, indeed, considered as a production category outside of the feminist study of soap opera. That canon of work postulated a series of critical ideas that we think should be revisited, such as: the need to examine the relationship between texts and ‘feminine competences’ and identities; the ways in which those texts are associated with hierarchies of cultural value and their subsequent connotations about viewers; the significance of different versions of feminism and its periodization in production and in television practices; and how these versions constitute the shifting patterns of ‘address’ against a backdrop of particular national histories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-243
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


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