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How has the film industry changed the way it represents gender, since the 1940’s

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The comparison between the two films, “Brief Encounter”, and “The Full Monty”, can be used to accurately describe the change in gender representations between the 1940’s and the 1990’s in the film industry. Firstly, “The Full Monty” is a perfect example of how the film industry has become more open-minded regarding representations of gender since “Brief Encounter” in the 1940’s, there is considerable contrast between the two films in regard to this.

In “Brief Encounter”, all of the characters are based on their stereotypical gender roles, in particular: Laura.

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The character Laura is portrayed as a near perfect example of a stereotypical housewife (by today’s standards), even the fact that she is having an affair with Alec is not the least surprising, however in the 1940’s her actions regarding the affair with Alec would have been considered quite adventurous and somewhat rebellious to her stereotype. A 1940’s audience would expect all the characters in a movie to be almost complete reflection of their average stereotypes, they would not expect much change to occur.

Brief Encounter” showed the audience how manipulating a gender role as such, can affect the attitude of a film character; in this case, the affair between Laura and Alec.

On the other hand, a modern audience would accept just about anything, in regards to gender representations. Affairs, running away from home, gay relationships and such like occurrences, are perfectly acceptable in today’s society, Why? Because the film industry has progressed immensely over the last 60 years.Audiences are beginning to realise that the old gender representations do not apply to (the majority of) the modern population; hence the drastic change in gender roles. In “The Full Monty”, there is a huge change in gender roles; it is almost the exact opposite of “Brief Encounter”.

All different types of men are introduced: fat, slim, black, white, straight, gay, old and young, but the roles are all reversed.The men do all the feminist things, i. e. orrying about there body size; a perfect example of this is in the exercise bike scene; they do degrading jobs – stripping; and as oppose to any normal man, they do not ‘run’ the house – they are not the ‘breadwinners’ at home (the women seem to be the ones with a stable home life).

The very scenes in this film show a clear change in gender roles in the film industry (this sounds odd, but you will understand). Consider the camera work showing the group dynamic in the warehouse scene, the use of long shots enable us to see the unglamorous backgrounds.In a stereotypical film, you would see exciting, inviting backgrounds where something not quite so unconventional is going on, the ‘group’ would be made up of females, and it is unlikely that they would be practising in a warehouse if practising at all. The exercise bike scene (which I have previously mentioned) also shows diversity from your average film: men discussing their body size?! What you would usually see is women in a beauty parlour (or some place similar), talking about the latest fashion or how their hair looks a mess or some such, this is almost certainly what you would see in a film from the 40’s.

The fact that men are put in this position shows a significant change in gender roles since the 40’s. Returning to “Brief Encounter”, you see none of the feminist attitudes within any of the males, as you do in “Full Monty”. The men and women follow their stereotypes; the women do feminine things, such as looking after their children, the house, they gossip – a good example of this is in the train scene where the woman is talking to Laura, and all you see is the close up of her lips as she talks, this clearly shows that women are gossipy.Note, even as most of the feminine features within females in “Full Monty” are lost, they always retain there gossipy attitudes, maybe because this is something that has not changed at all since the 40’s.

also you will always notice in older films , that whenever a woman makes a mistake or does something she could apologies for, she will make an embarrassed gesture such as covering their mouth or turning away for a moment. If you compare this with the women in “Full Monty”, i. e. urinating up the walls, not saying ‘pardon me’ when doing ‘bodily functions’; you can see a lucid change in the attitudes of different genders.

Laura follows her stereotype, she is responsible for the kids, she makes meals, and stays faithful to her husband (in the end). If she were to run away with Alec, the 1940’s audience would not find this acceptable, in a way it would be too radical a change to quickly for their liking. In conclusion, it is apparent that the film industry has changed dramatically since the 1940’s. We notice a huge change in gender representations, men being in touch with their feminine side, women with their masculine side.

We say that there was nothing like today’s gender representations in the 1940’s, but if we look closely, we can notice in “Brief Encounter” a small introduction to the slightly adventurous side of the film industry. Consider the beginning of the film, when you see the train coming out of the tunnel, this clearly a sexual metaphor, for which I am sure I do not need to explain. This marks (possibly) the beginning of change in the film industry, along with this the affair between the two characters is also ‘rebellious’. In “Full Monty” everything has been blown out of proportion and you see the colossal evolution from the 40’s up to the 90’s.

Cite this How has the film industry changed the way it represents gender, since the 1940’s

How has the film industry changed the way it represents gender, since the 1940’s. (2017, Nov 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/how-has-the-film-industry-changed-the-way-it-represents-gender-since-the-1940s/

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