Professor Writes Book on Popular TV Show Gossip Girl

Professor Lori Bindig

News Story: April 1, 2015

Lori Bindig, professor of communications & media studies at Sacred Heart University, has written a new book entitled Gossip Girl: A Critical Understanding. Bindig is also director of the media literacy and digital culture graduate program and director of the performing arts minor at Sacred Heart University. She earned her doctorate in communication at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she was awarded the title of University Fellow in 2004. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies, a BFA in musical theater and a master’s in communication from the University of Hartford.

Her research spans a variety of fields, but primarily focuses on the intersection of media and youth culture, with an emphasis on femininity within consumer culture. Her newest book explores the cultural impact of the hit teen television show Gossip Girl. Through a critical cultural studies lens, Bindig examines the media industry practices responsible for the creation of the Gossip Girl book and television series, as well as the underlying values regarding the show’s representations of gender, race, class, sexuality and consumerism.

Bindig clearly enjoys researching this topic as she is also the author of the books Dawson’s Creek:  A Critical Understanding and The O.C.:  A Critical Understanding. “People think it’s silly to study television shows” she says. “But [we] spend more time with media than with anything else. We’re so immersed in media culture, it’s imperative that we understand the motivations of the people who create the media we watch, the underlying values that the media promote (that we often take for granted) and the impact media make on our lives.”

Studying television marketed to teens is important to Bindig because the programs “are targeted to young people just starting to form their world views,” she explains. “It’s important to understand how popular teen media, like Gossip Girl, might help shape teens’ world views.”

Because academic books are not marketed and sold the way mass market books are, it is too soon to assess sales. However, the book has already gotten positive reviews by many external reviewers. It was published by Lexington Press and is available through Amazon and other booksellers.