Published articles

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Why the Kitchen Computing Dream of the 80s Never Caught On — Vice Motherboard. In which I look at some curious attempts to turn the kitchen into a database.

Apartment Therapy, Everyday Modernism, Aspirational Disposability — Television & New Media. In which I pull apart the Internet’s obsession with midcentury modernism and Ikea hacking.

Logics of Lifestyle and the Rise of Scripps Networks, 1994-2010 — Feminist Media Histories. In which I figure out what we mean when we call something “lifestyle television” by looking at the launch of HGTV and the Food Network in the 1990s.

Entertaining Fantasies: Lifestyle and Social Life in 1980s America — Journal of Communication Inquiry. In which I blame Laura Ashley dresses, Victoria magazine, and other kinds of hyperfeminine domesticity in the 1980s on Martha Stewart’s loneliness.

Forthcoming books

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Lifestyle Media in American Culture: Gender, Class, and the Politics of Ordinariness under contract with Routledge Press.

What do we talk about when we talk about lifestyle? For a concept so broadly used, it is both everywhere and nowhere: a mirage that disappears when you get close. Even more mirage-like is “lifestyle media.” Media as far-reaching as Martha Stewart Living magazine, Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, and latte art on Instagram all seem to fall under its broad umbrella. Why do we care about other people’s lattes? Why, indeed, do we watch people on television cook and clean in their “real homes”? This book is a broad-reaching cultural history of lifestyle media in the US that answers these questions by uncovering the ideas about “ordinary life” and gender contained in a wide range of media from the 1960s to today. Drawing on historical documents and cultural analysis, I track through the hidden history of countercultural marketing, get realllll into Martha Stewart, discuss the launch of the Food Network and HGTV and why everyone got so into open floor plans in the 90s, explore why every beige suburban home on Trading Spaces looked the same (until Hildi Santo-Tomas turned them into beach cabanas or Japanese tea rooms, that is), and finally, I look at the rise of lifestyle blogging and why Pinterest makes us feel bad about ourselves.

I find that what animates these different forms of media in their different moments of popularity are actually cultural anxieties about what ordinary, middle-class life in America looks like, as economic and structural changes make middle-class status harder and harder to achieve.

Emergent Feminisms: Challenging a Postfeminist Media Culture co-edited with Jessalynn Keller, under review with Routledge Press.

This edited collection of essays attempts to make sense of our current cultural climate of renewed feminist politics and activism. If Beyonce can dance in front of the glowing word FEMINIST at the MTV VMAs, what is feminism today? Does it have the same political agenda as it did in earlier moments? How do girls and women engage with and circulate feminist ideas on old and new media platforms, and what kind of impact do they have on popular understandings of feminism? The essays in this book explore these questions in global and US contexts, examining Amy Schumer’s transgressive comedy, the Women Against Feminism Tumblr, feminist comedians challenging rape culture in India, Rachel Dolezal and the white Afro, Hong Kong’s feminist filmmakers, and more.