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WGBH Media Library and Archives

New Television

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Summary
This episode of "New Television" features Lynn Hershman's "Desire, Inc."
Lynn Hershman's "Desire, Inc." documents a media experiment. Hershman created several advertisements featuring a bleached-blonde model, which played with media and cultural fantasies of women. The advertisements gave a number for viewers to call, and Hershman interviewed some of the respondents. This story comes out slowly through narration by Hershman, the advertisements themselves, the diverse responses of viewers, and interviews with the model, Marion Grabansky. Hershman describes the advertisements as "electronic boomerangs" intended to solicit reactions. Most of the four respondents comment on the context the advertisements were viewed in, some with anger over the broadcast of an advertisement, which they perceive as reinforcing misogynist stereotypes, during an episode of "Cagney and Lacey" that dealt with rape. Hershman describes the project as "participatory television," or television that the viewer can talk back to. At many points in the work, she suggests a relationship between the importance of reproductive technologies in women's lives and the reproducing technologies of the media.
Topics
Interviews, Television advertising, Women in mass media
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