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Unformatted text preview: Emily Meath COMM 284 Linda VanBuskirk Final Paper 10 December, 2007 The Representation of Revised Gender Roles in Thelma & Louise Throughout this course we have grappled with the idea of whether or not men and women differ markedly in the ways in which they act and communicate. Many of the studies we read suggested that in many ways men and women's behaviors differ more by degree than by kind, and that perhaps we aren't as different as the media typically suggests (Dindia first article). There have been many studies conducted that look at the representation of gender roles and stereotypes throughout the media and the effect that these representations have on the public's ideas of norms of gender roles and behaviors. For example, the article "Gendered media: the influence of media views of gender" states that "There is by now fairly convincing evidence (Hansen & Hansen, 1988) that exposure to sexual violence through media is linked to greater tolerance, or even approval, of violence" (Wood, J. 1994). However, when it comes to certain media outlets that combat this stereotypical support of violence and aggression against women, is the issue of gender stereotyping solved? For example, in films such as the highly popular Thelma & Louise (Scott, R. 1991), the two female protagonists (after which the film is titled), begin their journey as outlaws when they weekend getaway trip goes awry when Louise reacts to an aggressive male attempting to rape Thelma and verbally abusing her, by shooting and killing him. After this, Thelma and Louise are on the run from the law, and the further they run, the more they realize that they cannot ever let themselves return to the world of male dominance and aggression that they have been living in up to this point. Unfortunately, no matter how far they drive, the cannot seem to fully depart from the male landscape that threatens their newfound bond of independence and strength, and so in the end, they choose to take their own lives rather than surrender them to the inevitable control of male-dominated police force that has been tracking them down. And so the gender dynamics that Thelma & Louise represents seems positive in the sense that it revises the gender role of women from passive sex object to actor and aggressor in the sense that the women refuse to be caught by the males and brought back into the world of male dominance, but it also represents a gender dynamic of irreconcilable differences between males and females in the sense that the women are so intent on not being caught by the males, that they would rather die than continue to exist in a world dominated by males. How men are represented as aggressors and how women respond/react to this male landscape of sexual harassment DEFINE TERMS: aggression (physical, verbal), sexual harassment (physical, verbal), male landscape Works Cited Dindia first article From Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture by Julie T. Wood, Chapter 9, pp. 231-244. 0 1994. Reprinted with permission of Wadsworth Publishing, a division of Thomson Learning. Fax 800-730-2215. Hansen, C. H., & Hansen, R. D. (1988). How rock music videos can praisaj of Social interactions. Sex Roles 19 287 316.change what 1s seen when boy meets girl: priming stereotypic apThelma & Louise (1991), dir: Ridley Scott
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- Fall '07