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Netflix at the Nexus

Content, Practice, and Production in the Age of Streaming Television

Edited By Theo Plothe and Amber M. Buck

Netflix’s meteoric rise as an online content provider has been well documented and much debated in the popular press and in academic circles as an industry disrupter, while also blamed for ending TV’s "Golden Age." For academic researchers, Netflix exists at the nexus of multiple fields: internet research, information studies, media studies, and television and has an impact on the creation of culture and how individuals relate to the media they consume. Netflix at the Nexus examines Netflix’s broad impact on technology and television from multiple perspectives, including the interface, the content, and user experiences. Chapters by leading international scholars in television and internet studies provide a transnational perspective on Netflix’s changing role in the media landscape. As a whole, this collection provides a comprehensive consideration of the impact of streaming television.

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Chapter 7. Programming Gendered Content: Industry, Post-feminism, and Netflix’s Serialized Exposition of Jessica Jones (Jason A. Smith / Briana L. Pocratsky / Marissa Kiss / Christian Rafael Suero)

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PROGRAMMING GENDERED CONTENT

Industry, Post-feminism, and Netflix’s Serialized Exposition of Jessica Jones

Jason A. Smith, Briana L. Pocratsky, Marissa Kiss, and Christian Rafael Suero

Streaming services offer a new way for audiences to engage with messages encoded in television programming, challenging the traditional format of network and cable television. In addition to this novel way to engage with content, streaming services have responded to the demand for more and better representations in television and film. Netflix has consciously attempted to offer original programming that complicates tired, and regularly problematic, status quo depictions. However, cultural texts associated with progressive depictions can (re)produce inequalities in the guise of progressive content, ultimately creating a new form of unequal representation or contributing to the solidification of preexisting tropes and stereotypes. Therefore, there is an urgent need for scholars to critically engage with the influx of programming content that is labeled as, or brands itself as, progressive, alternative, or diverse as a means to distinguish itself in the market.

This chapter addresses content of Netflix programming through a case study of the character Jessica Jones. As a product of the Netflix/Marvel television partnership, Jones is a character who appeared in both her own self-titled and individual show, Jessica Jones, and The Defenders, an ensembled cross-over mini-series. Utilizing a media industries approach on the “interrelation of macro-political and micro-political analyses” (Johnson, 2009, p. 57) of ← 113 | 114 → Netflix programming, we highlight...

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