Branded Women in U.S. Television examines how The Real Housewives of New York City, Martha Stewart, and other female entrepreneurs create branded televised versions of the iconic U.S. housewife. Using their television presence to establish and promote their own product lines, including jewelry, cookware, clothing, and skincare, they become the primary physical representations of these brands. While their businesses are serious and seriously lucrative, especially reality television enables a certain representational flexibility that allows participants to create campy and sometimes tongue-in-cheek personas. Peter Bjelskou explores their invative branding strategies, specifically the complex relationships between their entrepreneurial endeavors and their physical bodies, attires, tastes, and personal histories. Generally these branded women speak volumes about their contemporaneous political environments, and this book illustrates how they, and many other women in U.S. television history, are indicative of larger societal trends and structures.
Peter Bjelskou teaches American history, politics, and cultural studies at the University of Copenhagen.