Thriller gender representations

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1. Representation of gender in thriller films Liam Woodgate 2. What is representation? When a piece of media is produced we consciously or otherwise think about how we…
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  • 1. Representation of gender in thriller films Liam Woodgate
  • 2. What is representation? When a piece of media is produced we consciously or otherwise think about how we are going to represent people, places and events. Representations are often based on the media perspective, most of the things we see have have been analysed and changed accordingly, censorship comes into play here, but also the idealogical standpoint that the media producer is from. It is, in a more general note, the way that people are presented in the media. We as the citizenry of this country are made to believe that what we see is a complete presentation of what is happening in the world, but because we do not witness it personally we call it a re-presentation because someone else has filtered through it and re-made it in a sense.
  • 3. Thriller film gender representations This has everything to do with the basic representation, in most thriller films we have the common stereotypes of hero, villain and “damsel in distress”. To a certain extent we can apply Propps character types to the mix because in a way those very basic types are stereotypes in and of themselves, e.g.: the princess is usually the prize for the hero and in thriller films the person that needs saving is the woman and the hero is the man and there is no other way of putting it because that is how it is.
  • 4. Now let's look at some examples: For this analysis I will be looking at: ● The Bourne Identity ● Shutter Island ● The Hunger Games
  • 5. The Bourne Identity The Bourne Identity has a unique charm to it that most other thrillers don't ever seem to encounter, but the thing is with Bourne is that it is so, damn, generic. I mean everything from the downright boring plot to the colours put on display. What it doesn't have in story it makes up for having over the top action that is very thrilling. The most stand out aspect of the film is the action and the major fights that happen, for the most part Bourne is the stereotypical alpha male who steps forward to kill everyone who crosses his path apart from one woman who is behind on her tax payments so she gives him a lift for $10'000... seems legit. She may be portrayed as generally weak but as the story unfolds we see this other side to her character where she becomes a little bit hardened by the events unfolding around her. But even so she ends up running away near the end and she sits inside a shop in Greece waiting for Jason to come and be with her. Happy ending, am I right?
  • 6. Shutter Island Ah Shutter Island, that one film that everyone thought was way too complicated, but here I come with the completely differing opinion that it is one of the greatest films ever made. Now there aren't many gender representations here apart from the wife who, apart from being completely normal, is absolutely mental which **SPOILERS** drives the detective to kill her. In the brief flashbacks we see of her she hardly speaks and she is largely calm even though she just murdered her children, now this could mean she is being represented as weak minded which lent a hand to her turn to insanity, but she doesn't sit around as a prize for our hero to collect considering that he kills her. In this new light we can infer that she is being represented as weak minded and easily manipulated, but at the same time the detective is also susceptible to this because he is also completely insane!
  • 7. The Hunger Games You see, The Hunger Games puts these stereotypes in reverse because Katniss is a heroine and Peeta is the weak fool who just slows the hero down. In this case the representation is warped because Katniss must save Peeta a lot of the time and he is often the subject of attacks or abuse. Most of the film portrays Katniss as the bow-wielding badass that she is, but there are some scenes where she lets out her femininity by expressing the stereotypical emotions that women are seen doing when they are the “prize”. In these scenes the roles are reversed back to the more conventional stereotypes with the male character being strong for the female and winning her over, but eventually we see them both come out as heroes and the reversed stereotypes actually come as a welcome change after watching a James Bond film where the premise is different but the love interest is always the same.
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