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Give an account of, and evaluate the research methods you used to investigate the relationship between women and film.

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Introduction

Give an account of, and evaluate the research methods you used to investigate the relationship between women and film. My hypothesis is 'the representation of women in Japanese action/thriller films and, Hollywood action/thriller films focusing on the Asian genre, are different'. I started my investigation by looking at secondary research; the first being the internet. I used the search engine 'Google' which was useful in providing a range of sites focusing on my hypothesis. I started by typing in 'Japanese representation of women vs. Hollywood representation of women'. This search was too broad, and I realised that I needed to refine my search to get specific areas of interest regarding my hypothesis. The internet is a mass media platform that needs to be used correctly to search for the correct information needed, and thus searches cannot be too broad. Therefore, I decided to search for specific films that I would be referencing. These films included 'The Ring' (Japanese - 1998 and Hollywood version - 2002), Japanese anime with specific reference to 'Princess Mononoke' (1997), 'Kill Bill Vol.1' (2003) and 'Mulan' (1998), a Disney film reflecting Asian culture and genre. I started by looking at the films' synopses to work out how each film reflected the representation of women. Two sites which proved really useful were www.imdb.com and www.cinema.com that provided detailed plot analysis and reviews. ...read more.

Middle

As I had a lack of information on Japanese cinema, with no information at my sixth form library, I had the privilege of going to the SOAS library of University of London; a library specific to African and Asian studies. This was extremely beneficial as I managed to take out books I otherwise would not have been able to find in a smaller library. These books were 'Women in Mizoguchi Films' by Freda Freiberg (1981), 'Currents in Japanese Cinema' by Tadao Sato (1982) and 'The Erotic Anime Movie Guide' by McCarthy and Clements (1999). As I had not collected much information about Japanese representation of women in anime, I decided to search for a book and came across 'The Erotic Anime Movie Guide' by McCarthy and Clements (1999). Although, this was more based on hentai rather than traditional manga or anime, the book was extremely useful as it provided a chapter purely based on the role of females in anime. This reflected on key stereotypes such as 'the dragon lady', 'the school girl' and 'the older woman' which are key female roles in Japanese anime. This information was useful as it reflected on stereotypical gender representation and how they reinforced or challenged Japanese culture. I then wanted to research some depth into theory and came across two books 'Currents in Japanese Cinema' by Tadao Sato (1982) ...read more.

Conclusion

I used a dictaphone to record the discussion group as well as taking brief notes of key issues discussed. Questionnaires are difficult to create to specify for a certain topic, and by having a discussion as well, it was even more useful to find out how women felt about being represented in stereotypical ways, and if they think they still exist. In addition, it was useful in hearing views and comments about the similarities and differences of Japanese and Hollywood representations of the Asian genre. Finally, I wanted to obtain an authorative opinion. I wanted to go back to SOAS and ask a professor about their views on representation of women in Hollywood cinema reflecting the Asian genre. However, I was unable to schedule a one to one interview. Nonetheless, I managed to get hold via email one of the professors, Dr. Isolde Standish. Although the email correspondence lacked in detail compared to what a longer interview would have been, her expertise views on Japanese cinema provided more depth and analysis into my argument that the representation of women in Japanese action/thriller films and Hollywood action/thriller films focusing on the Asian genre are different. Overall, the variety of research methods used were useful for providing me with a range of views and opinions about my research topic. Each had its advantages and disadvantages, but the ability to access a variety of platforms and modes of research led to a greater depth of finding conclusions to my hypothesis. ...read more.

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