Unhappy Medium: Filmic Tomboy Narrative And Queer Feminist Spectatorship
This dissertation investigates the ways in which American discourses of gender, sexuality, and emotion structure filmic narrative and the ways in which filmic narrative informs those discourses in turn. It approaches this matter through the figure of the tomboy, vastly undertheorized in literary scholarship, and explores the nodes of resistance that film form, celebrity identity, and queer emotional dispositions open up even in these narratives that obsessively domesticate their tomboy characters and pair them off with male love interests. The first chapter theorizes a mode of queer feminist spectatorship, called infelicitous reading, around the incoherently "happy" endings of tomboy films and obligatorily tragic conclusions of lesbian films; the second chapter links the political and sexual ambivalences of female-centered sports films to the ambivalent results of Title IX; and the third chapter outlines a type of queer reproductivity and feminist paranoia that emerges cumulatively in Jodie Foster's body of work. Largely indebted to the work of Judith Butler, Lauren Berlant, and Sara Ahmed, this project engages with past and present problematics in the fields of queer theory, feminist film criticism, and affect studies-questions of nondichotomous genders, resistant spectatorship and feminist potential within linear narrative, and the chronological cues that dominant ideology builds into our understandings of gender, sexuality, narrative, and emotions.
Film studies; Gender studies; Feminism
Salvato, Nicholas G; Warner, Sara L
English Language and Literature
Ph. D., English Language and Literature
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis