“Hillbillies,” “Welfare Queens,” and “Teen Moms”: American Media’s Class Distinctions

  • Diana Owen


Diana Owen focuses on the US media’s framing of social class in an historical context. After discussing the theoretical concept of media frames and its relevance for the analysis of media depictions of class, she addresses US-Americans’ self-identification with social class. The middle class, and the values associated with it, remains the central reference point of social respectability. Owen focuses her analyses on three negative stereotypes of the poor: The welfare queen, the teen mom, and the hillbilly. With a keen eye for the function of these stereotypes, Owen builds on the framing class approach to expound on its political portend. Such images, she reminds us, no matter how constructed they are, inexorably impact the social realities of the USA’s precariat.


Middle Class Lower Class Public Assistance Negative Stereotype Reality Television 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana Owen
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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