S&T’s Peer to Peer


Masculinity and femininity in American cinema has always been a controversial topic. The two constructs have been changing with societal expectations and progression, but in the past, every time women and femininity have been granted a chance to develop in cinema, such as the introduction of the risqué flapper in the 1920s and the femme fatale of the 1950s, these developments were quelled by the inevitable return to traditional gender roles. But, after the feminist movement of the 1960s, there was no doubt about how extremely displeased women were with the current state of gender equality (Benshoff & Griffin, 2004). Currently in American cinema, more women have been able to work in directing and production jobs, leading to many films that subvert the traditional hegemonic patriarchal views. The integration of women into bigger roles in cinema have led many to claim that film styles can be gendered just because of the director of the movie. This is sadly not the case, because women are not required to have a distinct style when they create their movies. Two women directors that subvert traditional views of gender expectations and are an example of a gendered view of film styles are Zoe Cassavetes and Sofia Coppola with their films Broken English (2007) and Marie Antoinette (2006), respectively. Although both directors have created undoubtedly female empowering films, neither truly have a distinct feminine style due to massive style and presentation differences. The differences between Broken English (2007) and Marie Antoinette (2006) are best noted through the portrayal of the main characters, and the way both directors use the film theories of narcissism and voyeurism.