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Reflections of Gendered Expectations Reflections of Gendered Expectations – Representation of Women in American Film This paper describes the evolving representations of women in American movies to discover how they are reflections of gendered expectations that exist in the lived culture of the United States. It elucidates definitions of sex and gender as well as the ways in which two sexes and two genders are differentiated in the public imagination, first. Fol owing that the sexes and genders are considered further, as represented on film, primarily, but also in other visual and aural media. The paper focuses on notions of participation and non-participation, access, the nature of gendered prescriptions, and normativity, as well as on the enforcement of gender conformity. It also takes up the origins of female representation in American motion picture production, as well as themes, tropes, film forms and formal elements of movies that inform these representations. It considers societal change, audience participation and academic approaches to understanding such representations ― including issues of narcissism, identification, projection, voyeurism, power and control and scopophilia. It also creates a broader context of the issues of identification as a background to the understanding of the particular issue of female representation. Finally, the paper presents feature film examples of gender resistance, while speculating on the possible future course of Hollywood's representation of women, based on the evidence presented here.
1.Introduction and Definitions.
To begin our discussion of film representations of women, we need to clarify the use of the words sex and gender. When we speak of men and women(or boys and girls)we frequently use the two terms, sex and gender ― in expressions like the opposite sex, unisex eyewear, the fairer sex, gender specific, gender rôles, or gendered meanings. Although specialists generally embrace a shared understanding of the distinction Reflections of Gendered Expectations between the two terms, the meanings of these words are, nonetheless, not so clearly differentiated in general discourse. Because many associate the term sex with sexual intercourse, a taboo, or, at least, a subject that some people find difficult to approach and to discuss; some confusion arises concerning the meaning and usage of the two words. To avoid the word sex, some people use the word gender as a euphemistic replacement for sex. Indeed, gender may comprehensively replace sex in the discourse of many, from the overly discrete to the fastidiously precious. As a result, there seems to be a tendency among many to give preference to the term gender for all meanings ― as the default, and safe, euphemism.
  In this paper, however, we will be careful to distinguish the two terms. We will use sex as a biological term, meaning the physiological differences between male and female, particularly with regard to anatomical differences in reproductive organs. Gender, by contrast, will be used as a cultural term. The term gender, then, will refer to learned behaviors, as wel as to patterns of action, participation, power and belief. This term will be used in contradistinction to the term sex, which describes what is biological y determined. Because sex is biological, it is viewed as universal, while gender is viewed as culturally determined. Sex will be viewed as something in nature, something universal, something which can be defined objectively. The specifics of gender will, on the other hand, predictably vary from culture to culture.1  Rather than making the nature/nurture distinction between sex and gender, some feminist writers, such as Monique Wittig(1982)2 and Judith Butler(1990)3 have seen the two as parallel attempts to construct male-female distinctions to the political detriment of women. While not denying the provenance or the artificiality such writers claim for the distinctions made between men and women or male and female, we will be more interested here in the formal methods used by filmmakers to represent and to reinforce the popular assumptions regarding the presumptively natural distinctions between the sexes and the naturalized, cultural distinctions they posit as existing between the genders.
  As we consider gender in Hollywood cinema, we discover a clear distinction between the treatment of men and women in narratives. The rôles, behaviors, patterns of action, participation, powers and beliefs of men and women have been, in most films, quite clearly delineated. Men are seen to be privileged, central, active, out for adventure. They express their opinions clearly, sometimes loudly; they are leaders, in many senses of the term, and they move the action forward with their physical exploits. Women, in the same Hollywood narratives are portrayed in nearly the opposite sort of way. They are subordinate, secondary or marginal to the plot, passive. They tend to stay at home, repress their opinions, and express themselves quietly and tentatively. Women also tend to be followers, waiting for instruction from men, and they express Reflections of Gendered Expectations themselves more mentally and emotionally than men do. That is, they think and worry and feel, rather than taking decisive physical action ― as men so often do.   Even NASA, as noted by Michael Warner(1993), felt the need to represent the two sexes in terms of some suburban American normative understanding of the two, when they designed a plaque for the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecrafts. This plaque, reproduced as Figure 1 below, was intended to represent, among other things, the human race. Instead of emphasizing the biological differences of sex, the designers, Carl Sagan and Frank Drake, focused more on culturally defined aspects of gender ― hair style, posture(the man stands squarely, ready for action, while the woman stands at ease, passively waiting for whatever might transpire), focus(the man is closer to the center and closer to the other implied action on the plaque), activity(the man is waving, while the woman's arms are at rest).4 That this plaque fails to clearly convey biological sexual difference is in itself interesting, but its recourse to culturally understood gender differences to represent sexual distinction is even more fascinating. It might even suggest to extraterrestrials that men and women are differentiated by the female's inability to oppose her thumb or move her limbs ― since only the male figure is seen to do so here.
Plaque aboard Pioneer 10
Figure 1
  As in a broad range of cultural activities ― whether history, art, politics, business, science, academics, literature, architecture, or others ― women are underrepresented in film. This underrepresentation is not simply a mathematical failure to match participation and representation to the total population of women vs. men in America Reflections of Gendered Expectations or other countries. By that measure, Hollywood would be falling extremely short, as would most other institutions in most countries in the world.5 Yet, even if we consider other factors and might, accordingly, be tempted to expect lower participation and less extensive representation of women, we would still find the numbers falling short of reasonable expectation.
  The reasons for limitations on women's participation in so many aspects of life, including filmmaking, are varied, both within any single culture and across cultures, but one important contributing factor is an on-going belief in biological determinism ― that men are meant to do certain things and that women are meant to do certain other, that is, different, things. The inability of many to break the bonds of biological determinism blinds these people to the possibility that gender rôles could be different, or even absent. This blindness, consequently, makes change extremely difficult, or, at least, painstakingly slow.
  An important thing to keep in mind is that sex, even if we agree that it is biological and immutable, is not what determines the male-female rules and the rôles of social participation. To whatever degree males may be more likely attracted to culturally gendered male preferences, likes, activities, careers, attitudes, etc., these choices are clearly not made entirely of a free will. The same can be said of women. It is clear empirically that not all women adopt the gendered preferences which are culturally prescribed, any more than men all choose precisely that which is culturally dictated for men. What is it that pushes men into their prescribed channels, in any given culture, and women into theirs?  Although societies are constantly changing and, at the same time, the dynamics of the pressures on men to be prescriptively male and on women to be prescriptively female are in constant flux, the goal of these pressures remains the same. The goal is to define women one way and to force all women to fit the mold, while defining men in another way, and squeezing them, correspondingly, into a distinct, but equally well-defined mold of their own. Obviously, it is not only gendered rôles that are forced upon members of identity groups. Similar pressures are experienced by members of other identity groups, as well. Margaret Cho, a Korean American comedienne and actor, makes frequent reference in her comedy routines to her experiences in the short-lived American TV situation comedy, All American Girl(1994). Cho asserts, for comedic effect, that producers of that program complained at times that she was "too Asian" while criticizing her at other times for being "not Asian enough."6 Just as women, and men, are forced into stereotypical y defined gender conformity, so, too, are other identity group members. Cho, an Asian American woman, who understands perfectly well what it means to be Asian in America was being told how to be more or less Asian, according to the stereotypes of people who knew nothing of the Asian American Reflections of Gendered Expectations experience. The producers even hired "experts" to advise Cho on how to be more Asian, or how to be just Asian enough, without being too Asian.7 Jewish Americans also know the drill. The popular CBS Television program, The Goldbergs, which had enjoyed a remarkable seventeen-year run on radio before its five-year run on television, eventually fell victim to the anti-Semitic hysteria that was a part of the fall-out of the activities of the House Un-American Activities Committee(HUAC). The show and its creator and writer, Gertrude Berg, often faced pressure to make the show's content "less Jewish" and even to fire a starring actor, Phillip Loeb, when his name turned up on HUAC's Hollywood blacklist.8 Even U.S. President Barack Obama has been challenged to prove that he is "black enough" to call himself the first black man to hold that office.9 Many people insist they know instinctively or empirically what a woman is, what a man is, what an Asian is or what an African American is ― and want to enforce these stereotypes on people who rather clearly do not need their direction, and who equally see themselves as something quite different from the inscribed stereotypes that others try to foist upon them.
  The pressures on men and women to conform to gendered rôles come from the everyday institutions of society, family, friends, school, religious organizations, government, media, and so on. The pressure to fit the normative definition continues throughout our lifetimes. As Benshoff and Griffin(2009)remind us, the relative import of the various institutional forces may ebb and flow, but the institutions mentioned above continue to contribute to the amalgam of pressures to conform to gendered expectation, as well as to the other expectations dictated by group identification.10 If adults find it difficult to stand up to the societal pressures of gendering and gender stereotyping, it is really no surprise that it would be significantly more difficult for children to resist.
