"Don't call me babe": the emergence and evolution of the contemporary action heroine

Hicks, Amy I. (2009) "Don't call me babe": the emergence and evolution of the contemporary action heroine. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    Within this dissertation I hope to address the central issue of the 1990s action heroine's representation as an empowered or patriarchal figure. I begin by considering the origins of the 1990s action heroine and reasons for her emergence. I feel it is important to explore shifts and trends within the wider context of contemporary Hollywood not just in action cinema because Hollywood's ideologies usually reflect temporal political preferences, changing social attitudes, e.g. increase of gender equality, and subsequent concerns, e.g. masculinity in crisis. I also discuss changes surrounding the action genre itself, such as the 1980s rise in popularity for 'muscular cinema' (Tasker 1993, p. 1) and try to relate it to societal shifts. In chapter one, I seek to semiotically decode narrative themes of female domesticity and motherhood, 'masculine' professions and gender power relations within four key texts in order to examine the extent to which the heroine emancipates herself from stereotypical, patriarchal roles and "political constraints that oppress women and deny them equal chances and equal rights" (McCaughey and King 2001, p. 20). In chapter two the 1990s heroine's sexuality, and cinematic construction is discussed in terms of whether the she can be considered truly progressive or whether her objectification and fetishisation, usually relating to phallic weaponry, invalidates her empowerment and liberation from the male gaze. In conclusion, I hope to briefly explore the contemporary action heroine (from 2000 to the present) and compare her construction in terms of empowerment and/or objectification to that of the 1990s heroine.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:15
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/693

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