Final Writing Paper (Feminism and Pop Culture)

1. Select two American or European movies you have previously viewed.

2.  Develop a feminist response to these two movies:

In this assignment, your task is to deconstruct different facets of two movies, analyzing how these movies use gender, race, ethnicity, cultural, social class, and sexual orientation assumptions that they depict and carry in images and storylines.  You will also propose alternative depictions and storylines that could indeed be considered an argument for not just inclusion but social justice in American/Western movie-making.

3.  Use these questions to guide you as you compose your essay:


  What are the movies’ presuppositions about its main topic (e.g., dating)?
  Imagine a child were watching these movies – what does it tell that child about the world?  What values, messages, or ethics does it promote as healthy or unhealthy?
  How does each movie follow the same narrative structure and have the same message?
  What attitude do these movies take toward their own themes (e.g., beauty, competition, man vs. nature, etc.)?
  What are the implicit and/or explicit messages that the movies tell and reinforce?


  Who is the target audience for each movie; how and why does it appeal to this group of people?
  What kind of fan clubs or fan sites have formed around the movie?  What do these tell you about the movie’s appeal and its values?
  What specific editing techniques, advertising, or other strategies does each movie use to “hook” and maintain this specific target group?
  How does each movie imagine its audience?  As a homogenous group of people, or as different individuals with different interests?

Casting characters:

  What individuals are part of the movie?  What stereotypes do they reinforce?
  Consider the age, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, appearance, sexual orientation, profession, class, beliefs, and nationality of the cast members.  Who does it include?  Who did it exclude?
  What does the inclusion or exclusion of certain groups tell you about assumptions embedded in the movies you selected?
  Is the sampling of contestants an accurate representation or a distorted perspective on reality?
  How do the characters act?  Are there any common characteristics, or narratives, that apply to most of the characters?  What are they?  Who or what are the producers looking for when they cast such a movie?  Who do they stay away from?  How do these decisions reflect on the movie’s values?


  What editing and storytelling techniques are used?
  Consider the use of dialogue, contests, plot, editing, voice-overs, hosts’ descriptions, music, screen captions, direction, and cinematography.  Which of these elements stand out?  How are they used and manipulated?  For what purpose?  Don’t focus on all them; best to choose one or two.  For example, analyze voice-overs – when do they occur, what do they say, etc.
  Many movies are incredibly formulaic, following the same patterns and formulas for each movie.  What are some of those formulas and how do producers carry them out?


  Related to the category of “audience/fans,” who is the target audience of the movie and what produces are sold to this group?  Who profits from the movie?
  Are any products integrated into the movie scenery, dialogue, action?

  What emotions does each movie appeal to?  What emotional affects does it produce in viewers?
  What techniques does it use to produce these emotions?
  How does it make viewers feel about themselves?  About others?
  Is this a healthy or unhealthy show in terms of what emotional affects it produces?  How so?

Personal Interest

  Why did you select the movie?  What does it mean to you?
  What are your viewing habits?  Why do you watch the show?  What appeals to you?  Think critically about how the show works on your emotions.
  What kind of feelings does the show instill in your mind?  How does it instruct you about the topics it addresses?

4.  FORMAT: Minimum 7 Full Pages (should reach the bottom of page 7 at minimum), double-spaced and typed in Times New Roman 12 pt. font, with 1” margins. 

Please do not add extra spacing between paragraphs, in headers, etc. You must quote directly from a minimum of 5 of the essays/chapters we read this semester. 

You must document all your sources properly, incorporate every quote into one of your own sentences, and use a works cited page listing all the sources you cited, arranging them in alphabetical order according to the authors’ last names. 

Due April 29 by midnight.

APA or MLA style

7-9 pages, not including cover page or references/works cited page


Your essay should look like this:

Your Name
Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin
IGED 210-7

Title: Centered, in Bold

The first paragraph is your introduction; it should have an attention-grabbing opener, a summary/overview of the issue, and a clear and compelling thesis statement.

Your next paragraphs are body paragraphs. They should include transitions from previous/to next paragraphs, a topic sentence with a single focus, and secondary support. (Note: Do not put extra spaces between paragraphs, all spacing in the body of the essay should be the same – go to format, paragraph and make sure spacing before and after is set to 0).

The last paragraph is your conclusion; it should remind the reader of the thesis/why
you’ve written this thing in the first place, returning to something from the introduction is a good way to bring the piece full circle.

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