Fairytale women: gender politics in Soviet and post-Soviet animated adaptations of Russian national fairytales
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AbstractDespite the volume of research into fairytales, gender and ideology in media studies, the specific subject of animated adaptations of national fairytales and their role in constructing gender identities remains a blind spot at least in relation to non-Western and non-Hollywood animation. This study addresses the gap by analysing animated adaptations of Russian national fairytales in Soviet and post-Soviet cinema and television. It does so as a tool through which to approach the gender politics of the dominant ideologies in national cinema and also, though to a lesser extent, in television. One of the key perspectives this research adopts concerns the reorganization of the myths of femininity, as stored in ‘national memory’ and transferred through the material of national fairytales produced during a century-long period. By providing a detailed critical treatment of animated adaptations of Russian magic fairytales, this research examines the interaction between the cinematic versions of the national fairytales and the representation of female characters on screen. It draws on a range of feminist theoretical approaches on media representation. By performing a systematic study of the under-researched field, through a combination of qualitative and empirical analysis, the work demonstrates how totalitarian regimes and new democratic societies implicitly control gender constructions in similar ways, and specifically through the animated versions of national fairytale adaptations. The research identifies how the constructions of femininity are manipulated through the reshaping of the national past coded in the ancient folkloric narratives. The findings of the study reveal the principles on which the implicit patriarchal gender politics is based. These principles include the conservative choice of fairytale material adapted to the screen, the reactionary increase of production of animated fairytales targeted against liberalisation, the exclusion and reconstruction of strong matriarchal fairytale female characters, stereotypical representation of selected female characters, and normalisation of domestic violence. In so doing the study identifies a weakness in the existing scholarly discourse on ideology, which traditionally has claimed that Soviet animation was non-violent. Further, the study establishes the constructions of national memory and female identity as a part of the dominant cinematic discourses.
CitationFadina, N. (2016) 'Fairytale women: gender politics in Soviet and post-Soviet animated adaptations of Russian national fairytales'. PhD Thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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