Kelsey Brannan is currently studying abroad at La Trobe University in Melbourne. She is working on finishing her Bachelor of Film and Media Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara.

The goal of this “journal blog” is to critically analyze ‘female types’ on Australian TV from the 1950’s to present day. How has the Oz female type on television influenced and constructed the Australian way of life? Televisions critics have written discourses on the impact of the Australian ‘national type’ portrayed on television, however, the national type they examine is often restricted masculine qualities. The practical, easygoing, and masculine Australian national type has dominated international and national Australian television. As a result,  Australian females types have been left in the background over the past 60 years of Australian television. Therefore, the development and history of Australian national female types remains hidden televisual history. This blog, however, seeks to uncover the evolution of the Australian ‘national’ female type on television and the ways female types have influenced international conceptions of ‘Australianness’.

In this project, I argue that there is not one legendary Australian national female type, but multiple types that extend across national boundaries and evolve through each genre. Moreover, within these female television types there exists a tension between the national and international perception of females on television. As a result,  Australian television often compromises and reifies Australian female types for international appeal. Through a series of five categories, (1) Early female types, (2) Females in televisual National events, (3) Females in Drag, (4) Females in Comedy , and (5) Females in True-Crime Television, I look at the ways in which females tele-identities have been compromised for transnational appeal.

In Journal 1 (Early), I examine two different early Australian television stars, (1) Muriel Steinbeck in the traditional soap opera Autumn Affair and (2) Lorrae Desmond the Australian international performer, and discuss the ways that these early television characters produce a Australian female national image that is both contradictory and dependent upon international influence.  In Journal 2 (Nation), I analyze the tele-documentary, Australia Daze structures Australia Day as a masculine performance and implications of this patriarchal structure on the females types interviewed within the tele-film. In Journal 3 (Drag), I contend that Barry Humphries cross dressing underscores Australian women’s “in-between” place in Australian identity. In Journal 4 (Comedy), I look at the ways that Kath and Kim’s unruliness presents a paradox and reifies the Australian female type as drongo for international appeal. In Journal 5 (True-Crime), I insist that the overtly erotic female television stars in the true crime series Underbelly constructs national female identity as powerless.

Some thoughts on journaling. Journaling is often associated with women- a private space for them to express their thoughts, feelings, and desires. In the past 20 years, Journals have begun to become more public and academic. With the onset of blogs, women and men have created public documentation of their travels, cooking, art, and everyday activities. In addition, Academic journals have been ways for scholars, men and women, to have articles published on a variety of issues. I hope that this blog is a step forward to synthesizing academics with personal reflection. Cinthia Cannett wrote in her book, “Gender and the Journal,”  that the Journal is like a “desk overflowing with texts, some neatly filed, most shoved into the nearest slot or drawer, many piled in bundles on the writing surface itself.  Thus, I see the journal as a complex set of forms, styles, functions that vary over time, that span the personal, familial, social, and public domains of discourse, and that implicitly inform our current views of academic journaling. But I also see the journal as the container itself, as a locus, a site of writing, a palimpsest variously written over by different ideas of self, the world, and the word…the journal is both the seed and the container, Aunt Jane’s quilt and the sewing, a grandmother’s desk or hold-all trunk, a Pandora’s Box….” (192)


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