Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong grew up deep in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, then escaped to New York to live in a succession of very small apartments and write about pop culture. In the process, she became a feminist, a Buddhist, and the singer/guitarist in an amateur rock band. She also spent a decade on staff at Entertainment Weekly, cofounded SexyFeminist.com, and now writes for several publications, including Women’s Health, O, Writer’s Digest, Fast Company, and New York‘s Vulture. Her collaboration with Heather Wood Rudulph, Sexy Feminism, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in March 2013.

Armstrong's latest books are Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And all the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic, and, with Heather Wood Rudulph, Sexy Feminism.

From her Q & A with Claire Zulkey:

What do you think are examples of pop culture that got feminism right both in terms of definition/idealism but also by demonstrating it in an everyday, practical way?

I feel a professional obligation to say this, but I also believe it: The Mary Tyler Moore Show. They weren't trying to be feminist, but the movement was so much in the air at the time, and they had so many feminist-identified women writing for the show, that it came through. I always say Mary Richards was the original Sexy Feminist. She really came into her empowerment throughout the series, and we saw her argue for equal pay to her male predecessor, we saw her talk about the pressures of being the only woman in the newsroom, and we saw her (mostly in later years) assert herself strongly with men. In one of the last episodes, she even asked Lou Grant out. It didn't work out, but still.

You've written books about The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the Mickey Mouse Club. What are some books about shows you'd read if they were written (but don't want to write yourself?)

I love this question, because I can tell you that when figuring out my next book (which is now officially Seinfeld) I basically just pored over lists of TV shows. The ones I feel like I definitely can't tackle are ...[read on]
Learn more about the author and her work at Jennifer Keishin Armstrong's website.

My Book, The Movie: Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted.

The Page 99 Test: Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted.

--Marshal Zeringue