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Gender Meets Genre in Postwar Cinemas$
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Christine Gledhill

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036613

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036613.001.0001

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The Women’s Picture from Outrage to Blue Steel

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Gender Meets Genre in Postwar Cinemas

Pam Cook

University of Illinois Press

This chapter draws on post-structural conceptions of the mutability of gendered and sexualized identities in order to question cinematic identification with one's gendered like, an assumption underpinning categorization of genres by gender. Speculating that we go to the cinema to lose rather than confirm identities, it opens a conceptual space for male masochism and female violence, thus challenging a dominant binary in feminist thinking. In questioning the gendering of genres, the chapter notes shared structures and affects between the western and women's picture, normally posed in antithetical terms. Arguably, such similarities can be traced to their common foundation in melodrama conceived as a mode underpinning Hollywood's genre system.

Keywords:   gender, cinematic identification, genre, sexualized identity, gendered identity, male masochism, female violence, melodrama, Hollywood

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