[Publication] Postfeminism and Contemporary Hollywood Cinema


Gwynne, Joel and Nadine Muller, Postfeminism and Hollywood Cinema (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

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PFACHCThis project presents 14 new essays on the prevalence of postfeminist discourses in contemporary Hollywood cinema. The collection aims to extend current scholarship on postfeminist media culture and postfeminism as a cultural condition by exploring popular culture’s engagement with feminism through a range of cinematic genres. The collection will chronicle the changes in representations of feminism, femininities and masculinities in a range of genres, and examine how contemporary cinema engages with the aftermath of second-wave feminism and the emergence of ‘new feminisms’, most notably third-wave feminism and postfeminism.

Considering not only the commensurate rise of both film studies and postfeminism as rapidly developing locations of scholarly interrogation, but also the sheer prolificacy of films produced that engage with gender as a central theme, there is a clear need for a new collection of essays which deals explicitly with how postfeminist discourses operate across a number of divergent genres. Scholarship on postfeminist cinema has primarily concentrated on films produced for a female audience, particularly chick-flicks and rom-coms, marking a need for a continued exploration of these genres alongside films that attract wider audiences. While this collection extends the rich terrain mined by recent scholarship on feminism in Hollywood cinema by analysing presentations of girlhood and womanhood – from adolescents to older women – it also locates the place of men and the changing face of masculinity in postfeminist media culture by analysing the genres of action, thriller and ‘lad flicks’. The chapters in the collection primarily examine post-millennial films, some as recent as 2011.


Table of Contents

Introduction: Postfeminism and Contemporary Hollywood Cinema
Joel Gwynne and Nadine Muller

Part I – Postfeminist Femininities

Sex_and_the_City_The_MovieChapter 1 – Ana Moya
Neo-Feminism In-Between: Female Cosmopolitan Subjects in Contemporary American Film

Chapter 2 – Clara Bradbury-Rance
Querying Postfeminism in Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right

Chapter 3 – Katherine Farrimond
The Slut that Wasn’t: Virginity, (Post)Feminism and Representation in Easy A

Chapter 4 – Joel Gwynne
The Girls of Zeta: Sororities, Ideal Femininity and the Makeover Paradigm in The House Bunny

Chapter 5 – Imelda Whelehan
Ageing Appropriately: Postfeminist Discourses of Ageing in Contemporary Hollywood


Part II – Postfeminist Masculinities

wedding-crashers-posterChapter 6Benjamin A. Brabon
‘Chuck Flick’: A Genealogy of the Postfeminist Male Singleton

Chapter 7 – Amy Burns
The Chick’s ‘New Hero’: (Re)Constructing Masculinity in the Postfeminist ‘Chick Flick’

Chapter 8 – Hannah Hamad
Hollywood Fatherhood: Paternal Postfeminism in Contemporary Popular Cinema

Chapter 9 – Lauren Jade Thompson
Mancaves and Cushions: Marking Masculine and Feminine Domestic Space in Postfeminist Romantic Comedy

Chapter 10 – Vincent M. Gaine
‘We’re not making forward progress’: Postfeminist Hypermasculinity in Heat


Part III – Postfeminism and Genre

BridesmaidsPosterChapter 11 – Alexia Bowler
Towards a New Sexual Conservatism in Postfeminist Romantic Comedy

Chapter 12 – Martin Fradley
Hell is a Teenage Girl? Postfeminism and Contemporary Teen Horror

Chapter 13 – Helen Warner
‘A new feminist revolution in Hollywood comedy’?: Postfeminist discourses and the critical reception of Bridesmaids

Chapter 14 – Katharina Lindner
Blood, Sweat and Tears: Women, Sport and Hollywood