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ANCIENT ARCHETYPESIN MODERN MEDIA: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF

GOLDENGIRLS,LIVING SINGLE,AND SEXAND THE CITY

by

DEBORAH AN1\I MACEY

A DISSERTATION

Presentedto the Schoolof Journalism
andCommunication

andthe GraduateSchoolof the Universityof Oregon
in partial fulfillment of the requirements

for the degreeof
Doctorof Philosophy

September2008

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University of Oregon Graduate School

Confirmation of Approval and Acceptanceof Dissertation prepared by:

DeborahMacey

Title:

"Ancient Archetypesin ModernMedia: A ComparativeAnalysisof GoldenGirls, Living
Single,andSexandthe City"

This dissertationhasbeenacceptedandapprovedin partial fulfillment of the
requirementsfor the Doctorof Philosophydegreein theDepartmentof Journalismand
Communicationby:

DebraMerskin, Chairperson,JournalismandCommunication
CherisKramarae,Member,WomensandGenderStudies
Leslie Steeves,Member,JournalismandCommunication
BiswarupSen,Member,JournalismandCommunication
Karla Scott,Member,Not from U of 0
SuzanneClark, OutsideMember,English

andRichardLinton, Vice Presidentfor ResearchandGraduateStudies/Deanof the
GraduateSchoolfor the University of Oregon.

September6, 2008

Original approvalsignaturesareon file with theGraduateSchoolandthe Universityof
OregonLibraries.

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lifestyle threatenspatriarchalnorms. As the marriedmother,Mirandafalls in line with

patriarchalexpectations.While I do not believeMiranda'sfeminist perspectiveis

reducedwith this softeningof hercharacter,the perceptionof hermight seemless

threatening.

TheSexObjectArchetype

The charactersof BlancheDevereaux,RegineHunter,andSamanthaJones,from

GoldenGirls, Living Single,andSexandthe City respectively,embodythe sexobject

archetype.Thesecharactersarehyper-sexualized,superficial,andconsumedwith their

own beauty. They connectbeautyandsexwith power.

GoldenGirls

For thosewho do not rememberGoldenGirls well, whenI mentionthe seriesand

the sexobjectarchetype,theyareoften shocked.They do not quickly connecta series

aboutolderwomenwith sexuality,mostlikely dueto mainstreamnarrativesaboutthe

maturefemalebody. They haveforgottentheSouthernbeautyandcharmof Blanche

Devereaux.Blancheworks in an art gallery andbelievessheis aslovely astheexhibits.

It seemseveryotherline out of Blanche'smouthinvolvesself-admirationor sexual

innuendoor both. For example,In season1, episode21, Blanchesaysshe"treatsher

body like a temple." Sophiamocks,"Yeah,opento everyone,day or night." This type

of ribbing is commonamongthefour womenin GoldenGirls. Blanchecomparesherself

to oneof the Charlie'sAngelsstating,"I wasoncetold I borea striking resemblanceto

Cheryl Ladd ... but my bosomsareperkier." Dorothy scoffsat this remark,"Not evenif

you werehangingupside-downfrom a trapeze!"

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Blancheseesherselfasthe mostbeautifulandsophisticatedof the group. In

season2, episode20, shesaysto DorothyandRose,"I couldn'tgo on if I lookedlike the

two of you." In the sameepisodeBlancheconsiderscosmeticsurgeryafterattendinga

classreunionwheremanyof herclassmateshavehad"work done." Shedecidesagainst

plasticsurgerybecausethe doctor"lookedat my bodywith desire." Shesays,"if I could

landmyselfa doctor, I'd wait andhavehim payfor it '" besides,aslong asI havethe

threeof you to grow old with, I'll alwaysbethe youngest,andthe prettiest,andthe most

desirable."

Blancheexpectsthe otherwomento tell herhow beautifulshelooks. While

decidingwhat to wear,Blancheasks,"Sophia,by placingthis pearlnecklacebetweenmy

bosoms,doesit makeme look like I'm a sex-starvedslut who is in needof a manto

bed?" Sophiaquickly responds,"Yes!" "Good, thenpearlsit is," concludesBlanche. In

anotherepisode,Blancheinquires,"Whatdo you think of my new dress?Is it me?"

Sophiadescribesthedress,"It's too tight. It's too shOJtandshowstoo muchcleavagefor

a womanyour age." Dorothy interrupts,"Yes, Blanche. It's you."

In additionto Blanche'sbeauty,hersexualexploitsarealsoextravagant.Shehad

so manysexualpartnersthatshewore red to herwedding.Blanchesays,"Oh please,it's

badenoughhearingall thosesnickersasyou walk down the aisle,but me in white, evenI

couldn'tkeepa straightface." In season2, episode9, Blancheannouncesthatshe

"pretendedto be a virgin half a dozentimes." In speakingof hersexualexperience,

Blanchesays,

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