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The anthology by Jeffrey Williams and John McGowan - Accurate Essays

The anthology by Jeffrey Williams and John McGowan

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Close Reading Paper 354

The anthology by Jeffrey Williams and John McGowan is a comprehensive compilation by various scholars who address various areas, ranging from cultural studies, deconstruction and poststructuralism,  formalism, gay and lesbian criticism and queer theory, Marxism, new historicisms, phenomenology, and hermeneutics, and reader-response theory. The anthology also comprises of works by scholars who dwell on postcolonial theory and criticism, psychoanalysis, race and ethnicity studies, structuralism and semiotics, and romantic theory among many other concepts. The study relies on the works of three feminist scholars who address the issues women encounter in the society. Virginia Woolf, Hannah Arendt, and Judith Butler describe what they think are the primary concerns women encounter in the society and explain why the population deserves fair treatment. However, that is not the case as it appears in Bombshell by Jay Roach and The Morning Show by Jay Carson where women become victims of sexual violation and lose their job under unclear circumstances. In this paper, I argue that Woolf, Arendt, and Butler’s works on feminism call for an end to prejudice against women such as it appears in Bombshell and The Morning Show.


The close reading centers on works on feminist theory and criticism that feature prominently in the anthology. One particular work of feminism that features in the compilation is Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own that addresses the status of women while addressing some of the issues that hinder them from being independent. The author asserts in the famous essay that women deserve working opportunities that would make them independent (Williams and McGowan 857). According to the author, many years of educational and financial shortcomings and prejudice have hampered women’s progress and deterred their creativity (Williams and McGowan 858). Arendt’s The Human Condition also features in the anthology and it describes how work is an integral aspect of human life and experience. Arendt believes that every person deserves an opportunity to work because engaging in labor activities support human activities (Williams and McGowan 1169). Butler, on her part, examines the relationship between sexuality, gender, and sex in Gender Trouble. Butler claims that no person should be subject to sexual violation because of their gender (Williams and McGowan 2375). Based on the close reading, it is apparent women deserve to enjoy their rights and freedoms. Nonetheless, what the feminists advocate for is not what really happens in real life. Women are still subject to numerous forms of mistreatment that leave many dissatisfied. Women face significant constraints at the workplace, including the risk of losing their job and sexual violations.

Evidence to Support Claim

What Bombshell and The Morning Show illustrate is a complete contrast of how employers should treat their workers. In Bombshell, Megyn Kelly faces harsh response in the line of duty while interviewing Donald Trump. Whereas Megyn deserves a kind response, Trump charges against her, which makes the journalist very upset (Roach). On the other hand, Gretchen Carloson who works for Fox, specifically in the Fox and Friends show is demoted from her position because of allegations that she touched on sensitive matters some that would tarnish the organizational leader’s reputation (Bombshell). Nevertheless, it emerges that Carlson encounters all these problems because of what seems to be an unrelenting move towards exposing Roger Ailes who sexually harasses her (Roach). The fact that Fox’s boss manages to sexually harass the female host is a strong indication that women are still vulnerable to sexual harassment and existing legal frameworks do not offer enough and guaranteed protection.

Analyzing Evidence

Films and other artistic compositions and productions have always served fundamental roles in highlighting the issues individuals, communities, and societies experience and through keen analysis of these productions it is possible to understand the key concerns that require critical attention. Thus, what Bombshell and The Morning Show present about the prejudice women encounter is alarming and calls for action. It is significant to implement some of the recommendations that Woolf, Arendt, and Butler think will adequately address the issues women encounter at the place of work and other settings. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify certain elements in both films that depict women empowerment. Women emerge as enlightened people who know their rights, which is the reason why the female victims in both instances choose to speak up against the violations they experience at the place of work. It is the reason why Gilbert and Gubar (112) assert that “The woman who speaks out is branded ‘an active monster’; the woman who remains silent risks madness.” The women know that it may cost them their job to indulge in such a practice but still go ahead to take the risk. Such courage as demonstrated by violated women is what is needed to transform workstations into safer places for women (Gilbert and Gubar 172). Moreover, the film depicts women as strong people who can endure pain before expressing their dissatisfaction and displeasure. It takes much humility to live in pain and only strong people can overcome such trying moments.


The study is an analysis of how occurrences in Bombshell and The Morning Show illustrate that women are still vulnerable to sexual violation and mistreatment at the place of work. The happenings in both films contradict what feminists such as Woolf, Arendt, and Butler advocate for in the anthology. Both films illustrate that women still experience constraints that subject them to mistreatment at the place of work, including the risk of sexual violation. The study urges all parties to consider treating women well, particularly at the place of work where they earn income to sustain their needs and that of their loved ones.

Works Cited

Carson, Jay. The Morning Show. USA: Echo Films, 2019.

Gilbert, Sandra and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. Yale University Press, 2000.

Roach, Jay. Bombshell. USA: Bron Studios, 2019.

Williams, Jeffrey and John McGowan. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. W. W. Norton & Company, 2018.

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