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October 5, 2011

Assistant Professor: "Brainy Girls Aren't in Style Anymore"

Assistant Professor of Media Studies Cindy Conaway's Research Examines the Evolving Image of Girls in the Media

Cindy Conaway

Glee” may be getting plaudits from the critics and viewers, but for SUNY Empire State College Assistant Professor Cindy Conaway, it’s symptomatic of a disturbing change in our culture away from celebrating “brainy” teen girls, to instead presenting talent as the all-encompassing female virtue. In the 1990s and early 2000s, there was Willow in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” who was good at math, and Rory in “Gilmore Girls” who was always reading, Conaway says, but on “Glee” you have Rachel, “who just wants to be a star.”

Conaway, professor of media studies and communications at SUNY Empire State College, has contributed to the book, “Geek Chic: Images of Smart Girls in Popular Culture,” edited by Sherri Inness (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). Besides working on a new book, recently, she and colleague Professor Sheila Aird have written about images of people of color in popular media particularly TV promotional “upfronts” in the webzine Flow.

She recently had a feature about her work published in the Herald Sun: