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Representation 2 2012

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  • 1. Theories of Representation Looking at Gender
  • 2. Representation of Women in Film The treatment of women in film is related to the broader historical context, the stereotypes depicted, the extent to which the women were shown as active or passive, and the amount of screen time given to women.
  • 3. Laura Mulvey • Mulvey’s work is influenced by the theories of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan • She suggested that women are objectified and connoted “to-be-looked-at-ness” in films. • They become an object of desire and are positioned for the erotic pleasure of the male viewer. • They are positioned for the ‘male gaze’ • Mulvey suggests that there were two distinct modes of the male gaze: "voyeuristic" (i.e. seeing women as 'whores') and "fetishistic" (i.e. seeing women as 'madonnas').
  • 4. Molly Haskell: From Reverence to Rape 1974 Woman's film characters • Three types of women characters appear in the woman's film, according to Haskell: (160-62) The Extraordinary woman – For example, characters played by Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis. – These women portray strong, powerful figures. The Ordinary woman – These women are common, passive, and often a victim. – They are precursors to soap opera characters. The Ordinary who becomes extraordinary woman. – The victims who rise, or endure.
  • 5. • She suggests that women in films are concerned with both the domestic and the romantic are they are both entwined • She outlines the following narrative themes that women are involved in; • Sacrifice: – A woman must sacrifice herself for her children. – Her children for their own welfare. – Marriage for her lover. – Her lover for marriage or for his own welfare. – Her career for love. – Love for her career. • Affliction: – Women holds a secret. An illness or disease. – Martyrdom is proportionate to guilt.(170) • Choice: – Normally two suitors. – Commonly the male is only curable by "her." The man is a clergyman or confirmed bachelor. • Competition: – The heroine must do battle with the woman whose (husband, fiance, lover) she loves.
  • 6. Carol Clover Men, Women and Chainsaws. •According to Clover, the final girl is typically sexually unavailable or virginal, avoiding the vices of the victims – de-sexualized so not to have sexual appeal to males. •She sometimes has a unisex name(e.g., Teddy, Billie, Georgie, Sidney). Thus, making some affiliation with males. •During the final girl’s confrontation with the killer, Clover argues, she becomes masculinized through "phallic appropriation" by taking up a weapon, such as a knife or chainsaw against the killer. Again, suggesting that whilst women can be heroic and independent they depend on men. •Clover argues that for a film to be successful, although the Final Girl is masculinized, it is necessary for this surviving character to be female, because she must experience abject terror, and many viewers would reject a film that showed abject terror on the part of a male. So masculinity is still championed.
  • 7. Masculinity • The more closely that a man conforms to expected and what we have all come to accepts as traditional characteristics of masculinity, the closer he is to being a “real man.” As Brannon pointed out, the pressure is strong to live up to this idealization of masculinity. • Connell suggests that one version of masculinity is sanctioned as the one to which men should adhere, which he termed hegemonic masculinity. This version of masculinity attempts to subordinate femininity as well as less accepted versions of masculinity, such as male homosexuality. It is one that champions patriarchal control and one which Western society has come to “normalize” and manipulate society to view as “common sense”. • Bereska (2003) argues that despite masculinity undergoing drastic changes in recent times,evidence indicates little change in hegemonic masculinity and strong representation of the four themes of the male sex role (stoic, aggressive, dependable and not feminine).
  • 8. Hegemonic masculinity • Hegemonic masculinity is competitive and reflects a tendency for males to seek to dominate other males and subordinate females • Characteristics such as drive, ambition, claims to self-reliance, and heterosexuality. • McCormack defines other hegemonic traits: “homophobic, misogynistic, and aggressive
  • 9. Hypermasculinity • Hypermasculinity is a term for the exaggeration of male stereotypical behaviour, such as an emphasis on physical strength, aggression, body hair, body odour, and virility. • Mosher and Sirkin (1984) have operationally defined hypermasculinity or the “macho personality" as consisting of the following three variables: a) "callous sexual attitudes toward women", b) "the belief that violence is manly", and c) "the experience of danger as exciting"
  • 10. TASK Create spider diagrams for the characters in your trailer. Note down key terms that describe their personality/representation then outline how each of these aspects has been constructed (sound, cinematography, editing and mise-en scene).