Amanda M. Powell

Amanda M. Powell

University of New Hampshire

English


1997

Mentor: Peter J. Mascuch Assistant Professor, English

Reflecting the Gaze: Women Filmmakers' Reconciliation and Reconstruction of Traditional Female Images

Since the early 1970s, feminist film theorists have sought to define and critique the role of women in motion pictures, primarily those directed by men. In my research I examined the ways in which women filmmakers deconstruct and, consequently, reconstruct traditional images of women through the use of staged performance within their films.

For this project I selected six films directed by women and featuring staged performance as either the main focus or the climax of the narrative. Upon viewing these films (Dance, Girl, Dance; Desperately Seeking Susan; Illusions; Dogfight; My Father Is Coming; Strange Days) I found that each film contained very similar narrative structures as well as employing the notion of duality. I compared my findings to the work of theorists such as Laura Mulvey, Mary Ann Doane, Judith Mayne, and others.

My research revealed that although traditional methods of filmmaking are often utilized by women, female characters are presented as more than just simple objects of popular ideology.

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