20-Century Media In Douglas’ “Where The Girls Are” Essay Sample For College

Susan Douglas’s book Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female in the Mass Media is a highly successful attempt to portray the lives of women as being impacted by the media and culture. Douglas attempts to evaluate the effect of songs, TV shows, adverts, and other means of communication on the formation of females’ image in the last-century US. The book is full of interesting facts and humorous narrations, and it captivates the audience with its entertaining style. Where the Girls Are contains the analysis of many significant political, intellectual, and cultural developments in women’s history that have influenced the role of a woman in the twentieth-century US. The paper argues that Douglas’s explanation of how the media impacted women is closely associated with the explications of feminism and gives insight into a variety of issues that supported the appearance and development of this movement.

One of the most important intellectual developments mentioned in Douglas’s book is the origins of the space age. As the author remarks in the first chapter, in 1957, when the US girls were running around in their “coonskin caps,” the Soviets “were taking education seriously” (Douglas 21). Douglas mentions that because Russian children were trained in technology and science while the US girls had no idea of such subjects, there appeared a “cosmic humiliation” (21). The author also remarks that in the attempt to beat Russia’s achievements, the US government decided to allow girls to participate in the new education system rather than including only boys in it (Douglas 22). However, it was a fight of an intellectual versus patriotic dilemma. As Douglas puts it, she was confused because on the one side, she was encouraged to be an active citizen and a “competitive-oriented” American, while on the other side, she was expected to be a “self-abnegated, passive, dependent, primarily concerned with the well-being of others” girl (23).

The book also discusses crucial political events such as the Great Depression and World War II (Douglas 44-46). The author remarks that these events changed the lives of women greatly, inducing them to adjust their responsibilities and learn to start their lives all over again. Douglas notes that when the war ended, “America went back into the trenches” (49). However, that time those were not the trenches for soldiers but over women’s “proper” roles (Douglas 49). The “battle,” as the author puts it, took place in advertisements, TV shows, and films (49). Douglas emphasizes that society’s antifeminist views were so “vicious” and “vehement” that any attempts of the feminist movement of that time remained unnoticed (49). The outcomes of significant political events such as Depression or World War II were rather sad and unpromising for women. Females were seen as “womb-centered” and “compliant” (Douglas 50). The author even develops a term to describe the society’s attitude towards women in that period: “post-war schizophrenia” (Douglas 51). As Douglas mentions, the war had a tremendous impact not only on the country in general but also females’ lives in particular.

Along with intellectual and political issues, Douglas also analyzes cultural events in women’s history. In particular, she dwells on Sexual revolution and the role that music played in it (Douglas 83-86). According to Douglas, the creations of that time had a major impact on the development of females’ sexuality (84). A “girl” group The Shireless released their “revolutionary” song “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” in 1960, which, according to the author, inspired women of all ages to change their attitude to sexuality (Douglas 84). Moreover, the song altered the approach of female artists to the choice of themes for their songs. Girl group music encouraged women to release their struggles concerned with the Sexual revolution (Douglas 85). Douglas describes The Shireless’ songs as both “rebellious” and “boastful” and “self-abnegating” (90). While boys bands sang about “selfless girlfriends” and “martyrs to love,” girls’ songs were about confidentiality and openness when discussing sex and men (Douglas 90). Some songs were aimed at mocking the lives of those girls who got married to “some boring, respectable guy with no sense of danger or adventure” (Douglas 91). Thus, cultural life of the period described in Douglas’s book was rich in artistic works proclaiming feminist ideas and evoking females to view themselves not as subjects of men’s desires but as independent personalities able to build opinions and talk freely about sex.

Susan Douglas’s book contains the depiction of many events concerned with intellectual, cultural, and political developments. It is impossible to cover all of them in a short paper, but an attempt has been made to emphasize the most crucial ones. The book Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female in the Mass Media is an exciting journey through the most influential events and processes of the twentieth century. However, the author manages to illustrate the life of a woman as the reflection of society’s development during those years. Through a variety of vivid examples, Douglas describes the impact of different events on the formation of feminists’ views and the development of their movement.

