No job for a lady: women directors in Hollywood

Williams, Rachel L. (2001) No job for a lady: women directors in Hollywood. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis explores the position of female film directors working in Hollywood. It is intended to address an area in feminist film theory which has often been overlooked. Although it is incorrect to say there has been no feminist analysis of the "mainstream" woman director, most of the work which has been done concentrates either on finding the feminism or femininity of her films, or studies only a select few directors. This research widens the debate by validating the study of all women directors, and moves away from the search for definitive feminist meaning in the cinematic text. It employs a contextual and multi-theoretical approach to interrogate the multiplicity of meanings embodied by the phrase "woman director".

The first chapter interrogates auteur theory because any discussion of female authorship must confront this critical perspective. The female director makes a problematic auteur since that figure is traditionally gendered as masculine. Chapter two is a "state of the industry" examination of the position of the woman director in Hollywood, with a special emphasis on mentoring. Chapter three examines the marketing of Mimi Leder's films The Peacemaker (1997) and Deep Impact (1999). Chapters four, five and six explore the construction of the woman director as "star", presenting in-depth case studies of Jodie Foster and Penny Marshall. Chapters seven and eight look at the reception of Blue Steel (1990) and Strange Days (1995) directed by Kathryn Bigelow, and Clueless (1995) directed by Amy Heckerling.

Each chapter is designed to contextualise and historicise the woman director in order to better understand why her gender has prevented her from being seen as a "natural" director: that is, why directing has been viewed as a suitable job for a man but "no job for a lady".

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Jancovich, M.
Keywords: Popular film literature, mass media, performing arts
Subjects: P Language and literature > PN Literature (General)
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of American and Canadian Studies
Item ID: 11518
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2010 12:37
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2017 18:37

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