Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Communications Honours

School

School of Communications & Media Studies

Faculty

Faculty of Communications and Creative Industries

First Advisor

Dr Lelia Green

Second Advisor

Dr Debbie Rodan

Third Advisor

Dr Mardie O'Sullivan

Abstract

This thesis is framed within the broad study of film theory and analysis. It is my research into the representations of teenage females in mass media films made and released in the USA and Australia in the years before and after the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and Women's Liberation Movement that began in the 1970s. This work is significant primarily in that it is an analysis specifically of teenage females who feature as lead characters in films. The sample of films has been chosen because as mass media, mainstream films their distribution is indicative of their acceptance within the dominant patriarchal ideology in the USA and Australia at the time. As one of the most significant movements in modem times, the Women's Liberation Movement (which, in its beginnings ran alongside the media-driven Sexual Revolution of the sixties) brought previously unsaid, 'private' issues into the open or, in Jungian terms, into the conscious. I will show that the social events reported in the media at the time are reflected in the representations of teenage females in the mass media films that were made. The film analysis draws from two somewhat opposing schools. On one hand, the feminist readings offer insight into the representations of women that reflect the position of women within the social dynamic of the time. Feminist readings have, however, been accused of presenting women as powerless 'victims' of patriarchal dominance. In contrast, a Jungian reading - which could be accused of being somewhat limited by its foundation in the school of Individualism, and therefore isolating the individual experience from society's influence - offers a perspective which has a promise of individual empowerment through what Jung calls the journey to individuation, or enlightenment. It is by comparing and contrasting the two kinds of readings of the films in question that one gains comprehensive understanding of the representations of teenage females in films during the period 1950s to 1970s.

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