Essay by karenUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, November 1996

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"Madonna's intuitive grasp on the televisual world in

which we live- of the medium's possibilities for engaging

spectators in diverse ways- that in part accounts for her

success. She is the supreme television heroine." (E. Ann

Kaplan 271)

"What are the main theories which we have studied so

far and how have they affected how you view television?"-

This is the question which this paper is supposed to answer.

Obviously there is not enough time or space in which to

discuss every theory which we have touched on. As a

compromise I decided to write about a topic to which almost

every theory that we have discussed can be applied: MTV and

the "Madonna Phenomenon".

As E. Ann Kaplan stated in her article on feminist

criticism, Madonna is truly the ultimate television heroine.

A discussion on contemporary popular culture and especially

on media culture could never be complete without bringing up

Madonna. She can be discussed in terms of feminism,

ideology, hegemony and commercialism as seen in both

Kaplan's as well as in John Fiske's article on British

Cultural Studies.

In order to properly explain how the "Madonna

Phenomenon" has become such an important concept in media

studies, one must look first at how influential MTV (music

television) has become in the last decade. MTV addresses the

"desires, fantasies, and anxieties" of young people(Kaplan

270) who have, like myself, grown up in a decade when all

the traditional institutions and theories that were always

respected, are being questioned. It has become the center of

discussions of many young people who have grown up idolizing

the figures shown on the network. MTV is a culture in

itself. With it's own news, fashion and music programs it

can easily be the considered the basis for the...