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Critical perspectives: Post feminist perspective

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Fergie Ferg

on 19 March 2018

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Transcript of Critical perspectives: Post feminist perspective

Mest 3: Post Feminist Perspective
What does Feminism mean?
Issues that are raised by post-feminism
The narrow versions of "femininity" presented in the media.
Post-feminism and media theories
Laura Mulvey - the male gaze
Angela McRobbie
Angela McRobbie's research mainly focused on magazines.

She suggests that gender representations in the media influence people's behaviour.

We behave as we do as men and women because of the behaviour we see in the media.
Goffman's theory on gender
In media men are seen as superior and dominating due to their body language and position within the frame. They appear to be reflective of thought and intelligent, whereas women are physically portrayed in a sexual or reclining pose, expressing a blank or inviting look.

Women are also subject to dismemberment of the body, where parts of the body is on show, such as legs, rather than the full body. This is used to sell products which are not relevant to the body, such as mobile phones.

The male voice is used more than women within voice-overs of moving images and commercials, due to the authoritative tone they posses (deep, low tone).
First wave feminism
First-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity during the 19th and early 20th century throughout the world, particularly in the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States. It focused on legal issues, primarily on gaining women's suffrage (the right to vote)
Second wave feminism
Second-wave feminism is a period of feminist activity that first began in the early 1960s in the United States, and eventually spread throughout the Western world and beyond. In the United States the movement lasted through the early 1980s
Second-wave feminism broadened the debate to a wide range of issues: sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights
1961 - the contraceptive pill
1978 - outlawing of marital rape
Post feminism
Moving on from second wave feminism we are now in a time that is considered
This doesn't mean feminism is over or not needed (although that implication is why some people don't like the term), it is the next stage in progress towards society/culture free from the gender binary.

Post-feminism focuses on a range of problems on the grounds of equality to men.
Women being punished for behaviour that is rewarded in men.
Equality with men in major industries/positions of power.
The sexualised images of women in the media (which women are encouraged to view as liberating).
The resurgence of ideas about natural sexual differences.
This is when the camera films a woman from the perspective of a heterosexual male, therefore encouraging the audience to view women primarily as sexual objects.
Mulvey states that the role of a female in a narrative has two functions:
To be an erotic object for the characters in the film.
To be an erotic object for the audience.
Debates around the male gaze
With passive audiences it could influence their view of real women. (Hypodermic needle theory)
Steubenville Ohio
rape case 2013
In 2012, two high school footballers assaulted a female classmate at a party. She was drunk and slipping in and out of consciousness and the assaults on her were filmed by other students and shared on social media.

When she went to the police, a lot of people in her town reacted negatively to her because the footballers were "stars" in the small town.

Crime bloggers bought the case to national attention and the two boys were prosecuted.
Women participate in and profit from being sexualised so there is nothing wrong with it.
Reproductive rights
Page three can lead to a further career in the media.
Taking your clothes off can lead to attention and success.
Intertwined in post-feminist readings of popular culture products, is the Bechdel test. The concept is based on the idea that two women on screen rarely share a discussion that isn't about a male character or their relationship with them. When a film or television show passes this test, it indicates that there are female characters that are autonomous to a male character, giving them their own identity. For example, The Hunger Games would pass this test as Katniss has important relationships with other female characters that are not based on discussion to do with men.
The Bechdel test
Post-feminist ideologies are being reflected increasingly in advertising. Brands aimed at females are using the idea of an empowered woman figure to align such ideals to their products. Several of these campaigns have gone viral, accumulating millions of YouTube views through social media sharing platforms.
Mass Media symbolically annihilates women by endangering the social development of girls into complete human beings & contributing members of society.
The media does this by:
The complete lack of, or under representation of women

Portraying women in degrading & detrimental stereotypical roles
Liesbet Van Zoonen
The Media's representation of women hinders the gender's progress
Bell Hooks - From Margin to Centre
Feminism is for everyone

It should be inter-sectional and include women of colour

Feminism should help women of all backgrounds and class status

Feminism should include men - sexism can only be overcome if men take responsibility for how society is
Key term - Patriarchy
A system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.

Think about stereotypes about Feminists
Van Zoonen
The media keeps women "in their place" by using stereotypes and rigid gender stereotypes.
Liberal Feminist
Women should have social, economic and political equality with men.
Radical Feminist
Society will never change. The Patriarchy should be dismantled and abolished.
Van Zoonen
Bell Hooks
Applying a post-feminist perspective in your written work
How is Rey represented in the scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
P. In this scene, Rey is represented as the "hero" (Propp's character functions).

