Feminism & Film

Topic: Feminism & Film

Paper details:

Abstract Work Sheet. This is my film GORDIE(2019) SANG DE JONG . You need to used source that are related with my film Gordie. This exercise will help you in writing your final paper. You should be able to discuss your topic, after having written about it in your notebook and through research. Some things you come across will be helpful, some will not; that is part of the research process. Read the questions fully and answer each question, spending about a paragraph for each question. For example, for the first question, you should have at least two paragraphs. Define feminism. First, what does it mean to you, in general? Two, what is the denotative definition of the word? What does feminism in film mean in the context of film? Consult one of the two earlier readings on it. How do these feminists define it in their essays? Choose one. With this background, you can now apply it to your search for a paper topic. Choose a film where you see an example of feminism or one where you do not see an example of it. Think about the actors in it, how a star’s text can alter, intentionally or not, the final product, as well as how the audience receives it. Who is your star? Why are you choosing her? Pick two films to illustrate what you want to say about her. What is your film? Why are you choosing this film? Still, don’t forget the stars in it (see Question 4). Sample.
a. Example: Girlfight, starring Michelle Rodriguez, aka, MRod. (Write out why…) b. In Girlfight (200), a young woman wants to box, which is a violent, physical sport dominated by men. The film was a first in several ways: it featured a Latina protagonist; it featured a protagonist not so concerned with boys and more with her passion, which is boxing; and it was also the film that launched Rodgriguez’s career. However, unlike other actresses who have starred in these kinds of films where a female strives to be number one in her sport (or even strives just to play on a non-paying team), such (insert two film examples, that skating movie??), Rodriguez shunned the romantic comedies and other genres aimed at the supposed chick flick market and entrenched herself firmly in the genre of action. Or has Hollywood shunned her? Even more convincing than Angelina Jolie, another female action star, Rodriguez has a firmer build and a menacing brow. But unlike Jolie, Rodriguez is either not offered or turns down roles that take her out of that genre, that don’t allow or disavow that “masculine” side, the side that fights back, the side that walks to danger rather than from it, and who walks towards it without any expectation of a man saving her. In most of her films, she is strong and not just playing strong women, but women who could be inferred as lesbians, through a heterosexist gaze, because she is never paired with a male love interest. And yet she is not allowed to be lesbian either. However, in her private life, despite rumours about dating Vin Diesel, she is becoming more and more open about her sexuality. Recent reportings show her cavorting to various clubs with high-fashion model Cara Delavigne. And yet in her films, Rodgriguez’s sexuality is absent. In this paper, I will explore the star text of Michelle Rodriguez, focusing on Girlfight,Resident Evil (2002), and Avatar (2003), three films that highlight her strength but also, through not showing any kind of partnership that could lead to intimacy, Hollywood’s discomfort or quandary about casting Michelle Rodriguez in the same kind of roles as other actresses her do action films, including her ex-girlfriend, Kristina Lokken. As you can see, I’m still working out thesis in that abstract; it could be tighter. Also, I made up the film dates. But you get the idea. Final Paper Requirements See the below table at the bottom of this document. Choose one film to research and eventually write about for the semester. Have your film by September 19th. This means that you should watch a few so that you are not boxed into a corner, so that you have options from which to choose. This is part of your grade. You have all semester to work on this project. As you read, you will learn about terms in the field (e.g., feminism, the male gaze, masquerade, intersectionality) and apply them when necessary to support your thesis. The same goes for the sources that you accrue as you build your argument. This is not a film review; I don’t care if you like the film or not. This is a research paper examining, through a feminist lens, a particular theme or trope (pattern). This is not a review for a blog, Twitter, or Rotten Tomatoes. You are using varied and vetted sources. You are not summarizing the film. I and your classmates are the intended readers. We have seen the films so there is no need for you to summarize. Don’t waste space. If you want to provide the plot, it should be brief (a paragraph). Get to your point, your thesis, and share the information with your reader that you found. This is why you need a strong thesis that will keep you focused. And you don’t have to find the film feminist or not. You will define the term and others that help the reader, from what you’ve read in the course, and think about the following: How is this film feminist or not? Think about the Bechdel test and if your chosen film passes it. Does this film speak to