Work Cited

Douglas, Susan J. Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female in the Mass Media. Three Rivers Press, 1995.

Industrial China And Europe In “Needham Puzzle”

The article under discussion analyzed and explained the notion of the “Needham puzzle.” The puzzle is about China’s growth and evolution: its tempo, its perspective, and the reason why China failed to become the country of the industrial revolution, although the capability of its evolution and growth was high even back in the fourteenth century. In short, the “Needham puzzle” compares the industrial growth capability of China in the fourteenth century to the actual industrial revolution of the eighteenth century in Europe.

Justin Yifu Lin, the author of the analyzed article, tries to show various examples and shares the presuppositions of scientists and historians who, in different periods, tried to explain why China developing fast in the early years then stagnated compared to the rest of the evolving world, especially, in terms of innovations and technologies. The number of hypotheses is large, but Lin argues almost all of them. His main presupposition is that there is a great difference between the empirical methods of China and Europe. As innovators, Chinese specialists are still the users of trial and error methods. Most of the technological inventions are based on an accidental experiment and its consequences, no matter if it is successful or not. European and Western methods are the planned scientific experiments observed, analyzed, and modified according to the transitional results.

It is also noteworthy that Lin admits the great influence of the political and cultural background on the speed and methods of industrial development in China, both in modern and earlier periods. Being a nation of a deep and strong traditional belief and having quite a large population, China seems to use inner intellectual resources more than correlate it with outward knowledge. In other words, creativity was not widely-spread in premodern China. In modern history, the country relies more on the inner economic resources for innovations, using little of the existing world experience. This fact concludes that the industrial revolution occurred not in China of the fourteenth century, but in Europe and much later, because of the low research capacity inside the country.

Basing the economic system on agriculture and smaller inner markets in premodern times, China’s inventions were breaking for the acute problem solving; they continued using this pattern despite the development of the scientific experiment in Europe. As a result, it led to a stagnant industrial position, compared to the rest developing world. It is also possible to mention that the large population usually leads to the developmental stages in a country in terms of economy. Nevertheless, in the eighteenth century with its industrial development, the large population of China no longer played the leading innovative role because the world scientific and industrial evolution put education in the first place and made it the turning point for acquiring knowledge (Lin, 1995).


Lin, J.Y. (1995). The Needham Puzzle: Why the industrial revolution did not originate in China. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 43(2). Web.

“12 Angry Men” Drama Movie


This is an American drama movie where a group of 12 men is involved in discussing the judgment for a murder case involving a slum boy. The twelve jurors argue about the evidence presented in this case where an 18-year-old young man is claimed to have killed his father (Chandle, 2006). After the final submissions are made, the twelve men then move to a small courtroom to determine whether the young man is guilty of a death sentence. The deliberations continue for several hours without a real decision being made because American law requires that criminal trials should be decided by the majority decision of jurors (Ellsworth, 2003).

The movie starts in a courthouse where the final submissions about the boy’s murder case are made and the judge instructs a twelve-man bench to determine whether the boy is guilty of a death sentence. The entire jurors have a predetermined judgment- that the boy is guilty- with the exception of Henry Fonda. His decision annoys jurors Jack Warden and Ed Begley who regard all slum dwellers as wicked people (Chandle, 2006). Fonda proposes another vote after analyzing the evidence of two witnesses.

The secret ballot vote displaced the verdict to start shifting to a not guilty vote. Lee J. Cobb remains to be the only one convinced that the boy is guilty- a decision that Fonda disputes with facts. Various pieces of evidence are analyzed until all the jurors shift to a not guilty verdict at the end. The movie ends when the 12 men come out of the courtroom and as a show of togetherness Davis and McCardle exchange names (Chandle, 2006).

