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Globalization

Essay by   •  December 24, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  1,310 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,053 Views

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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 between women and men, popular films play a significant role in defining the applicable norms, values, and expectations. They communicate to their audience a set of ideas regarding what issues create conflict between women and men and how such conflict usually transpires. They inform their audience how such conflict should be resolved. As Mark Hedley states in his 2002 study: "They reveal to their audience who is expected to be assertive and who is expected to be compliant, who is expected to overcome obstacles and who is expected to fold under pressure, who is expected to pursue their legitimate interests doggedly and who is expected to acquiesce to such pursuits sympathetically" ( p.2 ).

When we speak about gender in relation to genre, what codes and conventions should be in evidence? What expectations do we have, as an audience, of our heroes

and heroines and their behaviour? In the Hardboiled Detective Fiction genre, for example, the Hero (usually male ) is conventionally characterised as having a serious psychological or social problem, causing him to be at odds with the society within which he operates ( Davidson lecture, 2005 ). Conversely, in the Western genre, the Hero ( again usually male ) typically represents an idealistic image- selfless - considerate of those less fortunate or more vulnerable than himself. This would usually include all other characters within the text ( Mitchell,1996. p.108 ).

The existence of a gendered relationship in a film must also evidence conflict if it

is to represent the qualities of such conflict to an audience, bounded by the point at

which the relevant behavior is initiated and the point at which the relevant conflict is

resolved. Conflict resolution tends toward consequent expressions of female

deference. 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? ( Hedley,2000 )

Interestingly, it does not always follow that only films which sympathetically represent the feminine perspective are ones in which females are creatively involved.

The films Sister Act (Buena Vista, 1992) and The Witches of Eastwick (Warner Brothers, 1987) are presented from women's points of view and provide no stereotypes in their triangles. Yet they involved no women as credited participants in their writing or direction. Neither should it be concluded that the representation of sympathetic treatment is conditioned simply upon the presence of women's participation. The films Wayne's World (Paramount, 1992) and Big (Twentieth Century Fox, 1988) credit women in terms of both writing and direction. Yet they provide much in terms of gender stereotypes and little in terms of women's perspectives ( Maltin,2000 pp.114,1264,1522,1564 ).

The first of the two texts to be examined in detail is The Guns of Navarone (Columbia Pictures, 1961 ). Columbia engaged Carl Foreman to produce and adapt

Alistair MacLean's bestselling novel for the screen. The text of the novel is

exclusively a masculine oriented narrative. This would appear to support

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