Women 's Representation Of Women

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From 2002 to 2012, women wrote and directed 12 per cent of feature films made in New Zealand by New Zealanders. When you consider that film is a medium through which to tell the stories of a nation, it would seem that the views of women are seriously underrepresented. Would having more female directors mean that stories in which women play a central role other than that of sexual object would become more prevalent? I think the answer is yes. For although it is possible for male directors to direct a story in which a female is the protagonist, in modern mainstream cinema this is extremely rare. Women being represented fairly in cinema is important, as “the representation of women as subsidiary characters to men in main/male stream films not only validates women 's position in society as sexual objects, but women 's role in the ideological realm of the masculine construct of identity and nation-state” (Hossain, 2011). But then, are all films made by women directors guaranteed to represent women in a way that is different to that of male directors? This is the question that I will attempt to answer throughout the course of this essay, through an exploration of three key films by New Zealand female film directors; Whale Rider (Niki Caro, 2002), The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993) and Perfect Strangers (Gaylene Preston, 2003).
The majority of mainstream cinema today is constructed from the viewpoint of what is known as the “male gaze”; which we recognize by how it looks at women, as

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