This book interrogates representations of fatherhood across the spectrum of popular U.S. film of the early twenty-first century. It situates them in relation to postfeminist discourse, identifying and discussing dominant paradigms and tropes that emerge from the tendency of popular cinema to configure ideal masculinity in paternal terms. It analyses postfeminist fatherhood across a range of genres including historical epics, war films, westerns, bromantic comedies, male melodramas, action films, family comedies, and others. It also explores recurring themes and intersections such as the rejuvenation of aging masculinities through fatherhood, the paternalized recuperation of immature adult masculinities, the relationship between fatherhood in film and 9/11 culture, post-racial discourse in representations of fatherhood, and historically located formations of fatherhood. It is the first book length study to explore the relationship between fatherhood and postfeminism in popular cinema.
Screening Images of American Masculinity in the Age of Postfeminism
This collection of essays presents a sampling of film and television texts, interrogating images of U.S. masculinity. Rather than using “postfeminist” as a definition of contemporary feminism, this collection uses the term to designate the period from the late 1980s on—as a point when feminist thought gradually became more mainstream. The movies and TV series examined here have achieved a level of sustained attention, from critical acclaim, to mass appeal, to cult status. Instead of beginning with a set hypothesis on the effect of the feminist movement on images of masculinity on film and television, these chapters represent a range of responses, that demonstrate how the conversations within these texts about American masculinity are often open-ended, allowing both male characters and male viewers a wider range of options. Defining the relationship between U.S. masculinity and American feminist movements of the twentieth century is a complex undertaking. The essays collected for this volume engage prominent film and television texts that directly interrogate images of U.S. masculinity that have appeared since second-wave feminism. The contributors have chosen textual examples whose protagonists actively struggle with the conflicting messages about masculinity. These protagonists are more often works-in-progress, acknowledging the limits of their negotiations and self-actualization. These chapters also cover a wide range of genres and decades: from action and fantasy to dramas and romantic comedy, from the late 1970s to today. Taken together, the chapters of Screening Images of American Masculinity in the AgeofPostfeminism interrogate “the possible” screened in popular movies and television series, confronting the multiple and competing visions of masculinity not after or beyond feminism but, rather, in its very wake.
Examines how postfeminism and postracialism intersect to perpetuate systemic injustice in the United States. Historicizing Post-Discourses explores how postfeminism and postracialism intersect in dominant narratives of triumphalism, white male crisis, neoliberal and colonial feminism, and multiculturalism to perpetuate systemic injustice in America. By examining various locations within popular culture, including television shows such as Mad Men and The Wire; books such as The Help and Lean In; as well as Hollywood films, fan forums, political blogs, and presidential speeches, Tanya Ann Kennedy demonstrates the dominance of postfeminism and postracialism in US culture. In addition, she shows how post-discourses create affective communities through their engineering of the history of both race and gender justice. “This book makes a welcome contribution to both feminist media studies and critical race studies by addressing a crucial and often overlooked discursive intersection of contemporary cultural life, where postfeminism meets postracial discourse. The scholarship is conceptually sophisticated, critically informed, and intellectually robust.” — Hannah Hamad, author of Postfeminism and Paternity in Contemporary U.S. Film: Framing Fatherhood
Feminism at the Movies: Understanding Gender in Contemporary Popular Cinema examines the way that contemporary film reflects today’s changing gender roles. The book offers a comprehensive overview of the central issues in feminist film criticism with analyses of over twenty popular contemporary films across a range of genres, such as chick flicks, teen pics, hommecoms, horror, action adventure, indie flicks, and women lawyer films. Contributors explore issues of femininity as well as masculinity, reflecting on the interface of popular cinema with gendered realities and feminist ideas. Topics include the gendered political economy of cinema, the female director as auteur, postfeminist fatherhood, consumer culture, depictions of professional women, transgender, sexuality, gendered violence, and the intersections of gender, race, and ethnic identities. The volume contains essays by following contributors: Taunya Lovell Banks, Heather Brook, Mridula Nath Chakraborty, Michael DeAngelis, Barry Keith Grant, Kelly Kessler, Hannah Hamad, Christina Lane (with Nicole Richter), JaneMaree Maher, David Hansen-Miller (with Rosalind Gill), Gary Needham, Sarah Projansky, Hilary Radner, Rob Schaap, Yael D Sherman, Michele Shreiber, Janet Staiger, Peter Stapleton, Rebecca Stringer, Yvonne Tasker, and Ewa Ziarek.
Representation in cinema as a phenomenon in its own right has rarely been addressed in film criticism. This volume of new essays attempts to address this omission, examining ways in which representations are put into place through mise-en-scene, editing and technological manipulation: processes that re-mediate what we see, hear and know. Contributors challenge commonplaces about representation, exploring the limits of the visible in a variety of ways. This concern with representation appears an urgent one given the contemporary hyper-visual environment: currently no image seems to exist which cannot be exported, disseminated or commodified in a matter of seconds. In an era dominated by so-called citizen journalism, where home videos showing happy slapping compete in cyber-space with bootlegged footage of Saddam Husseins execution, the question of limits in filmmaking is more relevant than ever. Taken together, these essays represent a broad view of critical analysis in film studies; thus thematic concerns about race sit alongside others focusing on formal questions of technique and presentation. In addressing how our access to images is mediated and re-mediated through cinematic technologies, these essays problematise questions about transparency and our relationship to a perceived reality.
The definitions of fatherhood have shifted in the twenty-first century as paternal subjectivities, conflicts, and desires have registered in new ways in the contemporary family. This collection investigates these sites of change through various lenses from popular culture - film, television, blogs, best-selling fiction and non-fiction, stand-up comedy routines, advertisements, newspaper articles, parenting guide-books, and video games. Treating constructions of the father at the nexus of patriarchy, gender, and (post)feminist philosophy, contributors analyze how fatherhood is defined in relation to masculinity and femininity, and the shifting structures of the heteronormative nuclear family. Perceptions of the father as the traditional breadwinner and authoritarian as compared to a more engaged and involved nurturer are considered via representations of fathers from the US, Canada, Britain, Australia, South Africa, and Sweden.