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Open Access Publications from the University of California

MTV’s ‘HILLS’ of Money: How MTV Tapped the Postfeminist Demographic in an Age of Extreme Media Convergence


Using "The Hills" as an illustrative text, I am going to discuss the relationship between surveillance and disciplinary femininity, in general, in order to understand the contradictory tension surrounding surveillance for young women like Heidi Montag in today’s mediated environment. In order to do this I’ll contrast the girl’s rhetoric of empowerment and claims to be role models with the ways in which the show’s surveillance practices and ties to consumer culture are helping to produce, reproduce or strengthen some of the disciplinary aspects of femininity that already operate in society. I’ll do this by reading "The Hills" through the lens of Sandra Lee Bartky’s 1990 critique of Foucault’s theory on the discipline tied to surveillance.

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