Feminism vs Maculinity

Essay by DainerCollege, UndergraduateC+, June 2014

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Essay Question: To what extent do the readings of Mulvey, Studler and Neale help you understand gender representation in films? Argue your position with references to films screened in the unit.

Media plays a big role in people's everyday lives. It brings about effective influence on how we see ourselves and the world to a certain extent. Taking into consideration, social constructivism, we believe that the images portrayed on screen on the basis of gender representation in films affects our perception of what a man or a woman is. The problem brought forth concerns the representation of gender, or the 'discourse' of gender. How gender is represented in films have importance and it affects how people see themselves and gender in reality. According to David Gauntlett, he says that "It is highly improbable to think that the media does not affect people, their way of thinking, and the way they perceive the world and themselves" (Gauntlett 2008).

Cinema has been taken by feminists to be a cultural practice representing myths about women and femininity, as well as, men and masculinity. Issues of gender representation and spectatorship are central to feminist film theory and criticism. Early feminist criticism was directed at stereotypes of women; mostly in Hollywood films (Haskell 1973; Rosen 1973). Research on contemporary Hollywood films over time indicates that political messages and ideologies can be seen in films, representing the ideas and opposition of the social system in effect at the time (Ryan & Kellner 1990). Specifically, during the time period when second wave feminism was taking place, Hollywood was still creating the same type of movies, representing men and women in a traditional way. Furthermore, Hollywood still seems to represent gender in a way that still upholds a 'patriarchal privilege' (Benshoff & Griffin 2004).

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