females? Why should students read about the film that you’ve chosen? Go to Blackboard and read the sample student anthology Feminism & Film in the Twenty-First Century. Remember: This is an academic research paper, which means that I expect you to engage the required texts, as well as material found using the CUNY database. How much research did you do? Give yourself time so that you are not stuck using last minute sources that you find on Google (or worse, you plagiarize). You want to have a thesis statement because you will be gathering a lot of information. However, you won’t be using all of it (even what you decide to retain for your Bibliography might not be used in text) Make sure to cite your sources in your text and also in your Bibliography. The reader should be able to refer to your source. Don’t plagiarize. Cite whether you are quoting directly or paraphrasing. Research/Discover/Know The title and director and cast. The title of the film is italicized, per MLA standards. The genre of the film. Is it a horror film? A rom-com (romantic comedy)? Is it in a subgenre? For example, it might be a horror film, but specifically, it might be under the subcategory of slasher or body horror. Or is it a combination, like a sci-fi horror like Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979). Sometimes how a film is marketed is not how a film is received by the audience (e.g., reader-response criticism). Watch the film more than once. Start watching similar films that share your theme (e.g., domestic violence is a subject… what other films highlight this social issue within the context of the course, Feminism and Film?) Sources Once you identify your genre, watch other films in the genre/subject so that you can speak with some knowledge. Begin this now! You should have at least three films that you can refer to with knowledge because you watched them (as opposed to just reading about them). You are not going to use everything that you find in your paper. The goal is to gather knowledge about your film, all while staying focused on your thesis. Use materials from the assigned essays. Take from them what is useful. This shows that you engaged the material for the course. This is why it’s important to stay on top of the readings and to take notes. Peruse Blackboard! There is a lot of material there that was not assigned. Look at the Bibliography/Works Cited of other essays that you find on the CUNY database. Film Reviews: Reviewers are not as objective as we, or they, think. In gathering reviews (not blindly; sift through to see which ones serve your purpose), do you notice a bias? Were some films doomed before release? This is why we think in terms other than likeability. Just because a film tanked at the box office doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthy of study. Your own liberal arts knowledge accrued so far. You are not coming to this class with a blank slate! Think of your former classes. Look at your bookshelf. The CUNY Database! You can find so much here. This is different from Google in that many of the essays have been vetted. You want to demonstrate that you have used this site for your academic research paper. Watch films with others and take notes. For example, if you can watch it with all females in your home, take note of ages, of differences, and then take note of their reactions. Screening films for particular audiences is what studios do. This might work for you or not. Format Your MLA-formatted paper has a centered title (use the key for centering, not the space key) MLA formatting throughout the paper. Spacing: 1.5” or 2” Margins: 1.25” or 1” Font: NY Times, Times Roman, Ariel (not Typewriter or Courier) Font Size: 12 pt. font throughout; no bold in your paper (when you are done with your paper, click “select all” and make sure that you have the same size font and size throughout your paper. In-text Citing: See below examples (direct quotes/paraphrasing) The sky “is blue” (Smith 42). According to Smith, the “sky is blue” (42). Some scholars believe that skies are blue (Smith 42) Bibliography: This page encompasses all of the research that you did for the film. Separate page (not a separate file). Again, see sample student papers on Blackboard. (Note: I am asking for a Bibliography, which contains what you cite in your paper, as well as other relevant sources/information. A Works Cited page is just that; sources listed are what is found in essay.). This is a example of how my paper need to look like. Final Paper Requirements We Need More Women-Made Movies: A Feminist Analysis of Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020) By Ashley Portorreal After the fan favorite movie Suicide Squad (2016), audiences were hoping for a sequel with all their favorite antiheros. Fans, however, were not expecting a movie starring Harley Quinn in an all-female lead casted movie. This movie, of course, is Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020), or the more widely known title Birds of Prey. It was directed by Cathy Yan, the first Asian woman to direct a superhero movie, and Margot Robbie, the actress who plays Harley Quinn, had a role in producing the film. This is to say that there were many women working on this movie both on and off screen. In this essay I will be comparing the films Birds of Prey (2020) and Suicide Squad (2016), and