  In response to cultural definitions and concomitant prescriptions of what it means to be male and what it means to be female ― how we define masculinity and femininity and how we express gendered expectations ― within a culture, children are coerced into gender conformity. That is, they are forced to behave in "gender-appropriate" ways. Of course, this is true both for boys and for girls. The coercion may be subtle, even gentle, or it may be quite overt, even violent. Whether a boy or a girl, the child is "corrected" by parents, from an early age, when behaviors, actions, even likes and dislikes do not fit the gendered expectations of society. While parental correction may well be loving and nurturing(though it is not always so; parents, too, can be gender bullies), the child faces much tougher censure outside the home, or, at least, outside the protection of the parents.11 Neighborhood children, playmates, schoolmates and siblings(particularly those a bit older than the child)may employ much more aggressive tactics to enforce gendered expectations than parents do. The child may be Reflections of Gendered Expectations teased, shunned or physically intimidated. Either physical intimidation or psychological intimidation, or a combination of the two, can lead, ultimately, to actual pain and long-term harm for children who find fitting in to gendered expectations difficult.
  Two aspects of gendered expectations which are readily observed in daily life as wel as on the movie screen are homosocial groupings and homosocial spaces, two closely related phenomena. Frequently, we see women together, to the exclusion of men, in most societies, and certainly also in most filmic representations of life. Likewise, we see men together quite often in their own settings, both in life and on film. These are homosocial groupings. Additionally, we recognize the places, or spaces, where men are expected to be found in groups, and those where women are likely to be found in groups ― homosocial spaces. To these we might add homosocial activities ― the kinds of things that women exclusively, on the one hand, or men exclusively, on the other, do with other members of their same sex.   We are so accustomed to watching men being men and doing what men do in places that men frequent ― and doing it with other men ― that we seldom notice or comment on any particular instances observed. Equally, we are so accustomed to watching women being women and doing what women do in their preferred sites ― and doing it with other women ― that we never notice that almost all film and television narratives have them doing just what is expected, just what is prescribed, based on their gender. Or, more accurately, we should say that our ability to overlook the obvious is based, not on their gender, as an essential property of sex, but on culturally prescribed and accepted expectations of gender.   When film characters like the two women in Thelma and Louise(1991)come along and start behaving as men often do, doing things men often do, turning up in places men frequent, using tools or other props that men usual y use, and otherwise rejecting the traditional rules and rôles of their gender, we pause and take note. But how many first-time viewers of this movie notice that the men in this film are also taking on unfamiliar rôles, finding themselves in strange situations and even talking in ways that are usual y associated with women? Even though our attention is focused on the gender-busting behavior of the two main characters, two women, the film is full of interesting observations on the gendered rôles of men, at the same time. For once, though, the men, their predicaments and their attempts to cope get second bil ing to the same issues that the two women are facing simultaneously in this narrative.
  Another aspect of the cultural separation of men and women is the use of language. Not only do men and women talk differently in all cultures, the people(both men and women)talk about men and women differently. The very language employed treats men and women distinctly, and makes different assumptions about men and women as two separate identity groups. Even the methods employed to insult men and women are Reflections of Gendered Expectations different. Men are often insulted by questioning the man's manliness, or by comparing the targeted man to a woman or a girl. We seldom insult women in a comparable way, but, instead, employ rather different methods, which, likewise, would never be used against men. If a man begins to talk like a woman(or a woman like a man)in the real world or in the mediated world of movies and television, we notice right away. We know, on some level, that the person or the character should not be doing this, and we are forced to wonder why they are. We demand to know what this violation of gender rules means? As members of the viewing audience, we may not always feel a need to see the behaviors suppressed, but we still require an explanation for the transgressions. In a narrative with such goings on we are not surprised that other characters seek to thwart these behavioral anomalies. Intellectually or emotionally we, the members of the viewing audience, often find ourselves supporting their suppressions without much thought. Unless we are more concerned with the politics of oppression than we are with are desire to enjoy a good entertainment, we are most often complicit in the efforts to bring the gender offenders into line. 2.Background to Gender Representations in Film.
We need to remind ourselves of the relatively short history of film, and of the historical positioning of the motion picture era. When movies were first being made in America, in the late 19th century, it was still the Victorian Age in Britain, and many of the images as well as the beliefs and moral attitudes of that age influenced movie narratives in both countries.12 Victorian social models already had a firm place in literature and on the stage, whether American or British, and these models were carried over to American cinema. The women of these models were not active participants in life, for the most part; neither were they, with notable exceptions, active participants in literature, theatre or film. To take part at all, some women, like Mary Ann Evans, found it necessary to misrepresent their true gender. Ms Evans published her books under the name George Eliot ― with the obvious intention of regendering the author for the consumption of readers.
  Just as many Victorian novels had portrayed women as girls, more than as women, the same sorts of representations found their way into theatre and, then, movie production. These girl-women were represented as small, cute, and defenseless, while, at the same time, being childlike in their appearance, behaviors, thinking and manners. Visually, they were often associated with cute, pretty or delicate things(to reflect their own precious nature) ― things like birds, small animals, cute trinkets, soft toys and delicate artifacts. Later, of course, after the introduction of sound and then color, other precious associations, more complexly coded in musical styles, in other sound Reflections of Gendered Expectations associations and in color, could be made with the girl-women. Within the narrative, these delicate creatures required the advice, direction and protection of men ― fathers, brothers, uncles, husbands, even grandfathers. Later, as women interacted with a slightly wider society, this protection became a responsibility of male bosses, boyfriends, and other men. In some cases the protector was even a son. Protecting these girl-women from sexual advances was a particularly important and reoccurring rôle given to the men. Even the resistance by women to this unwanted and often unwarranted male obsession with protection became an early trope in American film ― an early narrative rebellion against the gendered status quo.
  In the same way that African American characters were forced into one defined identity or another, women throughout the history or film narratives have been forced into two broadly defined rôles ― the Virgin or the Whore.13 The Virgin, as understood in Hollywood cinema, is not simply inexperienced sexually ― the normal meaning of the term ― but is also naïve about a spectrum of other issues. Indeed, to be good, acceptable, the ideal girl-woman, this film character actually needed to know14 precious little about the world around her and the realities of that world. Not only the sexual realities but also the realities of a political, economic, historical, or financial nature were to be kept from her ― had to be kept from her ― for her own good and for her own contentment.   The Whore, by stark contrast, is al too knowledgeable. She knows about sex, of course, but she also knows about other things that would be common knowledge among men, but not "necessary" and certainly not prudent for women to know ― at least, not for the mainstream "good" women. Race also plays a rôle here, since the Virgin was most often very predictably blonde with a rather white complexion and Anglo-Celtic or Germanic features, including, typically, blue or green eyes. The Whore, by contrast, was often of a "foreign" or exotic appearance, with dark hair, darker skin, dark eyes ― all intended to suggest racial deviation from this idealized, Anglo-Celtic or Germanic norm of the Virgin.
  The Whore was not simply passively knowledgeable about sex and other aspects of life, she used this knowledge both to harm men, and sometimes, to harm the good, white Virgin, with whom she contrasted diametrically. Whore is not a word that many people in polite society one hundred or more years ago ― or, indeed, today ― would use frequently. It is certainly not a word that filmmakers of the time would be likely to bandy about, particularly when they were struggling for greater social and institutional acceptance of their products, as they most assuredly were in the early 20th century. Rather, another word, a euphemism, was employed. Hollywood, along with popular literature and theatre, promoted the notion of the Vamp ― coming from the word vampire ― as a sort of stand-in for the more odious term whore. The Vamp Reflections of Gendered Expectations was a dangerous and destructive force that appeared over and over again in movies. Of course, she was usually defeated and punished for her evil ways by the end of the movie, but, in the meantime, she could do a lot of damage to the good characters in the narrative.
3.Participation of Women in Filmmaking.
