Unbelievable Bodies: Audience Readings of Action Heroines as a Post-Feminist Visual Metaphor
MetadataShow full item record
In this paper, I employ a feminist approach to audience research and examine the individual interviews of 11 undergraduate women who regularly watch and enjoy action heroine films. Participants in the study articulate action heroines as visual metaphors for career and academic success and take pleasure in seeing women succeed against adversity. However, they are reluctant to believe that the female bodies onscreen are physically capable of the action they perform when compared with male counterparts--a belief based on post-feminist assumptions of the limits of female physical abilities and the persistent representations of thin action heroines in film. I argue that post-feminist ideology encourages women to imagine action heroines as successful in intellectual arenas; yet, the ideology simultaneously disciplines action heroine bodies to render them unbelievable as physically powerful women. By analyzing participant interpretations of action heroines as a visual metaphor, I articulate how post-feminism hides persistent disciplining of women's bodies behind a façade of career and academic success.
- Communications