how the people working behind the camera can greatly impact female characters as well as audience reactions. As one can imagine by the title, Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020) is about Harley Quinn rediscovering herself after her breakup with the Joker. Harley Quinn’s relationship with the Joker was problematic, toxic, and downright abusive, this can be gauged from the movie Suicide Squad (2016). Although this previous relationship and breakup set up the movie, none of it was actually shown, which is why when Anneke Smelik notes “Desire in narrative is intimately bound up with violence against women and the techniques of cinematic narration reflect and sustain social forms of oppression of women,” (492) in her e-zine Feminist Criticism of Film, I wondered if all the women behind the scenes made a conscious effort not to show Harley and the Joker’s relationship. Although there are a few other scenes in the movie that shows violence against women, the main focus is how the women deal with this trauma rather than the trauma itself. For example, there is a scene where Harley is getting beat up by the crime lord Roman, but rather than have the scene drag on, the shot changes drastically to Harley in a dream-like sequence singing and dancing along to a song. This can be interpreted as a coping mechanism Harley may have when facing abuse. It’s interesting to see that in an 39 action and gore-filled movie, the director, writers, and producers, were conscious enough to know what type of violence they did and did not want to depict on screen. Suicide Squad romanticizes their female characters and are defined mainly by the relationships they have with the men in their lives. While Birds of Prey does initially tether most female characters to men, by the end of the movie they come into their own, no longer driven by men, hence the title Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. For example, Harley Quinn is solely defined by her relationship with the Joker; her craziness is because of the Joker and so is her criminal background. While their relationship is borderline toxic, it is made out to be a loyal girlfriend trope in the movie. The Joker knows that Harley would do anything for him, and he uses this to his advantage many times, including to get out of prison and getting her to jump into a pool of poisonous liquid. Another female character, Katana, is defined by the relationship she had with her now deceased husband. The reason she became a vigilante was because her husband was killed by a criminal. Beside this there is no other information given about Katana’s character, which begs the question: Is her character only relevant because of her relation to her dead husband? Would she have any worth as a character in this movie otherwise? In Suicide Squad women are defined by their relationships with men, while Birds of Prey does this in the beginning, by the end of the film the women are no longer tied to those relationships, instead they are surrounded by other women. The main instance is that of Harley Quinn, at the beginning of the movie we learn that she has finally broken up with the Joker for good and is now trying to figure out how to live her life without him or his protection. However, this is not where Harley’s emancipation begins because she spends a majority of the movie trying to gain the protection of another man, the Black Mask. There is even her relationship with Doc to consider since he, too, offered her protection by keeping her whereabouts a secret until someone with a lot of money came around. It isn’t until she teams up with the other women on screen then rides off into the sunset with Cass that she has actually achieved emancipation. Renne’s emancipation is from her male coworkers and partners. In the beginning we learn that her old partner took the credit for solving a case when she did, and in the end she ends up quitting from her job at the police station. Black Canary’s emancipation is not as clear, she had been working in the Black Mask’s club for some time as a singer then 40 41 briefly as his driver. After finding out what a horrible man the Black Mask actually is she starts to double cross him and give Renne information about his illegal activities. Finally, the Huntress’s only motivation for a majority of her life was to get revenge on the men who were responsible for killing her entire family. After she has gotten revenge, she teams up with Renne and the Black Canary to become a vigilante team. Before the release of the movie, there was a lot of speculation that Birds of Prey would be like Ghostbusters (2016), anti-men, feminist propaganda. Neither of these films had overtly feminist ideals in them, but most of the people who made these kinds of comments had not seen the movies. In a Youtube commentary video on the Geeks + Gamers channel, a man reacts to news regarding Birds of Prey, where he makes misogynistic comments about the movie (without having seen it) and feminist films as a whole. He makes sarcastic comments about being sad at the movie’s potential failure at the box office, and he speaks about feminism as if it is truly an anti-man movement and not one of equality. I went to the comments to find someone who would disagree with anything he said in the video. I was disappointed, however, but not surprised to find that