Women Being Influenced by the Portrayal of Their Roles in Film

Women being influenced by the portrayal of their roles in film Assignment 2A By Hoe Shuhui Joanne (S9132359A) Group No. 25 Academic Writing WRIT001/Term 2 – 2010/2011 I declare that this Assignment is my original work and all information obtained from other sources has been cited accordingly. JoanneHoe 17/02/2010Turnitin _______________________Similarity Signature and DateIndex % Course Instructor:Katherine Barg As the definition of being a woman has evolved to encompassing certain masculine traits, we see the emergence of powerful and career-minded women in society today.

The shift from the conventional idea of being a submissive and family-oriented woman (Hagedorn 1994) to the rise in violent and strong depictions of women in film (Gilpatric 2010) is powerful in influencing the society’s definitions of women. Although women are not directly influenced by these films to be violent, they are beginning to take on masculine roles that used to be solely done by men. Therefore, this paper seeks to understand why most women are influenced by their depicted roles in film. Both Gilpatric (2010) and Neuendorf et al. (2009) points out that woman are taking up more violent roles in film, which represents the changing definition of women in the world today. While women are picking up masculine traits, they are still bounded by their conventional roles of femininity and the expectations of society towards them to fulfill their domestic roles. This is evident from the depiction of Violent Female Action Characters (VFACs) in Gilpatric (2010), where they were usually supporting actresses that have a romantic relationship with the male lead. In addition, women are expected to maintain their sex appeal while taking on masculine traits.

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Neuendorf et al. , (2009) also focuses largely on the physical attractiveness of women portrayed in James Bond films. This indicates that most women are taking on more prominent roles in society without compromising on their conventional feminine roles. Correspondingly, the social cognitive theory (as cited in Bandura, 1986) proves why women are easily influenced by the media’s portrayal of women. As women observe female characters in film, they can achieve much more than maintaining the household, they draw inspiration from these strong and confident on-screen female characters.

Hence, the benefits of the new-age woman aspire them to break out of the conventional female roles and carve a different future for them. In the next article: Hacking Barbie, Boomen emphasizes on how Barbie has largely influenced our perception on gender stereotypes and how much they affect girls and women. Due to the wide variety of occupations Barbie can take, girls grow up with a mindset that “Girls can be anything” (Boomen). This essentially links to girls being confident of taking on masculine roles by working and bringing home income. In addition, Barbie has always been well dressed for any and every occasion.

This emphasizes that women can fulfill their feminine roles despite being an independent and strong woman. Although this article does not focus on gender and films, it shows how girls are conditioned from young that men and women have equal opportunities to be anything they aspire to be, which serves as an important basis for this research paper. Girls who have been introduced to the new definition of femininity would be more open to accepting and being influenced by the media’s constant portrayal of strong women. However, not all women are influenced by the portrayal of women in the media.

In Asia, with a different cultural context, traditional women are being heavily stereotyped as submissive, naive and being desperate for love in Hollywood films (Hagedorn 1994). Hagedorn feels strongly against the negative depictions of Asian women hence, she attempts to show what Asian women really are. In Farewell My Concubine, the story depicts “an unforgettable triangle, struggling over love, art, friendship and politics against the bloody backdrop of cultural upheaval” (Hagedorn 1994). This shows that Asian women are not as shallow as how they are depicted in Hollywood.

The article does not mention of women trying to break out of the conventional female role but rather, Hagedorn concludes that Asian women accepts their domestic roles and abides by them. By taking into account all these points, most women who are exposed to movies and the media are likely to be accepting these changes in feminine roles. However, changing definitions of gender have been accepted as being constant in urban society. Men and women are free to define their gender roles and do not necessarily have to follow a certain archetype.

As such, this constant redefinition of gender roles makes it a norm for women to adopt a more masculine position in society. Reference: Kimberly A. Neuendorf, Thomas D. Gore, Amy Dalessandro, Patricie Janstova & Sharon Synder-Suhy. Shaken and Stirred: A Content Analysis of Women’s Portrayals in James Bond Films, Sex Roles, 2010, 62, 747-761 Katy Gilpatric. Violent Female Action Characters in Contemporary American Cinema, Sex Roles, 2010, 62(11-12), 734-746 Marianne van den Boomen. Hacking Barbie in gendered computer culture, 2009, pg 193 Jessica Hagedorn. Asian women in film: no joy, no luck, Ms. Magazine, Jan 1994, 4 (4), 237-244



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