Cinematic Women, From Objecthood to Heroism: Essays on Female Gender Representation on Western Screens and in TV Productions

Lisa V Mazey (Ed.)

by Lisa V Mazey (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), Yeojin Kim (Binghamton University), Mary Jane Androne (Albright College), Forrest Johnson (York University), Karen Tuthill-Jones (Connecticut Technical High School), Hyunyoung Moon (College of William and Mary, Virginia), Evangeline Kroon (York University), Melissa Evans (AFDA, School for the Creative Economy, Port Elizabeth, South Africa), Leigh McKagen (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

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Women have fulfilled film roles that exhibit their historically subservient or sexualised positions in society, among others. Over the decades, the gender identity of women has fluctuated to include powerful women, emotionally strong women, lesbian women, and even neurologically atypical women. These identities reflect the change in societal norms and what is now acknowledged as more likely and more mainstream.

The evolution of society’s views of women can be mapped through these roles; from 1950’s America where women were depicted as the counterpart to male characters and their masculinity either as a threat or support to the patriarchal norms; to more recent times, where these norms have been questioned, challenged, deconstructed and reconstructed to include women in a more equitable balance. The fight for equal access, equal pay and equal standing still exists in all walks of life and different cultures requiring continued scrutiny of the norms that made that fight necessary.

The essays offer a unique vantage of the changing culture and conversations that allowed, encouraged, and praised an evolution of women’s roles. They strive to represent the issues faced by women, from the early heyday of Hollywood through to films as recent as 2007; examining depictions of the masculine gaze, mental and physical oppression, the mother figure, as well as how these roles may develop in the future.

The book contains valuable material for film students at an undergraduate or post-graduate level, as well as scholars from a range of disciplines including cultural studies, media studies, film studies and women’s and gender studies.

Claire Menard, PhD, Cornell University
Anne-Caroline Sieffert, PhD, Alfred University

Part I. Effects and Consequences of the Male Gaze – an Old Way of Seeing

Chapter 1 The Danger of Obsession: Questions of Power and Freedom in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo
Lisa V. Mazey
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Chapter 2 Multiple Gaze and Transnational Assemblage in Chanwook Park’s The Handmaiden
Yeojin Kim
Binghamton University

Part II. Stirring Female Roles – a Current Way of Seeing

Chapter 3 Debra Granik’s Resilient Tomboys
Mary Jane Androne
Albright College

Chapter 4 Belief in Our World: Feminine Transcendence in Contemporary Post-secular Cinema
Forrest Johnson
York University

Part III. Imagined and Future Females – a Possible Way to See

Chapter 5 She’s the Captain and the Caretaker: Imperial Domesticity and Salvation Narratives in Star Trek: Voyager
E. Leigh McKagen
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Chapter 6 Brains, Brawn, and Beguilement: Major Female Characters on FOX’s Sleepy Hollow
Karen J. Tuthill-Jones
Connecticut Technical High School System

Chapter 7 Drone Warfare and Female Warrior: Good Kill (2015) and Eye in the Sky (2016)
Hyunyoung Moon
William and Mary

Chapter 8 “What a Lovely Day!”: Using Mad Max: Fury Road to Explore Female Representation in Post-Apocalyptic Pop Culture
Evangeline Kroon
York University


Lisa V. Mazey is a PhD candidate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, studying English Literature and Criticism and is serving as Temporary Faculty in the English Department. She has been a public-school teacher for 14 years, teaching English and working as a Reading Specialist. Her wider interests include Historical Fiction, films and gardening. She lives in Indiana, PA, with her husband and children.

Colonial gaze, gender, cinema, Morocco, Josef von Sternberg, Robert Florey, women, Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, power, masculinity, fantasy, obsession, transnational, bondage, Sarah Waters, Fingersmith, Handmaiden, Victorian Era, Japanese imperialism, nationalism, nationhood, patriarchy, Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone, Leave No Trace, teenage, girlhood, Carol Gilligan, Appalachia, Oregon, community, friendship, Mary complex, post-secular, The Fountain, Aronofsky, Tree of Life, Mallick, transcendental, witness, Abigail Mills, Sleepy Hollow, drone warfare, female warrior, Good Kill, Eye in the Sky, women in combat, Mad Max: Fury Road, post-apocalyptic, pop-culture, feminist, Lars von Trier, Antichrist, misogyny, Golden Heart Trilogy, Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title
Cinematic Women, From Objecthood to Heroism: Essays on Female Gender Representation on Western Screens and in TV Productions
Number of pages
Physical size
236mm x 160mm
Publication date
May 2020