Study Questions 13: Th Apr 3: Pop Culture and the Single Woman
1. What economic changes underlay the rise of the "Cosmo Girl," according to Oulette? How does the rise of the Playboy "male revolt" shape the Cosmo girl's world?
2. What are the main elements of the Cosmo girl ideology? What kind of advice was she given?
3. What are some of the reasons that Cosmo ideology might appeal to the "pink collar" working class? What does Outlette think this tells us about how class is socially constructed?
4. What are some examples of "cultural capital" that Cosmo girls were told to acquire?
5. How is class tied to sexuality in the Cosmo girl's world? How is "working class" sexuality deployed toward "middle class" goals?
6. Think about the girls' and women's magazine you know about. How are they like, and how are the unlike the Cosmo in its early years? What has changed, and what has remained the same over the intervening years?
7. In what ways are men's magazine's like "Men's Health" like and unlike these women's magazines? How are softcore men's magazines like "Playboy" and "Penthouse" like and unlike the "Cosmo" described by Outlette?
8. How are the black female characters represented in "Living Single" like and how are they unlike the Cosmo girl? What economic similarities and differences might account for some of these comparisons?
9. What is the range of black female types represented by "Living Single"?
10. To what extent and in what ways to production issues account for some of these representations?
11. In what ways and to what extent does Queen Latifah's "womanist" character challenge the rest of the gender representations in the show? How much of this challenge arises from Latifah's wider reputation in the world of pop culture?
12. How do the gender dynamics of "Living Single" get played out in other examples of contemporary black culture on TV, in films, or in music?