Outskirts online journal

Victoria Kannen

Further information

About the author

Dr. Victoria Kannen is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies department at Huntington University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Her areas of interest are found at the intersections of privilege, identities, the body, higher education and popular culture. She has been published in Gender, Place, and Culture, Teaching in Higher Education, and Journal of Gender Studies. She will also talk about The Golden Girls to anyone who will listen.

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Publication details

Volume 35, November 2016

“This is mud on our faces! We’re not really black!” Teaching gender, race, and age through humour in The Golden Girls



This paper begins from the premise that humour in popular culture is an excellent pedagogical strategy for teaching about the complexities of sexism, racism, and ageism to students in higher education. In specific, the 1980s American television sitcom, The Golden Girls offers the possibility to explore the subjects of gender, sexuality, whiteness, mixed race, interracial relationships, “blackface,” age, class, and familial relations. This paper analyzes one episode of The Golden Girls entitled “Mixed Blessings” in order to consider the ways in which an older/unfamiliar representation fosters critical dialogue in the classroom, which can enable oppression and privilege to become tangible and discussable subjects, while also encouraging learning to be joyful. 


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