This chapter presents the Feminist Film Theory and Feminist Theory of Elaine Showalter that will be both used in the study. To further help the researchers to scrupulously examine the film’s implied and overt content, the different elements of a film are greatly taken into consideration.
Feminist Film Theory
Feminist theory is a social movement that has had an enormous impact on film theory and criticism. Cinema is taken by feminists to be a cultural practice representing myths about women and femininity, as well as about men and masculinity. Issues of representation and spectatorship are central to feminist film theory and criticism. Feminist critics tried to understand the all-pervasive power of patriarchal imagery with the help of structuralist theoretical frameworks such as semiotics and psychoanalysis. These theoretical discourses have proved very productive in analysing the ways in which sexual difference is encoded in classical narrative. For over a decade psychoanalysis was to be the dominant paradigm in feminist film theory. More recently there has been a move away from a binary understanding of sexual difference to multiple perspectives, identities and possible spectatorships. This opening up has resulted in an increasing concern with questions of ethnicity, masculinity and hybrid sexualities. With the recent portrayed and images of Filipino women in the Philippine cinema, which is anchored on how male dominated society, treated and viewed her as an individual, the study uses the feminist theory of Elaine Showalter. Working in the field of feminist literary theory and criticism, which was just emerging as a serious scholarly pursuit in universities in the 1970s, Showalter's writing reflects a conscious effort to convey the importance of mapping her discipline’s past in order to both ground it in substantive theory, and amass a knowledge base that will be able to inform a path for future feminist academic pursuit.
In Toward a Feminist Poetics Showalter traces the history of women's literature, suggesting that it can be divided into three phases:
Feminine: In the Feminine phase, “women wrote in an effort to equal the intellectual achievements of the male culture, and internalized its assumptions about female nature”. 2.
Feminist: The Feminist phase was characterized by women’s writing that protested against male standards and values, and advocated women’s rights and values, including a demand for autonomy. 3.
Female: The Female phase is one of self-discovery. Showalter says, “women reject both imitation and protest—two forms of dependency—and turn instead to female experience as the source of an autonomous art, extending the feminist analysis of culture to the forms and techniques of literature” (New, 139).
Showalter holds that it is the reintegration of this divided consciousness that feminist criticism will find its strongest voice, one whose utterances are grounded in the authority of the experience. Feminine, feminist, female are actually phases of women’s awareness of their rights and how they bonds themselves together and let their voices be heard using different mediums. Film, particularly in the earliest feminine period was seen as one area of the media that could become a battle ground for the women’s movement. Film would not be used as an ideological tool, which would counteract the stereotyped images of women presented by the male dominated media and raise women’s awareness of their inferior position in the society.
Feminist theory is indebted to the work of Jacques Lacan and his theory of mirror stage development. It is also a blends element of psychoanalysis (How it arouses desire) and ideological criticism (How women are portrayed).There are two elements in the Feminist Film Crticism. This includes the following: * Images of Woman in Film – In this element, women are essentially visual and erotic objects for the contemplation of...
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