How Do Theories of Gender Inform My Understanding of the Film Titanic?

Topics: Kate Winslet, Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio Pages: 4 (1388 words) Published: September 9, 2013
Bachelor of Media Arts
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Assessment Two – Research Essay
How do theories of gender inform my understanding of the film Titanic?

Tutor: Joe Citizen
Due date: 14 October 2011
Word count: 1229

Michelle Briffault

This essay will analyse the film Titanic (1997) in relation to theories of gender. It will also discuss aspects of narrative and identity theories. The narrative of the film is predominantly set in the early 1900s which results in the film representing ideologies of gender and class differences from that time, such as upper-class men being intellectual and their women being beneath them. In contrast, James Cameron, the writer and director of the film, has steered away from typical Hollywood conventions in relation to femininity and masculinity with his portrayal of the main characters, Jack and Rose. The audience, young females in particular, can relate to the main heroine because of her struggle for freedom. They are also attracted to the main hero because of his charming nature and good looks, and the idea of everlasting true love found away from the constraints of class and ideological identity restrictions.

Throughout the film the men talk about how big and brilliant the Titanic is which supports the ideology of the male preoccupation with size. One of the first examples of the difference between men and women that is portrayed in the film is in the first flashback of old Rose’s story. Young Rose says “I don’t see what all the fuss is about. It doesn’t look any bigger than the Mauretania.” (Winslet, 1997). Her fiancé Cal informs her “It’s over a hundred feet longer than the Mauretania.” (Zane, 1997). The casting of the two main characters, Kate Winslet as Rose and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack, resists the contemporary expectations of Hollywood’s representation of femininity and masculinity. DiCaprio’s body is not the stereotypical buff, masculine type commonly seen as the main action-adventure hero in other Hollywood...

References: Cameron, J. (Director), DiCaprio, L., Fisher, F., Stuart, G., Winslet, K. & Zane, B. (Actors). (1997). Titanic [motion picture]. USA: Twentieth Century Fox.

Krauthammer, C. (1998). The Titanic Riddle. Retrieved from,5

Lehman, P. & Hunt, S. (1999). Something and someone else. In K. Sandler & G. Studlar (Eds.), Titanic: anatomy of a blockbuster (pp. 89-107). Piscataway, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

Ouellette (1999). Ship of dreams. In K. Sandler & G. Studlar (Eds.), Titanic: anatomy of a blockbuster (pp. 169-188). Piscataway, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
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