Although the participation of women in film production is somewhat outside the purview of this paper, we might set up a transitory eruv in order to make a few brief observations about women as members of film crews, as well. This digression is useful because it will point to a possible future state of affairs with respect to Hollywood representations of women ― or of other underrepresented and misrepresented identity groups. We have considered women within the narratives of film, i.e. female characters, but what of the employment of women in film production? Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, women have not played a large rôle in production, although, of course, there have been quite a number of screen stars and other actors who were women. Nevertheless, the numbers of directors, technicians and other filmmaking staff have been quite limited ― outside, of course, certain gendered functions.   Women have always been active and numerous in their participation in certain, limited aspects of movie making. They have been make-up artists and make-up girls [sic], hair-stylists and costume designers, certainly, and, to a lesser extent, set designers. We have also seen that a number of women have written(or co-written)film scripts. We are even seeing ever-increasing numbers of female producers and directors in Hollywood productions, but this is a much more recent development, and not yet a trend.   The overarching fact is that women have always been and continue to be underrepresented in filmmaking, particularly in the most influential and powerful filmmaking rôles ― as producers, directors, studio executives, unit production managers, cinematographers, film editors, and so on ― but also in most other mechanical and technical functions, such as camera operators, sound designers, foley artists, boom operators, gaffers, and key grips. It might be said that this is primarily a fact about women and their employment opportunities both in general and in the film industry specifical y. However, the absence of women in major filmmaking rôles also has an important and a cumulative impact on how women are represented in movies, since the power to represent woman has remained primarily in male hands.   Within the realm of race, these exclusionary practices have not been lost on African American director, Spike Lee, who has long fought a rear guard action to get more Blacks on film production crews and to get more involved in other decision-making Reflections of Gendered Expectations rôles in the industry. Lee's assertion that the Hollywood movie industry "doesn't know much about black people and doesn't much care" could be applied just as accurately to Hollywood's traditional attitude toward women.15 Likewise, James McBride's observation that "Nothing in this world happens unless white folks says it happens," can equally be refashioned as "Nothing happens in movies unless men say it happens."16 Although the participation of women is expanding, notably in the directing and producing functions, women have a very long way to go before they reach parity with their male peers, and have only begun to break into certain filmmaking rôles. Now, though, we must return to our discussion of women as characters in film narratives.
4.Development of Gendered Representations.
Let us now consider five important themes of women in Hollywood narratives. Typically, these themes relate to the Virgin, or to the otherwise, good, idealized female character. The first four were formulated by Haskell(1987), while the current author has added the fifth, as an extension based on the fourth.17 The five themes are listed in Figure 2.
Five Common Themes
of Women in Hollywood Films
Figure 2
  Sacrifice requires little explanation, particularly for any reader in Japan. This is also a frequent narrative trope, as well as a real-life virtue in Japan. Women are expected in Hollywood, and often in real life, to give up everything for the benefit of others. Those benefitting may be her parents, her husband, her children, her professional colleagues, her classmates(especially her male classmates), or others. Before I ever visited Japan I heard a young Japanese woman contrast her mother with other people as being "others oriented" rather than "oriented toward herself." Certainly, the term "others oriented" characterizes one frequently occurring trope for female Hollywood film characters. Reflections of Gendered Expectations   Affliction includes such things as mental or physical illness, loss through death or disappearance, her own impending death, the anticipated loss of a loved-one, emotional col apse, and so on. It may also include the need to care for another, especial y for a family member, where it begins to overlap with Sacrifice. Again, this is a trope which appears repeatedly in film narratives about women.
  The Need to Make a Choice is certainly something that impacts male characters in film narratives, but the manifestations are different for men and women. The man may have to make a choice between two somewhat similar options. Does he take the job in Dallas or the one in Seattle? Does he remain in the financial services department or move to marketing? Should he buy the Ferrari or the Lamborghini? Other people may influence the man's decision but seldom does anyone in the narrative attempt to impose a decision. And the choice, while eliminating the other option, certainly does not negate the other option. That is, he does not stop working, he does not resign from his current company and he does not give up driving when he makes any of the choices. He is just shaping the nature of his work location, type of work or car to drive.
  For women the Need to Make a Choice, as a movie trope, is often an absolute negation of one and acceptance of the other. She may have to make a choice between a career and not working, rather than a choice between one work location and another, or between one division of the company and another. Often the choice involves an overt or an implied threat that her failure to make the right choice(i.e. the choice that some powerful character would prefer she made)will cause deprivation. She may be deprived of the affection of her lover or her husband. She may be deprived of access to her children. Or she may suffer some other deprivation or otherwise negative consequence, if she does not choose according to gendered expectation. We see this trope frequently when the woman must choose between motherhood and career or between the career and a man, but it has other manifestations, as well.
  Competition Between Women also includes competition among women. The competition may be substantive or it may be specious. It may be competition over a man, but it could be a protective, competitive desire to see her children do better than the neighbors' children. In this trope, the competition is often viewed by male characters as petty or vindictive ― not the sort of thing that the supposedly more cerebral and more rational male characters would ever get up to.
  The fifth aspect, which we have added, is Competition with a Man(or with men). This creates particularly frequently appearing tropes in film noir, but also occurs in a broad range of other movies. It is almost always inevitable that the woman will lose this competition, but occasionally she wins, as in North Country (2005), Silkwood (1983), Thelma & Louise(1991), Norma Rae(1979), and Erin Brokovich(2000), where women take on men and male institutions. Of course, the central character in Silkwood Reflections of Gendered Expectations and also those in Thelma & Louise end up dead in the end, so their achievements are only moral, not material, victories. Nonetheless, women do win out in the end, on occasion, but often merely for comedic effect. More often they fail in this competition, and when the competitor is a single male character they often end up as the property of the man, or, otherwise, fall under his control and have to submit, once again to his decision-making authority.
  While men are primary, women are secondary to most stories ― be they novels, plays, operas, histories or other narrative forms. They are submissive, beautiful, and alluring, often preoccupied with attracting men or being attractive to men. We can see a great divide between the portrayal of men and women in movies, for example, when we consider how unmarried men and women are represented. The single man is represented variously as carefree, happy, free to act, unencumbered, satisfied with his life. To marry, for many male characters is treated as a dreadful end to a wonderful chapter in his life. The unmarried woman, by stark contrast, is represented as neurotic, bitter, hardened, unhappy, unfulfilled. Her displeasure can even make her dangerous.   If women are too powerful, too independent, too resistant to their gendered rôles, they typically pay a narrative price for this recalcitrance. This price might be simple loss of control and independence, having to give up her powers or her dreams. This is a constant trope in American film. The girl who is told she must not do this, study that, want something a boy might be granted without hesitation. The price paid may certainly be a far more painful kind of punishment ― societal rejection, imprisonment, actually physical or sexual abuse, death, mental illness, etc. Even in a popular American television program, and subsequent movies, based on the notion that women can be free and independent, like Sex and the City, the need to be partnered with a man is a constantly recurring theme. Repeatedly the four "girls" in these programs are punished by society when they will not play by the rules of gendered expectation. At times, in spite of their purported feminist consciousness, they even punish one another for their own gender transgressions. 5.Societal Change and Hollywood.
World War II and its aftermath was an important time period in the continued development of gender rôles in the United States. Because of the need for extra labor, women were, for the first time, al owed to work outside the home in large numbers. This changed the perspective of women toward work, toward themselves, toward society and toward their place in society. The war also had a huge impact on men, and the various changes for both sexes, along with related change brought on by the Great Depression, extending over many years before the war, met in a sort of ongoing Reflections of Gendered Expectations collision before, during and after World War II. Neither America nor American film would ever be the same again.
  As a literary and then a filmic response to these massive changes and to the uncertainty which inevitably accompanies change, a new narrative style emerged. In film this new style was later to be called film noir(from the French words for ‘movie, film, cinema' and ‘black,' but also carrying a sense of ‘dark, somber.'). Film noir elevated the importance of women, often giving female characters a much more central rôle, showing women with greater strength and with more self-sufficiency. But these newly empowered women were also most often portrayed as inherently bad, or, at the very least, not so good as the Hollywood Virgin of earlier cinema. These stronger female characters have been referred to as femmes fatales, literally, ‘fatal women.' Such female characters could cause the downfall, destruction or even death(the meaning of fatal in English)of the central, male character, or, indeed, of other characters, male or female. As with the Vamp and other narratively empowered women, the very fatalness of the woman was quite often her own downfall, destruction or death, as well. Again, these assertive female characters were most often forced to pay a narrative price for their affronts to the prescribed gender order.   Even the more traditionally good women of Hollywood, though, were changing during the post-war period. Women were becoming sexier and more sexually expressive. Such "blonde bombshells" as Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren began to fill the screens of Hollywood. Equally alluring women with raven hair also appeared and gained a wide following ― such as Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren. Even the still-asexual "good girls," the 1950s version of the Virgin, were beginning to demand more authority and the right to an occasional opinion. These female characters, often called the "girl next door," were certainly not sexualized and remained the idealized, usually blonde, often blue-eyed, good girl of the past, in many ways, but they too were changing. Some famous examples are the characters played by Debbie Reynolds, Doris Day and, for a younger audience, Sandra Dee.
  For the most part, the woman's place remained, for Hol ywood writers, as it was for many American men, in the home. Hollywood, when it was not making films noirs, stil viewed suburban life as beautiful, desirable, and even inevitable; and the movies represented the woman living that life, with a husband and a family, to be completely fulfilled and utterly happy. The homemaker could enjoy her four H's ― Home life, Hoover, High heels and Happiness. To this list we could even add her gendered rôle, Homemaker, a fifth H. Unfortunately, there is a sinister sixth H, which eventually found its way into film narratives, as well ― Homebound. Of course, we need make no mention here of the character's other identifying aspects ― race, class, faith, sexuality, physical or intellectual abilities. These remained resolutely predictable, standardized, Reflections of Gendered Expectations and inscribed to be White, upper-middle to upper class, Christian(usually Protestant), heterosexual, and free of any disabilities, at least not of the type that men might also have.