there were many comments agreeing with him, with some adding their own slew of misogynistic comments. Aside from this, I also found his comment comparing Birds of Prey to Ghostbusters baseless because neither movie is pushing boundaries feminist wise. The only similarity is an all-female cast with a male villain. Most of the criticism this movie faces is due to the fact that women are hypersexualized in films, and Birds of Prey doesn’t do this, at least not to the extent that other films do. “In particular, it is the sexualization through clothing and body type and victimization through passivity and submissiveness of female characters in film that reflect traditional roles for women” (Pennell 212). The second half of this line relates to a point discussed earlier, that women are depicted in an ideal way towards men, which is why Harley Quinn’s character was written a certain way for Suicide Squad, she was the girlfriend who did as she was told by her boyfriend. Not to mention her wardrobe in the entire film which consisted of a see-through shirt, tight shorts, and fishnet stockings. Harley becomes the subject of the male gaze many times I this movie, when she is drenched in water, on several occasions, and when she meaninglessly bends over many times as well. These are incidents that don’t occur in Birds of Prey because it has a female director, one who is aware of the male gaze and was working towards combating that through the movie and it shows. There are a few relatable moments in Birds of Prey that really stick out to me. For example, in one scene where Black Canary is fighting, her hair gets in the way, so Harley Quinn offers her a hair tie to pull it back. This is a moment that stuck out to me because it’s a situation that screams womanhood; the sharing of an extra hair tie. There is also a scene that cuts back to Harley with roller-skates on when she did not have them before, and Black Canary makes a comment on how she was able to change her shoes so fast. I felt as if this was a tongue in cheek way of poking fun at movies that seem to make split decisions after cuts with no explanation. These moments stuck out to me because these are things that make the women in this film feel like they’re real women. Throughout the film, the women get sweaty and their hair gets unruly, and it’s small details like this that combat how women are usually portrayed in film. These details are due to the fact that there are many women working on this movie behind the scenes, and they wanted to show that women do not always look perfect, especially not while fighting. There was even a running gag throughout the movie of Harley Quinn and her love for egg sandwiches, which, because they contain sulpher- packed methionine, can make your gas smelly. (This is decidedly unladylike and not sexy aspect to attach to Quinn., but one that the filmmaker chose to highlight.) The way these shots were filmed vaguely reminded me of the way male gaze scenes are shot, which made me wonder if that was its intended purpose. If so, I think it’s a clever way to poke fun at the male gaze without giving the audience a female gaze scene, instead the audience is meant to gawk at the delicious sandwich being made. The difference between Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey is distinct when it comes to how the women are written and portrayed. It’s interesting to see how much more life like the women in Birds of Prey are, they have arcs that don’t start and end with men, they sweat, they misbehave, they don’t want to obey men just because. Although I would not classify it as a feminist movie because there are still problems with it, the wardrobe, while an improvement, has more work to go. It is a step in the right direction, however, and while there will be many men trolling with their misogynistic opinions on the internet, it’s important for movies like this and Ghostbusters to be made by women, staring women. 42 Movies for women should not be subdued to just the genre of romance because women enjoy all kinds of movie genres, and once this becomes more normalized there won’t be so much backlash for the next women lead movie. Works Cited Birds of Prey. Directed by Cathy Yan. Performances by Margot Robbie, Jurnee Smollett- Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Rosie Perez. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2020. “Birds of Prey Goes Full Ghostbusters 2016.” Youtube, uploaded by Geek + Gamers, 2 February 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O22CLuXoCfc. Ghostbusters. Directed by Paul Feig. Performances by Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Leslie Jones. Sony Pictures, 2016. Pennell, Hillary, and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz. “The Empowering (Super) Heroine? The Effects of Sexualized Female Characters in Superhero Films on Women.” Sex Roles, vol. 72, no. 5-6, 2015, pp. 211–220. Smelik, Anneke. “Feminist Film Theory” The Feminist eZine, http://www.feministezine.com/feminist/film/Feminist-Film-Theory.html Suicide Squad. Directed by David Ayer. Performances by Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto, and Karen Fukuhara. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2016. for my film you need to use this source Smeliagnk: “Feminist Criticism of Film”

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