Genre and Gender in Popular Film Essay

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“ You cannot talk about genre without talking about gender.” Initially, this would appear to be a simplistic statement. On closer analysis, however, one fact becomes evident. It is the representation of gender which informs the genre of the text. Ismay Barwell , in her essay ‘ Feminist perspectives and narrative points of view’ states that “ Every text is gendered since every act of narration…..involves a process of selection….and the nature of that selection implies certain values” ( p.99). She makes the point that “ The desires, attitudes and interests which guide any choices made must be either male or female”( p.98 ). It is within this frame of reference, that the two texts will be analysed. In terms of the meaning of conflict…show more content…
The meaning of gendered conflict expressed by popular films, then, is not simply one of interpersonal tension between women and men involved in romantic /sexual relationships. It is also one of external pressures and attractions. The relevance of romantic/sexual conflict is indicated by the dynamic role played by such conflict in cinematic storytelling. A film's point of view may be identified according to four characteristics. The first involves identifying gendered reference in the titles of the films. For example, in the title Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade (Paramount, 1989) the reference is clearly male. The second involves identifying the sex of the leading character, or "star," of a given film. If a film gave equal billing to actors of both sexes, then both sexes are recognized and no clear point of view is acknowledged. However, the third characteristic clarifies such situations by identifying the sex of the leading character upon whose image the film opens. For example, in Titanic, it is the leading female character, an elderly survivor of the disaster at sea, to whom the audience is first introduced. The fourth, and perhaps most directly relevant characteristic, involves the relative amounts of screen presence given to leading female and male characters when they are not interacting with each other. In other words, when the leading woman is not interacting with the leading man, whom does the camera tend to follow? (
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