  Film noir, however, was not the only genre beginning to show cracks in this normative, idealized picture. Other types of film were also beginning to show that all was not so very perfect in suburbia, and that not all women were satisfied with the rôle their gender, or the gender police, had traditional y assigned to them. From Douglas Sirk's 1955 movie All that Heaven Allows to the 2002 Todd Haynes film it inspired, Far from Heaven, we have seen women struggling with their narrowly defined rôles. We have also seen women struggling with what was assumed to be their "perfect" lives in suburbia. These struggles have been represented in movies and television, from Valley of the Dolls(1967), Stepford Wives(1975, and remade in 2004), to the recently ended television program Desperate Housewives, originally broadcast from October, 2004, through May, 2012 ― and currently in wide syndication. At the same time, some more recent television series, including Sex and the City, Brothers & Sister and Grey's Anatomy, have attempted to depict more competent and more confident women. All of these films and television programs have dealt with that sinister sixth H ― the feeling on the part of some women that they have been tied down to that home in suburbia, in spite of their own interests and their own preferences. Likewise, we see occasional female characters in TV and movie narratives, who, once freed of the harness of home, start seriously questioning the limitations placed on them in the workplace, in politics, in labor organizing, in the military, in their sexuality, and in many other ways ― in more complex forms and with ever-increasing frequency and variety. This has been a slow but steady progression from the representation of women in the earlier years of Hollywood movies and Hollywood-based television production. But these developments, too, have their historical and social origins in earlier times.
  Just as the 1940s and the 1950s had been a time of change for American society, for women, for men and for Hollywood film, the 1960s added additional changes which supplemented the changes of the two preceding decades. People, women in particular, but also film critics, audiences and filmmakers, were beginning to view women and their rôles in film narratives differently. In the women's movements of the past, women had been concerned mainly with gaining legal and social rights and assuring greater participation of women in the workplace and in other social milieu. By the 1960s women were asking more fundamental, more self-reflective, questions both about their own understanding of the very concept of womanhood, or what it meant to the individual to be a woman, and about the rôles assigned to women. As a corollary to these questions, more and more women were beginning to carefully scrutinize their own complicity in these rôle assignments. Reflections of Gendered Expectations 6.Film, Film Form, and Representation of Women as Objects of Study.
In his 1972 book, Ways of Seeing, John Berger points out that movies continued to be a guide to how people, men and women alike, perceive the world, and, concomitantly, how people view women. Berger saw Hollywood film in the 1960s as continuing to contribute, along with other institutions of the day, to the maintenance of the patriarchal status quo. The subject matter of movies was decidedly changing, and the restrictions on how stories might be told were easing, certainly. These changes were facilitated by the demise of the Motion Picture Production Code, which died a natural death, without much fanfare, in the early 1960s. Nothing very important, however, was changing for women, in terms, at least, of how Hollywood was representing them and asking audiences to see them and to understand their rôles in narratives or, for that matter, in the real life these narratives were supposed to reflect. In the narratives of 1960s Hollywood, women remained in a position very close to that of the past ― women were still the property of men, or, at best, very little more than the property of men, in most of the representations being constructed. Even in the venerated suburbia of the contemporary real world, this old relationship between men and women, as male chattels, was less and less apparent ― and far less so than in Hollywood's, and, for that matter, television's, persistent representation of suburban America in the decade of the Beatles, Civil Rights, the beginning of the second wave of feminism and early anti-Vietnam War protests.
  Hollywood, of course, was not the originator of the objectification of women in art and media. Throughout history, Western art and media have placed the male observer at the center and have objectified women ― whether the medium be painting, dance, sculpture, advertising or film. The images of women were to be consumed for male pleasure, primarily. A secondary purpose might be the display of female beauty and allure and the feminine character for the emulation of women in the audience.
  The filmmakers of Hollywood made it very clear, and still very frequently continue to do so, that the worth of women was to be based on how they look. Female characters were all about appearance, allure, physical beauty. A kind of prescriptive or normative perfection was required and promoted by filmmakers, as well as other media makers. A woman, at least the good woman, the right kind of woman, was required to have the right hairstyle, the right clothing, the right body shape, the right bone structure, and the right make-up. Other factors also played a part in the construction of these ideal women, of course ― their upbringing, their behaviors, their family background, their father's and their husband's occupation, their social affiliations, their use of language, their artistic and culinary creations, their understanding of social niceties, etc. ― but their beauty, as well as the beauty of things associated with them, was very nearly the Reflections of Gendered Expectations be-al and end-al in establishing their worth. This associative beauty includes things like the woman's house, her wardrobe, possibly the car she drives, the places she frequents, and even her friends. The friends are an interesting point, since they could never be more beautiful themselves than the main object of the male gaze,18 but their associative beauty was often on a par with that of the more central female character.19  Audiences came to expect a woman who got everything right, in these same frivolous ways, to be successful at getting what she wanted or needed. In the Hol ywood narrative the central goals, desires or needs, often included things like the right man, the happy home, the perfect suburban(and subordinate)life. In movies as in real life, people marveled when the normatively perfect woman had bad luck. "But she was such a pretty girl!" is a lament we hear often in both movies and real life since the 1960s, when a woman(not a girl, as this phrase would have it, at all)encountered the various set-backs in life that are perfectly normal, no matter what one's gender or how good one looks. As one of Billy Crystal's Saturday Night Live characters of the 1980s would have had it, "It is not how you feel; it is how you look.(And you look marvelous, darling.)."20 It is no surprise that Crystal's exaggerated character, Fernando, is based on a real Hollywood celebrity, Fernando Lamas ― most active and most well-known for his on-screen and off-screen life in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
  At the same time, this reduction of self-worth to a simple equivalence with female beauty led to the commodification of normative beauty.21 Fashion, make-up, hairstyle, diet plans and products, liposuction, plastic surgery, botox, and other beauty treatments and products have been sold to women who wanted to be the women on the silver screen or at least to approach the calculated perfection, the normative beauty, that they were seeing represented there. Charles Revson, the founder of the Revlon make-up empire, clearly understood the business of beauty products when he said, "We don't sell make-up; we sell dreams." Hollywood also thoroughly understood this Madison Avenue distinction summed up so well by Revson. Hollywood was all about image, and the image of the female star was one of unwavering beauty, but also a form of beauty prescribed by the powerful men of Hollywood and realized through very careful cinematographic effort.   There is also a racial or an ethnic element to the construction of this standardized image of female screen beauty. Stated in its simplest way, this standard could be described in much the way that the Hollywood Virgin of the past was summarized ― fair-haired and extremely white(where white is both a racial designation and an actual skin tone). If you were not lucky enough to have these attributes naturally, whether appearing on the screen or facing it from the cheap seats, then you had to dye your hair or bleach your skin, or do whatever else was necessary to approach the ideal. Thus, we see the creation of the products that were designed to help the female Reflections of Gendered Expectations audience member in this task. This formulation of Hollywood's or America's notion of beauty is reflected for al the world to see every time we view a televised beauty contest, like Miss Universe or Miss World. It does not take a very keen observer to notice that Miss Japan, Miss Thailand or Miss India do not look very Japanese, Thai or Indian. Here, too, female beauty can only be defined in Hollywood/American terms. Foreign esthetic preferences must take a back seat.
  At about the same time that Berger's Ways of Seeing came out, Laura Mulvey wrote a famous essay entitled, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,"22 which has come to be a classic study, along with Berger's book, on the creation of the Hollywood notion of beauty and how we are to be shown and how we are to see that beauty. Mulvey's essay goes into great detail concerning the formal features of manufacturing this female beauty. As already al uded to earlier, the author makes it clear that what we see and how we see it are not accidents, but are very carefully planned and executed decisions about the shot, the lighting, timing and the placement of characters, reaction shots, et cetera.
  Mulvey, and a large number of writers following her, have looked carefully at the way we are asked, indeed forced, to view women, how the meanings of beauty and self-worth are constructed, and how gendered expectations are met. Women are so thoroughly removed from the action of the narrative that they actual y have an effect of stopping any on-going action of the male characters when they appear. When women, occasionally, are empowered to have an influence over men or over the events of the narrative, this power is almost exclusively defined in terms of sex appeal, or, at least, exceptional physical beauty. The woman, quite literal y, uses sex, or at least beauty, as a weapon ― most often her only weapon, though, admittedly, it is often a potent weapon, frequently powerful enough to accomplish her purpose, at least for the moment at hand.
