In 1970, ABC, CBS, and NBC–the Big Three of the pre-cable television era–discovered the feminist movement. From the famed sit-in at Ladies Home Journal to multi-part feature stories on the movement’s ideas and leaders, nightly news broadcasts covered feminism more than in any year before or since, bringing women’s liberation into American homes.
In Watching Women’s Liberation, 1970: Feminism’s Pivotal Year on the Network News, Bonnie J. Dow uses case studies of key media events to delve into the ways national TV news mediated the emergence of feminism’s second wave. First legitimized as a big story by print media, the feminist movement gained broadcast attention as the networks eagerness to get in on the action was accompanied by feminists efforts to use national media for their own purposes. Dow chronicles the conditions that precipitated feminism’s new visibility and analyzes the verbal and visual strategies of broadcast news discourses that tried to make sense of the movement.
Groundbreaking and packed with detail, Watching Women’s Liberation, 1970 shows how feminism went mainstream–and what it gained and lost on the way.