rusq: Vol. 52 Issue 3: p. 263
Sources: Encyclopedia of Gender in Media
Emily Dill

Executive Director, University Library of Columbus, Columbus, Indiana

While reference works discussing the media are nothing new, recent changes in how people interact with media, coupled with the unique perspective gender studies lends to the topic, make the Encyclopedia of Gender in Media an insightful overview of a complex and developing field of study. The intent of the work is to “explore the complexity of media across diverse platforms, technologies, and cultural, economic, and political landscapes” using the specific lens of gender (xx). Given the stated expansiveness of the topic, the coverage in this work is suitably wide-ranging. Kosut liberally defines media as a “multifaceted rubric that includes not only forms of media—from cable television and college radio to multi-user online video games—but also the production, consumption, and creation of media content” (xix). Kosut argues successfully that this work is needed because the ubiquity of media due in large part to pervasive technology in everyday lives has made the topic an “increasingly salient subject within the last few decades” (xx).

In addition to the novelty and comprehensiveness of the volume, it also benefits from good writing and organization. The encyclopedia’s introduction helps tease out this complex field of study by framing the sometimes seemingly disparate entries that follow and by fully describing the gendered lens through which they should be read. The entries are concise and highly readable. Overarching theories and paradigms that might be difficult reading in other volumes are distilled well. The entries themselves fall into a few broad categories. Many entries focus on “examining the role of media in enabling, facilitating, or challenging the social construction of gender in our society” (xxi). Other types of entries include those covering theorists, contemporary scholars, and alternative media (for example the Riot Grrrl movement). Some of the more interesting entries in the encyclopedia focus on new media, alternative media and user generated media, for example “Blogs and Blogging” and “Hacking and Hacktivism.” Special features of the volume include a rich chronology that outlines major milestones from 1792 (the publication of the first women’s magazine) to the present (recent legislation concerning same-sex marriage), a thematic reader’s guide, and a glossary.

This work is recommended for any academic library which supports gender studies or media studies programs.

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