  Mulvey also describes a corollary to beauty and female sexuality, the use of fetishization to bring the message home. Fetishization, first described by Sigmund Freud, is an extreme interest in a particular object, whether animate or inanimate, and is often thought to have emotional and sexual connections. Sexual connections are not always implied, of course, as the 2000 film Castaway demonstrates sufficiently. The character played by Tom Hanks clearly has an emotional and fetishized connection to a volleyball, but it would be absurd to suggest any sexual component to the connection. When the fetish is sexual, however, it is related to power, insofar as the person fetishizing the object(or here, some female body part, most often)gains control over the whole person by gaining visual control of the single object or body part. Whether a close-up of a woman's leg or ankle or the representation of non-differentiated and non-individualized womanhood in chorus lines, the formal Hollywood methods of sexualized fetishization contributed, and still contribute, to male pleasure, as elucidated by Mulvey. Reflections of Gendered Expectations   It is interesting to compare the instances of female fetishization, which are such a part of our movie viewing experience over one hundred years with the newly emerging instances of male fethization ― both in terms of their similarities and their differences. Brad Pitt's butt is no less feteshized by Gina Davis's character in Thelma and Louise (1991)or by Madame Trussaud's wax museum in London which, a few years ago, offered paying customers a chance to squeeze a three-dimensional wax image of this same male actor's body part.23 Yet, these two examples of the fetishization of a male body part are offered up, knowingly, in both instances for humorous effect, while the fetishization of women and of female body parts is quite a different story throughout the history of Hollywood film.   There is nothing ironic in the intention of the close-up of Barbara Stanwkyk's ankle on her first appearance, descending the elegant stairway of the Dietrichson mansion in Double Indemnity(1944) ― nor in thousands of other instances of the fetishization of the female form. It is interesting that a female character in 1991 has come so far that she can talk to her girlfriend about Brad Pitt's butt, or his character's butt, as it were. Fred MacMurray's character, Walter Neff, was not so shy that he had to refer to those pretty ankles behind the characters back. He was addressing his fetishes directly to Barbara Stanwyk's character, Phyl is Dietrichson, a ful forty-five years ahead of Gina Davis's(Thelma's)whispered references, completely out of earshot of the male owner of the fetishized body part. Men were boldly and openly fetishizing female body parts during the heyday of the Hays Office's Motion Picture Production Code era. It was considered a major breakthrough in 1991, during the vastly liberalized era of the Motion Picture Association of America's film-rating system, when a woman did the same thing, even though she did it far more quietly and far more discreetly. Forty-five years later, and women had still not completely caught up with men in the narrative pleasures of watching the opposite sex and expressing the pleasure derived.
  When describing the pleasures of both men and women in the movie audience, commentators have pointed to the notions of narcissism and voyeurism. Narcissism refers to the pleasure one takes in oneself. When we watch a male lead, we are encouraged to identify with this character, his motivations, his opinions and his feelings. We are meant to feel his pain, join his efforts, feel frustrated by his failures or his shortcomings, and celebrate his accomplishments, as if they were our own. Much as the sports fan who views himself24 as one with the team when he uses second person plural pronouns, as in "We finally beat Michigan," or "We have to do better in our game next week," the audience member is supposed to be one with the male character. Of course, this is also true for the women in the audience, regarding their identification with the male lead, or with the sports team, in the same way that it is true for men. It is even true, somewhat incongruously, of a German or a Japanese audience member watching Reflections of Gendered Expectations a World War II action movie. The non-American, or "foreign" audience is simply not afforded the opportunity to root for the German army or for the Japanese navy. All audience emotions are, by design, tied up with those of the American hero. The war movie, or a Western, simply would not make any sense if the German, Japanese or Native American audience refused to go along with the inscribed identification with the white, American hero and his cohorts. Just as non-Americans, or Native Americans must identify with a character who is not at all like themselves, women must also identify with the male protagonist, since this identification is the only thing on offer in the cinema.
  Voyeurism refers to the pleasure of looking or watching; it refers frequently to watching in a sexualized way, though there are other non-sexualized pleasures of voyeurism. Part of the thrill the voyeur enjoys is the feeling of control over the object of watching which is enhanced by the realization that the object is being watched without her/his knowledge and is, thereby, controlled by the voyeur. Of course, the two concepts, narcissism and voyeurism are closely related psychologically, since what has been termed narcissistic and voyeuristic scopophilia is about watching, undetected and is also about the watcher's placing himself into some self-created narrative of the scene he is observing. Self-insertion into the narrative is very important in all sorts of watching activities. The importance is obvious when it comes to the viewing of pornographic films, but also crucial when we watch sports, dramas, comedies and so on. Even in non-narrative film and television we are asked to identify with another person. We are often invited by filmed documentaries and even television newscasts to imagine that we are interacting with documentary makers or with the news readers.
  In terms of its formal expression in film narcissistic and voyeuristic scopophilia is frequently identifiable in the use of objective and subjective shots. The scene unfolds with objective shots of a woman, whether in broader establishing shots or in more intimate(even fetishizing)close-up shots, often a combination of different types of shots is juxtaposed. Then, we cut to a subjective shot, from an important character's point of view ― most often a male character. We are actual y looking at the woman from the perspective of the viewing male character, and at the same distance from the female object as he is. These subjective shots accommodate audience identification with the beautiful object(narcissism)and also provide the audience with the pleasure of looking, again scopophilia, voyeurism.
  Another formal aspect of the shot which plays a rôle here is the timing of shots and the pacing of cuts(actually a post-production consideration). A very lengthy shot, in terms of temporal duration, is most often associated with the fetishized woman, as are extreme close-ups. Evil men are, interestingly, shown in extreme close-up more often than heroic male leads, but sexualized women are most often the object of the Reflections of Gendered Expectations camera's extreme close-up gaze. Lighting is another formal aspect of scopophilia, as the beautiful woman is given every benefit of filmmakers' knowledge of visual enhancement through lighting. The wide use of high key lighting and of flat lighting are typical of the formal choices made to enhance and to draw attention to the normative female beauty filmmakers promote.
  The notion of "men looking at women" certainly is not an invention of movie makers. Men have always looked at women, both individual y and in groups of men. Each has its benefits for the scopophile male. When he is the only one looking, or perceives himself to be, he has a super-enhanced sense of control over the object. When the man is looking as a member of a group of men, he has the homosocial enjoyment of sharing, remarking on and seeing the reactions of other males to the female object. But men do not only look, of course. As already alluded to, men have always thought about women, talked about women with other men, talked about looking at women with other men, lied to other men about their experiences with women and fantasized about women. They even blurt out their thoughts to women, including the objectified target. We need not stop assembling this list of what male eyes and male brains and male speech get up to here, but will.   Movies, like many other forms of entertainment, have always set up women to be looked at by men. We need look no further than Danny Boyle's Opening and Closing Ceremonies at the London Olympics in 2012 to see numerous women in stunning, elaborate, fantastical costumes, while most of the male entertainers were dressed in suits or, at least, far less space-consuming and far less colorful attire.25 The very presentation of these women insists that they are to be looked at, while the men's attire suggest that there may be some other reason for their presence ― possibly to be listened to, as a speaker or a singer, rather than to be looked at. Even if we assert that women have always been a larger segment of the movie audience than men, it is, nonetheless, clear that the visual pleasure of men is a major driving force behind formal film design ― even if further consideration of the female psychology of watching women would make an intriguing topic.
  Let us think for a moment about other formal, visual ways, in additional to the technological issues already mentioned, in which the interest of men in women is expressed in cinema. Of course, first of all, we see male characters doing all the things mentioned in the previous paragraph ― thinking, talking, and fantasizing about women. But we can also identify some typical film tropes for expressing men's pleasure at seeing and at looking at and at watching women. We see a shot of a group of men; cut to a shot of a woman; cut back to the men, suddenly laughing or smiling broadly, in unison. We do not have to hear what comments were made, or even understand the language of the comments. Knots of scopophilic Italian men require no subtitles. Both Reflections of Gendered Expectations television and movie audiences are already all too familiar with the meanings and the meaning-making devices employed. The content of the commentary is not important; the visually manifested pleasure that the men derive from the objectification of the woman is the only important issue here.   To highlight another film trope, we often see a man, or a group of men, passing a woman on the street. Predictably, he, or they, will turn for another look at her from behind. Everyone in the audience knows this shot is coming. Sometimes he/they will stop and take a longer look ― even moving from simple looking to prolonged watching. Yet another common movie trope has the man forgetting entirely what he was saying when his speech, and his thoughts, are interrupted and interfered with due to the appearance of a beautiful woman. He is often so distracted by the woman that he does not even attempt to complete the task, the thought or the conversation at hand, the one which had seemed so important to him immediately before the appearance of this, quite literally, stunning woman. Instead, he immediately moves toward the woman, engages her in conversation, and concentrates his thoughts and his efforts in impressing her, getting to know her or otherwise improving his chances with her. It is difficult to tell where the film trope stops and the reality of men in real-life situations begins.
