Two key areas of Film Studies—genre and gender representation—have generated challenging theories and debate. However, these concepts rarely intersect. Studies of gender representation and sexed spectatorship largely subsume genre into narrative and visual organization. This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to open up questions about the complex interaction of aesthetics, cultural meanings, and affect in mass-mediated cinematic fictions. For too long, represented gender has been taken as a means of ideologically assessing films. The challenge, then, is to open a perspective from the side of genre: to explore the aesthetic and imaginative power of gender as a tool of genre, and to explore what genre returns to the cultural sphere. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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