The increasingly dominant role of women in film and television: a social or economic reform?

Essay by JStroCollege, UndergraduateA-, June 2003

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In recent years, women appear to have been given roles that are far more domineering in comparison to those in the past. Some say this is due to changing attitudes with the modern woman's realisation that masculinity is just a socially constructed performance- the archetypal male is now often criticised rather than celebrated. While society's stance on the function of women in the media has been altered, it would be foolish to believe or suggest that it has been a phenomenon of sorts as the extent of the speed of evolutionary thinking in our culture and the media is often overestimated. With current trends in film and television it seems more likely that the motivation behind the increasing number of assertive roles for women is purely economic. While the answer to this question is at present unclear and difficult to determine because of the great number of factors to consider, the following will discuss points that are significant to the contention of each side.

'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' (2001), starring Angelina Jolie is based upon the incredibly popular video game series of the same name. The 'Lara Croft phenomenon' has had a span of influence covering much of the western world, not necessarily just through the computer games but also with the huge amount of marketing opportunities and products taken or made due to its success. In its cinematic form Tomb Raider was produced by Paramount Studios, who aren't renowned for their history in action films aside from 'Mission:Impossible' which is a possible exception. The series of adventure games starring Lara Croft have been programmed by all male teams at Core Design and distributed by Eidos Interactive, who in the 2000-2001 football season also sponsored Manchester City football club with increased publicity around the time of the film's...