Analysis of Gender Representations in the Movie Shrek
Shrek is a movie that is very different from any movies that one could see so far. It is a computer-animated American comedy film, directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, and starring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow. It was based on William Steig's 1990 fairy tale picture book Shrek!, and was produced by DreamWorks Animation. Clearly displaying its difference, Shrek was the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2001. Looking at all the three movies that have been produced so far, on can see that the characters of Shrek, who is an ogre and his love Fiona, who is originally a beautiful princess but then becomes an ogre herself, as well as other characters of the movie, go against the expectations of society regarding gender and its representation on screen. In this essay, I would like to discuss some aspects of this alienation in describing gender dimensions, and by showing that this alienation is not necessarily negative, I also would like to display how I believe Shrek really had a deep impact on society, as well as it encouraged reflection on what it really means to be a certain gender in today’s world. Shrek is a movie about this ogre called Shrek who lives by himself in a swamp and does everything that is basically not considered decent by society when it comes to proper behavior, including being dirty and picking his earwax to use it as a candle for the dinner table. One day, his swamp becomes invaded by fairly tale characters that have nowhere to go, so Shrek decides to look for Lord Farquaad who can nullify his choice to exile the characters of Shrek finds Fiona, the beautiful princess and rescues her and brings her back to Lord Farquaad. Of course, as fairytales go, Shrek rescues Fiona and falls in love with her but this love seems to be impossible until we find out that Fiona herself is an ogre who changes her appearance every night due to a curse. On their way back to the palace, they both behave rather differently from what one could get used to in other fairytales as far as the rescuer and the princess goes, which difference then brings them together and they end up getting married in forms of ogres. In the further parts of the movie, they continue to meet obstacles because of their appearance, such as expectations of Fiona’s parents and the whole kingdom, as well as they go through difficult times fighting against the stereotyping of people and others around them. At the en, however, their love and devotion and their way of being who they are, no matter whether that is an ogre or a human, they become the viewer’s favorites, gaining respect both from them and the rest of their fairytale world for simply who they are, and for how they look or behave. In fact, the gender representations in Shrek are what make the audience and the rest of the characters fall in love with the main characters, such as Shrek, Fiona and Donkey. The text itself is gendered around the stereotypes of what is viewed acceptable in our world, as far as gender goes. What is does, however, it turns around those stereotypes and applies them in ways that allows one to reflect on their meaning, realizing that sometimes what is normal in society, what is masculine and feminine, might not always be true. Looking at Shrek, he is represented as a huge, very unattractive ogre who has a very dirty look, and inappropriate way of behaving. Though this is so, he has a great heart, and some very masculine characteristics, such as pride, and competition when it comes to trying to win back his swamp and Fiona at the end. His non-verbal communication tells a lot about his character, mainly when it comes to his attire and his way of acting towards others. When he first meets Donkey, for instance, he takes more space, and has less physical contact with contact with him then he does with Fiona, which clearly displays that he as a man...
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