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In this discussion, I examine the continual problem of female representation in the movie narrative. Movie narratives often rely on female characters situated in roles that find them objectified by males, allowing us to hypothesize--as the body of feminist film criticism has done since at least the mid- I970s--that she also becomes objectified by her viewing audience. Then calling for a sweeping change in the mindsets of both male and female filmmakers, Sharon Smith precisely points out the problems of female representation:
"The role of the woman in a film almost always revolves around her physical attraction and the mating games she plays with the male characters. On the other hand a man is not shown purely in relation to the female characters, but in a wide variety of roles-struggling against nature ... , or against militarism ... ,or proving his manhood on the range. Women provide trouble or sexual interludes for the male characters, or are not present at all"
I will use Smith's observation as a springboard into a brief examination of female representation in The Piano.Using this movie as a guide, I will then demonstrate how The Serpent's Kiss, much as The Piano does, provides us with a model of female empowerment--a model that subverts the patriarchal order of the movie narrative.
Proceedings from the Northern Plains Conference on Earlier British Literature
Copyright © 2005 Jason McEntee
McEntee, Jason, ""I thought perhaps the reaper was going to do something to you": The Serpent's Kiss and the Issue of Reverse-Objectification" (2005). English Faculty Publications. 2.