Attribution theory

This is a social psychological theory where people carefully investigate presented evidence to determine whether it can be linked to something. It focuses on the ability of individuals to investigate something and draw correct conclusions from the observations. This theory is supported by evidence from the journal of personality and social psychology. In this journal, a pre-determined judgment when subjected to factual evidence makes an individual change his mind (Chandle, 2006).

However, stereotype thinking makes individuals fear factual evidence and critical thinking. The journal explains the importance of critical thinking to determine the conclusions and judgment in a discussion. During a group discussion, everybody involved should consider the opinion of his colleague because this will make it easy to build a consensus. Other articles in the journal indicate that compliance forces people to make instant decisions so that they are not punished (Ellsworth, 2003).

Analysis of the theory

In this movie, the twelve jurors are involved in a critical examination of evidence to make a proper decision. Various social psychological theories have been used in this movie like perception and decision making, group behavior, and personality.

Perception and decision making

Henry Fonda disagreed with all other jurors to determine the fate of the slum boy. He complains that the evidence labeled to the boy is not true and should not be used to determine the fate of this case (Chandle, 2006). This decision does not go on well with some jurors who think that anybody who comes from the slum is guilty of a death sentence. The juror is affected by stereotype thinking in decision making.

It is an error in decision making because the decision-maker tends to blame the involved person rather than the situation in which the event occurred. For example, when the witness claims to have heard the boy vow to kill his father, this is not enough evidence that he committed the crime. Stereotype thinking caused the jurors to be biased in their decision. When they failed to realize that his father who was very old and could not use less than a minute to reach the door is another example of biasness of their decision.

Compliance also influences how people make decisions (Ellsworth, 2003). In the movie, the vote starts with most jurors claiming that the boy is guilty though others agree with this because of fear being punished. This is demonstrated when all the jurors finally agree that the boy is not guilty (Chandle, 2006).

Group Behavior

It is displayed in this movie when the jurors keep on changing decisions during the discussions. Jurors start the discussion with a majority judgment when the first vote is conducted and only Fonda holds a different opinion with the rest. In the second vote, facts on the evidence made some jurors change their judgment. It is important to critically examine the evidence before making a judgment to avoid conflicts during discussions (Ellsworth, 2003).

Questions should be asked whether somebody can kill if he vows to. When people are left to think alone they make important judgments. This enables them to gather factual evidence which helps them determine the best decision (Chandle, 2006).

A change in the vote in favor of a not guilty decision indicates critical thinking. Group thinking behavior is illustrated in the movie when finally the jurors decide to shift to a not guilty verdict which contradicts the initial stereotype thinking. The first vote was guilty because of group thinking behavior. During group discussions, it is also possible to shift to judgments that may not be intended by an individual. Henry Fonda agreed to accept the verdict of the second vote showing that group behaviors can force a shift in decision making.


Henry Fonda is the character in the movie whose personality influenced decision making. He argued with facts throughout the discussion and convinced other jurors. His ability to illustrate facts made his arguments accepted because he accommodated other ideas and he was not conservative (Ellsworth, 2003). This is illustrated when he pointed out clearly that he was not out to frustrate the decision of the majority but to express the facts.

His emotional ability also made his personality very good. When faced with a lot of stress he remained composed and confident. This was a contrast to the personality of juror 9 who could not control his emotions and even vowed to kill Fonda (Chandle, 2006). Emotions can lead to poor and biased judgment like when juror 9 claimed that the juror from the slum changed his mind without critically examining the evidence. A person should also be conscious when in discussions so that he is able to analyze the events in the discussion. Fonda was conscious enough to discover that the old man could not use seconds to reach the door. He went ahead and demonstrated this to convince the others.


Chandle, D. (2006) “The Transmission model of communication: Communication as Perspective Theory”. New York: Ohio University press.

Ellsworth, C. (2003). “One Inspiring Jury: Review of ‘Twelve Angry Men“.101 (6): 1387–1407.

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