Women in Film as Portrayed in the Movie, Double Indemnity Essay

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Women in Film as Portrayed in the Movie, Double Indemnity

Introduction
American commercial cinema currently fuels many aspects of society. In the twenty-first century it has become available, active force in the perception of gender relations in the United States. In the earlier part of this century filmmakers, as well as the public, did not necessarily view the female“media image” as an infrastructure of sex inequality. Today, contemporary audiences and critics have become preoccupied with the role the cinema plays in shaping social values, institutions, and attitudes. American cinema has become narrowly focused on images of violent women, female sexuality, the portrayal of the “weaker sex” and subversively portraying women
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Cassie Carter, author of Woman, Red in Tooth and Claw, makes an interesting point stating, “The male avant-garde deliberately adopted the image of the base and violent woman in order to free themselves of the constricting image of the rational and civilized man…while the male avant-garde presents the decadent state as liberating, feminist performance artists who adopt Angry Essentialism often inadvertently reinforcea conception of the ‘feminine’ which validates the oppression of women”(2). Carter then further states, “Whilet hese performances attempt to obliterate the image of woman as the oppressed,nurturing Earth Mother, they merely invoke her mirror image, the Devouring Mother” (2).

Double Indemnity, in its attempt to lend its female character more strength and control, no longer situating her as the secure center of the family, but rather its destroyer, ironically seems to highlight a played-out submissive, weak, abused or lonely and alienated image of Phyllis. The varieties of passive,subordinate or pacified women are classic throughout the history of film. Janet Todd states, “Film teaches us how to see and understand from the point of view of the dominant, male-orientated ideology” (132). Cinema has found an audience for the portrayal of the “weaker sex” (Todd 120). This is an example of cinema’s skewed portrayal of “womanhood”