Feminine identity as the site of struggle: the confrontation of different models of femininity in contemporary Spanish cinema directed by women (1990-2005)
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AbstractThe last two decades have witnessed an unprecedented incorporation of women within the Spanish film industry. This is part of a general increase in newcomers since the beginning of the 1990s, when the industry was undergoing a deep restructuring. The media has celebrated this incorporation of women filmmakers, recurrently referring to their different sensibility, a feminine perspective noticeable in their films. Despite the socio-cultural interest of this incorporation, no thorough study of their work has been completed. This research project surveys the extent and scope of these women's incorporation within the industry, and explores the varied ways that their films engage with the main discursive trends that define femininity in Spanish cinema and mass media. Femininity is broadly understood here as the socio-cultural interpretations of what constitutes 'correct womanhood', but, also, discursively: as the space of struggle wherein individual (fictional) women engage with these constructions, by contesting and / or adopting some of their elements. Further attention is given to the ways that these new filmmakers's films engage with traditional and modern formulations of femininity, as articulated in implicit relation to, respectively, Francoism and postfeminism. In the core chapters, several detailed analyses are given of especially relevant films by these women, using a critical discourse analysis approach. These chapters address topics that are foregrounded in these women’s films and that have been central to feminine experience, namely: the family and motherhood, romanticism and sexuality, and the ‘Other’. From the study it emerges that these women’s films adopt a different perspective if only because they often render visible discriminatory behaviours (e.g. discrimination at work) and representational practices (e.g. the sexual objectification of women). Regarding their treatment of the aforementioned ‘feminine themes’ (i.e. family and romanticism), these filmmakers self-consciously engage with the conventions that have constructed femininity in the media.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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