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The Woman Fantastic in Contemporary American Media Culture$
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Elyce Rae Helford, Shiloh Carroll, Sarah Gray, and Michael R. II Howard

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496808714

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2018

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496808714.001.0001

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(p.3) Introduction
The Woman Fantastic in Contemporary American Media Culture

Elyce Rae Helford

Shiloh Carroll

Sarah Gray

, Michael R. Howard II
University Press of Mississippi

Who or what is the “Woman Fantastic,” and what does it mean to engage critically with this figure in today’s American media landscape? Just positing this question offers the beginnings of an answer. As the contrast between “women” and “woman” suggests, the Woman Fantastic is a gendered textual and cultural construction. Hence, “she” is entirely fantastic—less projection, stereotype, or imago than symbol, sign, or trope, an always already artificial creation. Within the realm of the popular, “she” is a sales pitch, the offer of a model or mask through which the feminine and/or female can be reified. Woman always denies the emperor has no clothes, and in this way Woman is always fantastic....

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