  Of course, the idea of men watching women is not only salient at the time of conceptualization and viewing ― temporally two quite separated moments. It bridges all of the activities of movie making, from initial concepts through actual theatre or home-based viewing. As previously mentioned, a movie is typically shot by mainly male technicians ― whether cameramen, lighting staff, sound technicians or those taking other rôles. All of these men(and possibly a small number of women)are looking at and watching the beautiful, objectified women, as the shoot goes on. Film editors, again, mainly men, are watching the women and looking for formal ways to enhance male pleasure in viewing. Even the marketing department is creating commercial clips and trailers, which emphasize the beauty and sexuality of the female leads. During the summer of 2012 there was an interesting one-woman reaction to the reality of men on the movie set being granted the power of the voyeur over the female actor, which made the media and entertainment media rounds. Lindsay Lohan is reported to have demanded that all the male members of the production crew strip down to their underwear while filming her topless. In some reports, it was even claimed apocryphally that the film crew were required to strip naked, before Lohan would.26 7.Recent Developments in Representation, Contents and Marketing.
An example of the extent to which marketing is dependent on promoting the beauty of the female physical form was recently made available here in Japan. An American Reflections of Gendered Expectations television program, which was really a drama about the emotional connections between and among Lesbians, was promoted in a completely misleading way. No mention was made of homosexuality, whether in an overt or simply in a suggestive way, when The L-Word was marketed to Japanese television audiences ― even though the meaning of the term L-word in this context was clear from a cursory viewing of even a single episode to be ‘Lesbian.' Instead, promoters directed viewer attention, particularly male viewer attention, once again, to the beauty and to the sexual allure of the female characters, and to their familiarity with and local popularity of one of the female leads, Jennifer Beals. Never mind that the only ones who would engage these beauties romantically or sexually would be other gay women. Never mind that the only people these beauties intended to attract or seduce were other women. The marketing was framed, rather cynically and quite misleadingly, as a business-as-usual commodification of female beauty and the sexual allure of beautiful women.27 The famous French director and film critic, Jean-Luc Goddard, once summed up the situation in cinema quite succinctly when he said, "… film history is a history of boys photographing girls." It seems that it matters little in the halls of advertising agencies that these girls were meant to be looked at by other girls, not by any collection of gawking Japanese man-boys.   We might briefly mention here another common movie trope, popular in thrillers, suspense movies and horror films, particularly in so-called "slasher films" which affords women, often very young women, the opportunity to demonstrate some strength, some gumption. Similar to men in situations of war, other threats to himself, or threats to his family, young women are sometimes able to resist the threat. These women, called the "final girl" in discussions of slasher films, fight back and overcome the threat, even if they never seemed, to the audience, to other characters or to themselves, at all capable of meeting the chal enges posed. Like men in action films this final girl uses her intelligence, her inner strength and her personal resolve to turn back the threat, in order to protect herself and sometimes the people around her.
  Although Hollywood movies offer thousands of examples of boys and girls succumbing to the pressures of gendered expectation and even more where no questions are ever raised about gender conformity, we do, occasionally see the character of a child or a young woman or man who stands up to these pressures and may even succeed, to some extent, in overcoming them. Often, as members of the movie audience, we applaud the independence, the self-confidence and the strength of any character who manages to adopt contrary behaviors, attitudes, or rôles. When these stalwart characters say no to gender prescriptions, the writers, directors and other contributors of film content usually intend it that way, and the audience is, in a sense, equally coerced into celebrating the resistance of these valiant heroes in their cinematic Reflections of Gendered Expectations war against conformity ― whether they would ever be the champions of gender resistance once outside the cinema.
  More recently we have seen some examples of American entertainments, coming from Hollywood and elsewhere, where resistance to gender prescriptions is celebrated on film. Often the character is set up to be a sort of "gender offender" ― someone who bucks the prescriptive norms of gendered behavior, opinion, preference, employment or expectation. In the American movie For Your Consideration(2006), for example, there is a movie-within-a-movie called Home for Purim. The character of the daughter Rachel, a Jewish girl, is introduced to all the appropriate men in town to marry. She turns them down, one after another, only to choose a gentile(i.e. a non-Jew)as her marriage partner. Worse yet, this gentile is not a man but a shiksa(a gentile woman). This is a very basic violation of the gender codes that no one in the movie-within-a-movie narrative is prepared to accept. This is a very brave and difficult position for this young woman to take. If the societal milieu the film creates is not friendly to her recalcitrant behavior and her anomalous choices, certainly the film viewing audience is manipulated to support her resistance to gender(and age)prescription.   Although not an American movie the British film Billy Elliot(2000)certainly resonated with American audiences, as well.28 In this narrative an eleven-year-old boy rejects the male-gendered activity of practicing the sport of boxing, in favor of the gender-inappropriate activity of learning to dance. It really occurs to no one in his family that he would want to do anything other than sport. The settings of the boxing and dancing activities are nicely juxtaposed as two homosocial sites, clearly coded for gendered expectation and gendered participation. Not only is the boxing gym, for example, populated entirely by men and boys, the adjoining dancing school that Bil y prefers is, apart from the later addition of Bil y himself, populated entirely by women and girls. Both the boxing boys and the dancing girls work hard and sweat, but it is a dirty, grimy, brown and grey sweat in the boxing arena. The girls sweat prettily in nice, clean, pink and white tutus, ballet slippers and leotards, complete with gossamer, feathered headpieces. The gender contrast is highlighted humorously in the poster for the movie(also used as covers on subsequent DVD releases), showing Bil y standing awkwardly in his heavy high-topped boxing boots, dark brown trunks, big boxing gloves, dirty singlet and brown, outsized, leather protective headgear. This is truly a perfect image of a fish out of its gendered water. In spite of the difficult struggle Bil y must carry forward and despite the hostile opposition put up by many of the characters, particularly member's of Billy's family and his local community, Billy ultimately overcomes the imposition of rules and rôles. Indeed, the final scenes, even the final frame of the film, are overt and unrestrained celebrations of Billy's victory.
Reflections of Gendered Expectations   Similarly, in another American movie, North Country(2005), a woman's refusal to accept gender rules and rôles is depicted on film, as a reimagining of a real-life legal case of sexual harassment. The film is a fictionalized representation of the events leading up to and including the case, Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Company, a ground-breaking lawsuit filed in August, 1988, in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota.29 This filing became the first class-action sexual harassment lawsuit filed and tried in the United States. The film itself was based on an earlier remediation of the historical facts, as represented in the 2002 book, Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law. Although fictionalized for the screen, the story told here is about a woman, whose name was changed to Josey for the film, who suffered many of the same abuses that the real-life Lois Jenson endured ― including sexual harassment in the form of abusive language on and off the work premises, physical threats and actual abuse, the spreading of malicious lies about the female victim's conduct, attempts at sexual seduction, systematic ostracizing, acts of stalking, intimidation, and the creation and maintenance of a hostile working environment. These and other acts of harassment, intimidation and hostility began years before the actual trials and continued while the trial was taking place. The real-life case as well as the book and the fictionalized film all provide vivid pictures of the types of pressure that can be and has been applied to "gender offenders."  Thus, we do see some cases in which characters rebel against gender rules, but most of the time there is quiet acceptance of the gendered expectations. Indeed, the very fact that Hol ywood problemetizes the cross-gender behaviors of the characters, while demonstrating wide-spread familial and social opposition, reemphasizes the unusual nature of Rachel's, Billy's and Josey's choices. When, on occasion, a character, like these three, opposes a society's gender expectations, the character's resistance is usual y broken down. The character is most often forced to conform to the common cultural expectations of gender before the final credits roll. These three characters, among others, are notable for resisting in the first place, but are all the more notable for continuing to resist and for ultimately achieving their intended goal, in spite of the ferocious societal forces arrayed against them.   We must return again to the intention of the filmmakers in terms of the examples posited here. The problemetization of the characters' gender violations is made clear even before we see the film. Promotional devices, such as posters, tag lines, advertising text, promotional stil photography and movie trailers, al bring home the notion that the breaking of gender rules is a problem, a disruption in the lives of normal people. We have already mentioned the poster from Billy Elliot. Likewise the promotional stills of both il ustrate the problemetization of gender deviance. The academy-award-winning actor Charlize Theron, playing Josey, is shown sitting disconsolately in dirty work Reflections of Gendered Expectations clothes in a normally male space in one such still. In others she is in overalls and a hard hat in other work areas. But, possibly the most interesting, because it dovetails with the men-turning-to-look trope we have seen so often and have discussed above, is a still with all the men seated in a lunch room, turning in their chairs to ogle the filthy mud-spattered and work-fatigued image of a standing Josey. A companion still has Josey walking down the center of a room of seated, male co-workers. She truly seems to be running this male gauntlet, in the most primitive and prurient sense of the term.   The movie trailers of both Billy Elliot and North Country also emphasize the gender differences and gender rules to be taken up in the films. There is an early mention of how much more money men make than women in the North Country trailer ― particularly when the men are working male-gendered jobs(in the mines)while women are working female-gendered jobs(as waitresses in a coffee shop). There is also a quick suggestion that any woman who does the work of a man is a Lesbian, at least from a certain male character's point of view, fol owed quickly by repeated instances sexual harassment and simple sexism in the male-dominated workplace ― dominated both in terms of sheer population, but also in terms of power relationships. Physical abuse and attempted sexual abuse are also highlighted. And this is just a two-minute trailer. The movie itself, of course, goes into far greater detail. But the point is that the distributers and promoters of the film want the potential audience to understand clearly that the subject matter of the narrative involves a woman who tries to break out of the prescribed gender molds. The point of view of the filmmakers ― that the woman is treated unjustly ― is also made clear enough in these 120 or 130 seconds of film. The sexism and the sexual harassment is certainly not condoned here.
