Date of Award

1999

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Michael O'Shaughnessy

Abstract

The content of my thesis sits at the tail end of about three decades of feminist criticism that has examined women's place in film texts. During which, theoretical work has been done studying the types of roles given to women, how they are constructed visually and narratively across different genres. This thesis then sets out to examine the action genre and the room it makes for the central female protagonist. How does this genre, largely ignored by critics and academics and inherently masculine and dominated by males, allow for a central female heroine? What room is there for any femininity, and how is the central female protagonist coded to survive the entry into this genre? The principal film example l use here is the film G.I. Jane starring Demi Moore. My analysis is built upon, and informed by feminist film studies and film studies in general. I harness elements of these studies; such as semiology, narrative, genre and star study, and use them as a way into the understanding and the positioning of this film. Specifically, by employing a textual approach that covers the major issues in feminist criticism of the last three decades, a study of the action film genre, the star system of Demi Moore and a narrative and textual analysis of G.I. Jane, this dissertation attempts to put this film example, and the depiction of its heroine within the context of an always changing media landscape that finds places- both acceptable and unacceptable for women.

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