Christina H. Hodel

Bio: Christina Hodel is an award-winning filmmaker and film/television scholar. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Bridgewater State University where she teaches courses in both filmmaking and film studies. Christina’s current research explores issues of gender, identity, and girl power in contemporary “tween” television. She has published in Jump Cut, Girlhood Studies, In Media Res, the Alberta Journal of Educational Research, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Studies in the Humanities, and the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television.

Abstract: On the Lifetime network’s reality television series, Dance Moms (2011-2019), stage moms fight with their daughters’ dance coach over costumes, choreography, and abusive teaching methods. Unrealistic portrayals of women and instances of gender displacement are examined to understand what television viewers are exposed to concerning the stereotyped imagery. Textual analysis reveals how women on the program have agency mostly when they outwardly exhibit traits traditionally associated with men. This study demonstrates how the series portrays women as using or forgoing typical gender attributes when contesting hierarchy, making apparent how adverse gender stereotypes play a role in conflict negotiation in popular media. 


Feminism, Reality Television, Gender, Class, Dance Moms, Motherhood, Gender Displacement

The Pyramid Effect: Gender, Class, and Sass on Dance Moms

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