“Sluts” on the Small Screen

Female Promiscuity in Scripted American Television Series


In stock

About the Book

Viewers spend years laughing, crying, celebrating, and mourning with their favorite TV characters, but when those characters are promiscuous women, different viewers may have very different reactions. Both sexual freedom and sexual shame run deep in the cultural waters, so as TV’s promiscuous female characters navigate those choppy waters, what unfolds onscreen reflects—and ultimately shapes—perceptions of promiscuous women as liberated and adventurous, damaged and destructive, or even sick and gross.
This work examines fifteen promiscuous female characters and identifies trends in those portrayals—from what motivates their promiscuity to the reproaches they face, the revelations they have, and the redemption it seems they must undergo as a result of their “slutty” ways. This book aims not to promote promiscuity but to fight against the stigmatization of promiscuous women, which is a fight against puritanical patriarchy that benefits everyone.

About the Author(s)

Libbie Searcy is an associate professor in the humanities and communication department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Libbie Searcy
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 277
Bibliographic Info: 32 photos, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7712-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5008-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
Introduction 5
The Cast(aways) 7
Naming Her Without Name-Calling 14
Reading Through Two Lenses 19
Part I. Makings and Motives 25
1. Stunted Daughters 27
Daddy Issues 28
Mommy Problems 42
2. Jouissance Junkies 57
Sex as Sedative 61
Sex as Stimulant 69
3. Societal Outlaws 78
Script Flippers 79
Free Spirits and Big Brains 90
4. Horny Women and Other Unicorns 98
Wanting Only One Thing 100
Wanting It All 105
Part II. Reproaches, Revelations, and Redemptions 111
5. The Slut Life 113
The Privileged Two 114
Stigma Fighters 125
Hot Messes and Shit Shows 142
6. The Risky Life 158
Suffering Violence and Disease 159
Causing Trauma 173
Getting Healthy 186
7. The Good Life 198
Falling in Love 199
Giving Life 219
Afterword 237
Appendix A. Makings and Motives Character Chart 243
Appendix B. Reproaches, Revelations, and Redemptions Character Chart 245
Episodes Cited 247
Works Cited 257
Index 263