  In Billy Elliot's trailers, we are similarly informed clearly both about the content of the movie and about the filmmakers' point of view. We see Billy deceiving his father, pretending to be going to boxing practice when he is actually packing his dancing gear into the same bag as his boxing kit. We see his father catching Bil y in the act of dancing with the girls ― towering, as Billy does, a good head above his female classmates ― and the disconsolate rage that this discovery causes the man. Gender inversion is also invoked, as it is in North Country ― this time by the victim, Billy, himself. When one of the girls from the bal et class suggests that "Plenty of boys do ballet, you know," Billy utters a single syllable reply. "Poofs," he scoffs.30 When Bil y's senile grandmother tries to defend him by saying she used to do ballet, the father snaps "That's for girls, not for lads." Here the father, too, scoffs, giving a single word the most disparagingly dismissive delivery imaginable, "Ballet!" But again in somewhat less than two minutes we see that the filmmakers approve of Billy's gender offences and even(in a surprising sort of spoiler for a promotional trailer)that his father eventually gives in Reflections of Gendered Expectations to the boy's gender-deviant intentions. He allows him to apply for admission to a famous ballet school.
  In the case of For Your Consideration, the main thrust of the trailer is to convey the hilarious comedy of the movie. The plot, even the characters, are less important than in the other two trailers. And since the content of the movie-within-a-movie, a drama, is really no more than a plot device for the main movie's story and associated comedy, it may be a bit surprising that the violations of gender normativity, as committed by this internal sub-character, actual y find their way into the 150-second trailer. The mother in the movie-within, Home for Purim, laments that her daughter, of marriageable age, does not seem interested in meeting men.   "What kind of girl doesn't want to meet a nice fella'?" the mother asks.
  In very even and careful y timed syl ables, the harassed daughter retorts, "I did meet a nice fel a'." [Cut to an obviously relieved and smiling mother.] The daughter continues, "Her name is Mary-Pat."   Thus, the Lesbian bomb is dropped on the unsuspecting mother. Even in the trailer it is clear that this is not the way the daughter intended to introduce the subject of her homosexuality, but the constant pressure to conform to gender expectations, which her mother applies, finally drives her to desperate discursive measures.
  There is also a short sequence in the same trailer, and, of course, in the movie, as well, that would surely amuse Margaret Cho. The studio executives and producers try to instruct the Jewish actors, during the making of the movie-within-a-movie Home for Purim, just how to be less Jewish. The director also asks a character to reach down into the "bottom of her womanhood" ― not the bottom of her heart, as the expression in normally rendered. Even the heart is here to be gendered. There could be nothing universal and non-gendered about the human heart, this character seems to be saying. And while most of these bits are presented for their comedic effect, it becomes clear in a short time that we are in for a movie that takes up gender, male perceptions of gender, and gender rules, among other lighter, funnier themes, of course.
  In the promotional aids the producers and distributors have used for these three examples, then, no secret is being made that each film addresses violations of gender normativity. They want potential audiences to know what is coming and to know something about how the movie makers feel about the subject matter. They also demonstrate clearly that they consider the choices these characters make to be deviations from expected behavior, and that both characters within the narrative and the audience will understand this positioning. Of course, the characters in the movie will not be as forgiving, at first, as the audience might be expected to be, but eventually they will come around. The problem, ultimately, will be a problem created by these intolerant characters, and we will all be able to rejoice that the problem was solved Reflections of Gendered Expectations ― to the betterment of all. No suggestion is made that society as a whole will see the errors in its ways ― or see anything wrong with its abusive prescriptions for gender normativity (quite the contrary in North Country, in fact), but at least some of the central characters in this one particular narrative will have come around. They, then, wil be able to celebrate, with us, the viewing audience, and with many of the characters in the narrative, this narrative triumph over gender essentialism, stereotyping and prescription.
These are just a small sampling of some more recent developments in cinematic representation and narrative discussion of gender "deviance" ― each with some positive outcomes. There are many more like these, but even so, the number of films which maintain and never question the existing, prescriptive gender order are overwhelmingly greater. Likewise, each of these cases continues the problemetization of any deviance from gender-normativity. The movie makers are trying to assist the audience to see the situations in more modern social terms of making choices about rôles, behaviors, patterns of action, participation, likes and dislike, powers and beliefs, all without the prescription of pre-determined choices based on gendered stereotypes. The characters who defend and impose gender normativity are real y a sort of col ective straw man. They are there to be knocked down by the arguments of the filmmakers and by the assumed enlightenment of the viewing audience. Even these movies, socially progressive as they may be, treat the choices of Rachel, Bil y and Josey to be behavioral anomalies.   These three films and others with a similar social consciousness, have taken important steps forward and point the way to the future of narrative representation in film. The next step in the representation of women, and of members of other disempowered groups, will be based on the advances already made here. We will see greater progress when films like these find a way to treat difference as something that is simply a part of life, rather than a severe problem or a kind of character flaw that drives the film narrative. For even if it is a problem that can be resolved within 120 minutes, these violations of gender normativity are still being treated as problems, as, indeed violations. They are not depicted as simple, personal choices, but as bad choices, made in violation of the norm, in the first instance, even if the filmmakers have set out to critique these very prescriptions. And when the issue is the specifically the choices made by women, we realize that Hollywood still has a long way to go before it treats women in fair, gender-blind, non-normative ways. As society continues to grant greater freedom of choice to individuals, we can scarcely hope that Hol ywood wil become a Reflections of Gendered Expectations leader in asserting the equality of women or in promoting the rights of women or of other disempowered groups. Still, we can only hope that Hollywood will speed up the pace in trying to catch up.
1 For a concise discussion, additional readings and a useful bibliography, see Amy S. Wharton(2005), especially Chapter 2 "The Gendered Person," pp. 17-52.
2 pp. 63-68. The original publication date was 1990. The page numbers here refer to the reprint of the article cited in the references as Butler(2003).
3 In the section "Gender Trouble, Feminist Theory and Psychoanalytic Discourse," of her book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, as reprinted in Identities: Race Class Gender and Nationality.
4 Although Warner was more interested in exposing NASA's heteronormativity, the diagram on the plaque is instructive, as well, for a consideration of how sex and gender are represented.
5 This includes, of course, educational institutions that may pride themselves on being gender-blind, while actually demonstrating very little gender equality in their hiring outcomes.
6 All American Girl(1994).
7 This issue is addressed more seriously by Tang(2002), based on an interview with Margaret Cho.
8 Some of the events surrounding the harassment of the makers of The Goldbergs and of Gertrude Berg and Philip Loeb are detailed in the documentary film, Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg(2009).
9 See Coates(2007) 10 Benshoff and Griffin(2009).
11 Siblings, especially elder siblings, may simply "support" the parental coaxing toward gender-appropriate choices, but this coaxing by siblings can become much more aggressive, even tyrannical, when the parents are not present to moderate the gender bullying. Of course, some siblings can also become protective of their gender-recalcitrant brother or sister, particularly when outsiders, especially other children, taunt the sibling over non-normative gender behavior.
12 Of course, the earliest films were more spectacle than narrative, more technology than plot; but it did not take long for movie-production worldwide to settle into its rôle as a narrative medium.
13 Of course, all things have evolved over the history of American filmmaking. Certainly, this dichotomy was more pronounced in early movie making and also in the Golden Age of Hollywood, but it has not disappeared even in the films of the 21st century.
Reflections of Gendered Expectations 14 Not simply "did not need to know," but quite literally "needed not to know" about the world and its realities.
15 Lee's assertion, made publicly at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2012, has been widely quoted and analyzed in the media and in the entertainment press. One citation may be found in Rosenberg(2012).
