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Studying Feminist Film Theory$
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Terri Murray

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325802

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325802.001.0001

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Feminist Film Theory: An Introduction

Feminist Film Theory: An Introduction

(p.7) Chapter 1 Feminist Film Theory: An Introduction
Studying Feminist Film Theory

Terri Murray

Liverpool University Press

This chapter provides an overview of feminist film theory. Feminist film studies, or ‘gendered film studies’, is intended to explore the ways in which women (and men) are represented by visual media, and film in particular. Feminists argue that media representations of gender perpetuate and reinforce the values of patriarchal society. Men tend to be cast in strong, active roles while women are shown as passive and merely ‘pretty’. ‘Woman’ comes to represent not one person of the female sex, but a stereotype, a category defined by men and in opposition to men. Stereotyping is not always negative, but it tends to preserve and perpetuate power relations in society. Even today, women have a relatively small role in constructing public images of ‘womanhood’. The chapter then looks at the contributions of two influential authors whose seminal texts have fostered new understanding of gender representation in the visual media: John Berger and Laura Mulvey.

Keywords:   feminist film theory, feminist film studies, gendered film studies, media representations, gender representations, power relations, womanhood, stereotyping, John Berger, Laura Mulvey

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