E. She manages to summon the lightsabre over the male antagonist as emotional non diegetic music plays.

E. This may offer "personal identity" (uses and gratifications) to the audience and could help the producers attract a larger target demographic than previous Star Wars films.
When viewing the scene from a post-feminist perspective, it could be argued that this is a positive representation because it is showing that a women can successfully occupy a role traditionally played by men. Rey's representation in a product created by a mainstream institution challenges Van Zoonen's ideas that the media's aim is to keep women in rigid gender roles.
The focus on female appearance
Applying a post feminist perspective.
1. How are women represented in the two products? [8]

2. Do you think the media has a responsibility to represent women in a reflective way? [12]

3. Why are viral videos a good way for institutions to raise brand awareness? [12]
Product 1: Global Goals charity appeal viral video
Product 2: Bodyform viral video (a shorter version of the ad appears on tv).
Question 1 - 2/3 paragraphs
12 mins

Questions 2 and 3 - 3/4 paragraphs 17 mins
E. - Think about audience and institution
Check that you are answering the question.
Discuss both texts.
Stay focused on analysing those two
Apply media concept theory:
Make sure you understand the term "reflective" representation (Stuart Hall)
Debate -
"On the other hand...."
Remember to think about social, political and economic contexts.
Refer to other examples.
1973 Roe vs Wade
Naomi Wolf - The Beauty Myth
Wolf argues that women are oppressed by the pressure to fit into a myth or false ideal of beauty.
She argues that by encouraging women to fit into a false ideal of beauty, psychological disorders such as anorexia can develop.
The idea that there is a universal standard of beauty that women need to possess in order to be happy and successful.
Perpetuating the beauty myth can benefit capitalism and pre-occupy women.
We see The Beauty Myth on magazine covers/adverts/in films
The treatment of women in other cultures - FGM, Child marriage
Dove "Real Beauty" vs Naomi Wolf
Post feminism and Hollywood
Male directors get more opportunities than female directors.
Colin Trevorrow directed Safety Not Guaranteed in 2012 and then Jurassic World in 2015 before Star Wars in 2019.

Josh Trank went from Chronicle in 2012 to Fantastic Four in 2015.

Alfonso Caurón went from Y Tu Mama Tambien in 2001 to Harry Potter 3 in 2004.

James Gunn: Super in 2010, Guardians Of The Galaxy in 2014.

Jon Watts: Cop Car (2015), Spiderman Homecoming (2017)

Christopher Nolan: Insomnia (2002), Batman Begins (2005)

Marc Webb: 500 Days of Summer (2009), The Amazing Spiderman (2012)

Rupert Wyatt: The Escapist (2008), Rise Of The Planet of the Apes (2011)
Patty Jenkins: Monster (2003), Wonder Woman (2017)
The Hollywood Reporter
Marvel and Lucasfilm have hired 0 female directors
Women are under-represented in films
Zoe Saldana has spoken out about often being the only girl on set
In 2016 Women made up 29% of protagonists, men made up 54%, and 17% were ensembles
This is the highest it's ever been
Are things changing?
Representation and age
Because there are less roles for women in films - a narrow representation of masculinity is shown to us.
Men of Baby Driver
Women of Baby Driver
Male Avengers
Female Avengers
There is often a substantial age gap between male and female co-stars
Emma Stone and Ed Norton - Birdman
Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale - American Hustle
Annabelle Wallis and Tom Cruise - The Mummy
Emma Stone and Colin Firth - Magic In The Moonlight
Women are paid less than men in Hollywood
Lead actors
Supporting actors
Smaller supporting role
Oscar winners
Bradley Cooper
Christian Bale
Jeremy Renner
Amy Adams
Jennifer Lawrence
Post feminism and Hollywood
The six major studios in Hollywood are being investigated by two separate United States government agencies following reports of severe gender bias in their hiring practices - The Equal Opportunity Commission and American Civil Liberties Union.

Fewer than two percent of the top-grossing 100 films of 2013 and 2014 were directed by women.
The ACLU collected testimonials from over 50 female directors who reported overtly sexist practices. These includes reports of employers bluntly telling award winning female film directors "we don't hire women".

Women are well represented in prominent film schools in the US and the number of women students focusing on directing is reportedly roughly equal to the number of men.

But when women film makers leave film school, the barriers to succeed become much higher.

Of the women interviewed by the ACLU, almost every one had either experienced directly or was aware of the widespread perception that women are better suited to and typically only considered for projects that are “women-oriented,” such as romantic comedies, women-centered shows, or, commercials for “girl” products.
Maggie Gyllenhaal - “I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry"
Choose a text to analyse:

What would be a post feminist perspective on it?

Does it reflect or challenge any post feminist ideologies?

Can you link anything in the text to any of the theorists we have looked at?

Bell Hooks
Van Zoonen
Angela McRobbie
Laura Mulvey - The Male Gaze
Naomi Wolf - The Beauty Myth
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