16 Loc. cit17 p. 15718 The friends of the main visual object could either themselves be quite attractive, up to a point, or they could be rather unattractive, to emphasize the beauty of the central female character. The helper, who assisted the hero, when she was not a romantic interest, was almost always shown to be quite unattractive, disinterested in fashion or any of the other vices of the celluloid beauty.
19 The film noir released to American audiences in 1944 Double Indemnity gives an example of the blurring of the lines between the reality of actors and their own real-life beauty rivalries and the competition among characters in the narrative. It is said that many scenes played by and many lines delivered by the young actor Jean Heather ended up on the cutting room floor. Studio executives seem to have instructed film editors to lessen the importance of Heather's scenes, to be certain she did not overshadow the established star, Barbara Stanwyk. Numerous such stories are told in the history of Hollywood, including the many lost scenes of Anna May Wong in Shanghai Express(1932), edited out to enhance the shine of the mega-star Marlene Dietrich, and to downplay the excellent performance of the lesser-known Chinese American actor. 20 The character appeared in a recurring sketch during the 1984 season, entitled "Fernando's Hideaway," a play both on a popular tango-style show tune from the 1954 musical The Pajama Game, written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and on the suave Hollywood actor of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, Fernando Lamas.
21 We use this term to describe a kind of prescribed and universally-accepted sense of what is beautiful. This standard is prescribed by such self-appointed institutions as fashion magazines, and is based on their insistence on dictating what is fashionable at a given moment.
22 Written in 1973 and first published in 1975. Cited in the references below as Mulvey (1999), the date of the reprint sourced.
23 The opportunity to "squeeze Brad Pitt's bum" was widely publicized on Underground station posters and elsewhere in London in the spring and summer of 2003, and also reported widely in news and entertainment media at the time, including an article in the April 18, 2003 issue of People Magazine.
24 In this and the following paragraph we have chosen to use male pronouns when Reflections of Gendered Expectations speaking of the subject of narcissism and voyeurism, while using female pronouns when speaking of their objects. This same choice is reflected in other examples here, though we have successful y succeeded in using non-sexist language in some instances. This choice is not intended to assert that only men are subjects and only women are objects. The opposite certainly obtains, just as same-sex narcissism also certainly manifests itself. The choice was made for stylistic clarity, primarily, but also because the research cited concerns the male-female axis of narcissistic and voyeuristic scopophilia. 25 These observations are based on the author's own viewing of live broadcasts as well as rebroadcasts by NHK Television.
26 One such report appears on the Internet site of Fox News, available at http://www.
foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/07/31/lindsay-lohan-insists-crew-on-new-movie-strip-before-does(retrieved 1/5/13). It has also been pointed out that Roseanna Arquette's 2002 documentary movie, Searching for Debra Winger, has also taken up this issue ― though we have not yet had the opportunity to view this film.
27 The L-Word had a very short run in 2008 on Japanese television, aired by Fox HD Japan.
28 The themes of this British movie were, in fact, so appealing to both British and American audiences that it engendered a musical remake, which actually cost far more to produce than the original movie. After runs on London's East End and then in Australia, an American production had a more than three-year run on New York's Broadway(2008-2012)while also being taken twice onto US national tours(in 2010 and again in 2010 and beyond).
29 Detailed in Minnesota District Court Records, 824 F. Supplement 847, 1993. There were also appeals filed, including that in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 97-1147, dated December 05, 1997. This case has also been widely discussed in legal journals and in the popular press, including the Christian Science Monitor.
30 The word poof is a shortened form of the British slang poofter, a highly disparaging term for a homosexual man.
Reflections of Gendered Expectations Works Cited
Print and Internet Sources
Benshoff, Henry M. and Sean Griffin (2009). America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality at the Movies(2nd ed.). Walden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Berger, John(1972). Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin.
Bingham, Clara and Laura Leedy Gansler(2003). Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law. New York: Anchor Books.
Dillingham, Maude(undated). "The Evolution of Sexual Harassment Awareness," Part Butler, Judith(2003). "Gender Trouble, Feminist Theory and the Psychoanalytic Discourse," reprinted in Identities: Race Class Gender and Nationality. Eds. Linda Martín Alcoff and Eduardo Mendieta. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. [The original article was published in 1990.] Coates, Ta-Nehesi Paul(2007). "Is Obama Black Enough?" TIME 2/1/07. Also available Guerrero, Ed(2008). Do the Right Thing(BFI Modern Classics). London: British Film Haskell, Molly(1987). From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Hodges, Graham Russell(2004). Anna May Wong: From Laundryman's Daughter to Hollywood Legend. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
Mulvey, Laura(1999). "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshal Cohen. New York: Oxford University Press, pp 833-844. This is a re-publication of the original essay, written in 1973 and first published in Screen 16.3, Autumn 1975, pp. 6-18. Also available online at: http://imlportfolio.usc.edu/ctcs505/mulveyVisualPleasureNarrativeCinema.pdf(retrieved 1/15/13).
Rosenberg, Alyssa(2012). "Spike Lee, James McBride, Viloa Davis, and Race Reflections of Gendered Expectations Tang, Jean(October 2002). "No Laughing Matter – Margaret Cho sounds off on political correctness, Asians in the media and defying her parents," Jade Magazine at http://www.jademagazine.com/Ad_sample_large.html(retrieved 1/5/13).
Turner, Graeme(2003). Film as Social Practice(3rd ed.). London: Routledge.
Warner, Michael(1993). Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Wharton, Amy S.(2005). The Sociology of Gender: An Introduction to Theory and Research. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Wittig, Monique(1982). "The Category of Sex," Feminist Issues, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 63-68.
Moving Imagery
(Including Internet Videography)

All American Girl(1994 2005). Aired by ABC Television. Produced by Sandollar and Touchtone Television. All that Heaven Allows(1955). Dir. Douglas Sirk. Writers: Peg Fenwick(screenplay), Edna L. Lee(story)and Harry Lee(story). Universal International Pictures. Brothers & Sisters(2006 2011). Aired by ABC Television. Touchstone Television (2006-2007), After Portsmouth, inter alios.
Billy Elliot(2000). Dir. Stephen Daldry. Writer: Lee Hall. Arts Council of England and BBC Film, inter alios. Trailer available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NS5POk68-s(retrieved 1/5/13).
Cast Away(2000). Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Writer: William Broyles, Jr. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks SKG, inter alios.
Double Indemnity(1944). Dir. Billy Wilder. Writers: Billy Wilder(screenplay), Raymond Chandler(screenplay)and James M. Cain(novel). Paramount Pictures.
Erin Brokovich(2000). Dir. Steven Soderbergh. Writer: Susannah Grant. Jersey Films. Far from Heaven(2002). Dir./Writer: Todd Haynes. Focus Features, Vulcan Productions, inter alios.
For Your Consideration(2006). Dir. Christopher Guest. Writers: Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy. Shangri-La Entertainment and Castle Rock Entertainment. Trailer available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90b8pVBIWkY.
Goldbergs, The(1949 1954). Aired by CBS Television. Columbia Broadcasting System Television, DuMont Television Network, inter alios.
Grey's Anatomy(2005 2013). Aired by ABC Television. Produced by ShondaLand, The Mark Gordon Company, inter alios.
L-Word, The(2004 2009). Aired by Showtime. Produced by Anonymous Content, inter Reflections of Gendered Expectations North Country(2005). Dir. Niki Caro. Writers: Michael Seitzman(screenplay), Clara Bingham(book), Laura Leedy Gansler(book). Warner Bros. Pictures, inter alios. Trailer available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXkVQm0QPyY.
Norma Rae(1979). Dir. Martin Ritt. Writers: Irving Ravetch(screenplay)and Harriet Frank, Jr.(screenplay). Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
Sex and the City(1998 2004). Aired by HBO TV. Darren Star Productions, Home Box Office and Sex and the City Productions. Shanghai Express (1932). Dir. Josef von Sternberg. Writers: Jules Furthman (screenplay) and Harry Hervey(story). Paramount Pictures(as Paramount Publix Corporation).
Silkwood(1983). Dir. Mike Nichols. Writers: Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen. ABC Motion Pictures.
Stepford Wives(1975). Dir. Bryan Forbes. Writers: Ira Levin(novel)and William Goldman (screenplay). Fadsin Cinema Associates and Palomar Pictures.
Stepford Wives(2004). Dir. Frank Oz. Writers: Ira Levin(novel)and Paul Rudnick (screenplay). Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, inter alios.
Thelma & Louise(1991). Dir. Ridley Scott. Writer: Callie Khouri. Pathé Entertainment, inter alios.
Valley of the Dolls (1967). Dir. Mark Robson. Writers: Jacqueline Susann(novel), Helen Deutsch(screenplay)and Dorothy Kingsley(screenplay). Red Lion.
Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg(2009). [Feature Documentary] Dir. Aviva Kempner. Writer: [none credited]. Ciesla Foundation.

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