Representations
The Tudors has a predominantly masculine narrative but interestingly not a
primary male target audience – ...
Representation of gender in 'The Tudors'
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Representation of gender in 'The Tudors'

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Representation of gender in 'The Tudors'

  1. 1. Representations The Tudors has a predominantly masculine narrative but interestingly not a primary male target audience – the story is often told from a male point of view with audiences asked to think what Henry V11 will do next or what he is thinking. Many scenes show Henry and Brandon horse riding and male bonding discussing in graphic detail their latest conquest or sexual desires and yearning. Their hyper real masculinity reflects the time period and their power and status accompanying the need to satisfy a considerable libido. Women are ‘chosen’ by Henry but on occasion retain some control over narrative outcomes but are always framed for the male gaze and sexualised as objects of desire for male pleasure. Myers as Henry himself is framed at times for the female gaze during key seduction scenes. Binary oppositions in The Tudors show two distinctly different representations of femininity – young, attractive and vibrant or older, dowdy and dressed conservatively with the primary role of servant or helper the younger, more successful female characters, invariably the Queen. Hegemonic representations of gender in series 4 show Henry V11 deliberately choosing a young, naive but attractive 17 year old Katherine Howard in the hope that she will bear him children. Instead she is flirtatious and displeases the King leading to her ultimate demise. Her character has many negative traits and she is regularly seen as childish but also high maintenance and demanding much to the chagrin of her ladies in waiting. A female victim narrative underscores her representation which is apparent throughout the four series of The Tudors; Henry brutally sends two of his wives to their death, annuls marriages to Anne of Cleves and Catherine of Aragon after 24 years while Jane Seymour died shortly after childbirth. The relationships between the wives are represented as almost incestuous with many working in each other’s service whereupon they are ‘discovered’ by Henry

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