Work-Famly Debate in Popular Culture: Can Women and Men Have It All?

Author: Lem, Ellyn A. and Dunn, Timothy John
Year:2015
Pages:216
ISBN:0-7734-3529-8
978-0-7734-3529-2
Price:179.95
An insightful examination of gender roles in the workplace and how the competing demands of family-work life can be balanced. As a pop culture starting point, the study begins with an examination of the ensuing media frenzy and passionate discussions resulting from the Atlantic Magazine cover story, “Why Women Can’t Have it All” by former Princeton Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter and widens its scope into popular films and television.

Reviews

From the Foreword: The Work-Family Debate in Popular Culture

"Media matters. How we see and depict ourselves in popular culture both reflects and shapes who we are. That is the central insight of Ellyn Lem and Timothy Dunn’s jaunt through the way the “work-family debate” is represented in books, TV shows, and movies. It is a great read, one that I found to be both enlightening and instructive.
Reading The Work-Family Debate in Popular Culture is a great way to bring yourself up to date on the current state of an entire set of debates among other women and a few men, including Debora Spar, Joan Williams, Hanna Rosin, Liza Mundy, and Stephen Marche.
Finally, as a former academic myself, it is refreshing to read an academic study that is attentive to the literature and grounded in empirical work but that is also accessible to the lay reader. I am wiser for having read The Work-Family Debate in Popular Culture. I also have a long list of books to read and TV shows and movies to see!
Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter,
President of the New America Foundation


“Lem and Dunn in The Work-Family Debate in Popular Culture: Can Women and Men “Have it All”? do an outstanding job exploring one of the compelling issues of contemporary culture and politics in America: can we—men and women—have it all? Their analysis uses the lens of popular culture to deconstruct and evaluate the arguments surrounding this constant and complex discussion. Lem and Dunn have come at this research from a variety of academic disciplines—and their book is both rigorous and accessible, taking the reader through the many permutations of this fraught debate while examining the perspectives that come through popular culture artifacts. This is a great book, designed for the grad student in cultural studies or Women’s Studies as much as for the reader who really enjoyed Friday Night Lights or The Good Wife. The authors have embraced the dialogue around having it all and are well versed in the media’s and the blogosphere’s many articles and debates—from a host of distinct perspectives—and they tackle the back and forth of the debate itself and the ways that it has captured American imaginations within our cultural zeitgeist. You will learn a lot about the conundrum surrounding this elusive goal of work/life/family “balance” while you enjoy an engagingly written, spot-on narrative.”
Lilly J. Goren,
Professor of Political Science,
Carroll University

Author of You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby: Gender, Politics, and Popular Culture and Women and The White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics

“This work contributes to scholarship by making careful links between social thought and the culture that surrounds us, it makes a contribution to the literature of Women’s and Gender Studies, Media studies, and Popular cultural Studies because the authors avoid oversimplification even as they write clearly and engagingly.”
-Elizabeth Zanichkowsky,
Associate Professor,
University of Wisconsin – Waukesha


“The authors advance gender scholarship by carefully examining questions as they uniquely effect men and women. Ultimately, this is a work that will easily find a home in courses on popular and American culture, gender studies, film studies, and more.”
Joseph J. Foy,
Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs,
University of Wisconsin


“This book provides an insightful look at the depiction of household gender roles in popular culture, and changing attitudes and approaches to the work-family relationship we see in movies and on television…this book offers a valuable conversation about the complex relationship between popular culture and our society’s approach to the work-family debate.”
-Timothy Dale,
Assistant Professor Political Science,
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse


"... in calm, clear prose, they outline the issues, address the obstacles and consider possible solutions through analzying popular culture - primarly, movies and TV shows - depict the struggles of women and men to have satisfying work and family lives." -Journal Sentinel

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Foreword by Anne-Marie Slaughter
Authors’ Preface
Chapter 1. Working Women, Maternal Men:
Revisiting Gender Roles in the New Millennium
Chapter 2: How Does She Do It:
Maybe Don’t Ask
Chapter 3: “Daddy’s Home”…
More Than Before
Chapter 4: “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose”:
What the Future Holds
Works Cited
Works Consulted
Index