Tough Female Characters & Femme Fatales in Film & Video Games

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Information about Tough Female Characters & Femme Fatales in Film & Video Games
Education

Published on November 22, 2008

Author: jrobinson

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Visual Story Class Guest Lecture 2008
Masters of Digital Media Program @ the Centre for Digital Media
Joanna Robinson joanna@gnwc.ca
Research Associate & Instructor, Virtual Worlds
http://mdm.gnwc.ca/

A discussion of the rise of the female hero character with a focus on film & video games. Joanna Robinson

A representation is use of language/images to create meaning. Representations always construct a viewpoint Types - Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Sexuality, Class, Religion/Beliefs “ Ideology is a production of representations” Presented as common-sense/self-evident The Hollywood movie camera has a “male gaze” (Mulvey)‏ Different representations will appeal to different viewers

A representation is use of language/images to create meaning.

Representations always construct a viewpoint

Types - Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Sexuality, Class, Religion/Beliefs

“ Ideology is a production of representations”

Presented as common-sense/self-evident

The Hollywood movie camera has a “male gaze” (Mulvey)‏

Different representations will appeal to different viewers

Representations are an Ideologically inscribed form of [powerful] discourse. Kellner & Durham (2001). Social construction of gender (& race & sexuality) – the media as social institution 'Nature versus nurture' & 'Images of women' debate in cultural studies, film studies, sociology and psychology – these images serve as heroes and R ole models. Female characters for women and male for men. There is a history of problematic gendered representations in popular culture They may reproduce various inequalities and beliefs/ideas/ideologies, that negatively impact women and discourage their participation Video games introduce women to technology. Increasingly women play anyhow, but there is a large 'forgotten' audience that is not being catered to!

Gender Stereotypes associated with Men: Aggressive Assertive Dominating No Emotions Loud Messy Athletic Math, Science & Tech Oriented CEO Money Maker

Gender Stereotypes associated with Men:

Aggressive

Assertive

Dominating

No Emotions

Loud

Messy

Athletic

Math, Science & Tech Oriented

CEO

Money Maker

Gender Stereotypes associated with Women: Weak Fragile Submissive Emotional Quiet Neat/Clean Clumsy Artsy Housewife Child rearing

Gender Stereotypes associated with Women:

Weak

Fragile

Submissive

Emotional

Quiet

Neat/Clean

Clumsy

Artsy

Housewife

Child rearing

The villain — struggles against the hero. The donor — prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object. The (magical) helper — helps the hero in the quest. The princess — marries the hero, often sought for during the narrative. Her father — Propp noted that functionally, the princess and the father can not be clearly distinguished. The dispatcher — character who makes the lack known and sends the hero off. The hero or victim/seeker hero — reacts to the donor, weds the princess. False hero/anti-hero/usurper — takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess. (Propp, Vladimir 1929).

The villain — struggles against the hero.

The donor — prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object.

The (magical) helper — helps the hero in the quest.

The princess — marries the hero, often sought for during the narrative.

Her father — Propp noted that functionally, the princess and the father can not be clearly distinguished.

The dispatcher — character who makes the lack known and sends the hero off.

The hero or victim/seeker hero — reacts to the donor, weds the princess.

False hero/anti-hero/usurper — takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess. (Propp, Vladimir 1929).

“ men's domestic adjuncts” “ dependent on men” weak, powerless “ sex objects” “ unintelligent” victims to be saved

“ men's domestic adjuncts”

“ dependent on men”

weak, powerless

“ sex objects”

“ unintelligent”

victims to be saved

 

 

 

Film Noir 40s,50s Influenced by German expressionism “ one of the few periods of film in which women are active, not static symbols, are intelligent and powerful, if destructively so, and derive power, not weakness, from their sexuality

Film Noir 40s,50s

Influenced by German expressionism

“ one of the few periods of film in which women are active, not static symbols, are intelligent and powerful, if destructively so, and derive power, not weakness, from their sexuality

1950's Douglas Sirk – key director Domestic, family, emotionally charged themes Bright, natural colours Sensitive men, strong women – Rock Hudson Sweeping musical soundtracks

1950's

Douglas Sirk – key director

Domestic, family, emotionally charged themes

Bright, natural colours

Sensitive men, strong women – Rock Hudson

Sweeping musical soundtracks

This figure is not necessarily “new” - eg Artemis in Greek Myth, Wonder Woman “ tough girls” or “action chicks” (Inness, 1999)‏ Hybrids of attributes traditionally gendered masculine and feminine Can offer empowerment through new visions of female role models Romero's revision of Barbara, Night of the Living Dead 1968 1990

This figure is not necessarily “new” - eg Artemis in Greek Myth, Wonder Woman

“ tough girls” or “action chicks” (Inness, 1999)‏

Hybrids of attributes traditionally gendered masculine and feminine

Can offer empowerment through new visions of female role models

Romero's revision of Barbara, Night of the Living Dead

1968 1990

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The current state of our media is participatory culture Audiences have the opportunity to participate in their media, producing as well as consuming - prosumers Co-creative media, Emergent or free play Participants can shape and perform their own representations of heroes

The current state of our media is participatory culture

Audiences have the opportunity to participate in their media, producing as well as consuming - prosumers

Co-creative media, Emergent or free play

Participants can shape and perform their own representations of heroes

 

 

Alyssa

David

New user built environments and characters, same old (horror) story? Resident Evil in Second Life

New user built environments and characters, same old (horror) story?

Resident Evil in Second Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* A variety of representations...

Online gaming/virtual world communities are both cultural artefact and site of (ongoing) culture As digital media creators, it is important to understand the language of character representations in order to harness their power in engaging this participatory audience. There many identities (& their stories) yet to be represented that may attract an even wider audience to games. As online game texts are co-created by the audience they seek to entertain, we see the beginning of what may be an exciting era in media history - the controller in the hands of the audience.

Online gaming/virtual world communities are both cultural artefact and site of (ongoing) culture

As digital media creators, it is important to understand the language of character representations in order to harness their power in engaging this participatory audience.

There many identities (& their stories) yet to be represented that may attract an even wider audience to games.

As online game texts are co-created by the audience they seek to entertain, we see the beginning of what may be an exciting era in media history - the controller in the hands of the audience.

 

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