Reporting the Women’s movement: News coverage of second-wave Feminism in US and UK Newspapers, 1968-1982
This article examines and compares how four British and American newspapers reported the second-wave feminist movement during its most active political period, 1968–1982. Through the use of both content analysis and critical discourse analysis, this study reveals that despite sociopolitical differences, both US (The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune) and UK (The Times, Daily Mirror) newspapers used a similar range of discourses when addressing the women’s movement and its members. While coverage overall can best be described as fragmented and contradictory, I argue that on the surface, there was significantly more “positive” or supportive articles on the women’s movement than previous scholars have noted. However, these news stories rarely addressed the ways in which capitalism and patriarchy oppress women as a group, and often created a demarcation between “legitimate” and “de-legitimate” feminists, the latter being anyone who deviates from traditional feminine norms. Such constructions therefore were not only politically incapable of challenging women’s oppression, but helped construct feminism as a dirty word, a connotation which still exists today. This paper will also address the emergence and eventual dominance of oppositional discourses, examining the patriarchal and capitalist ideologies used in both countries to rebuff the movement, its members and their goals.
Citation:Mendes, K. (2011) Reporting the Women’s Movement: News Coverage of Second-Wave Feminism in US and UK Newspapers, 1968-1982. Feminist Media Studies, 11 (4) pp. 483-498.
Research Group:Media Discourse Group
- Leicester Media School