Through analysis of "Indiana Jones- Raiders of the lost Ark" and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", evaluate how the representation of gender in the action film genre has developed in recent years.
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Through analysis of "Indiana Jones- Raiders of the lost Ark" and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", evaluate how the representation of gender in the action film genre has developed in recent years. Over the last half a century, male and female stereotypes have changed and developed in the media. Previously, the media has a very stereotypical view when it came to gender representation. The way males were represented in the media was that they were the stronger, fiercer and more commanding gender, who had the more important role in films. The female on the other hand had the more assertive role; she was the quiet one, who didn't play as big a role as the male. In this media assignment we have looked at gender representations from all different decades, from the early as the 1950's, to today. We have looked at how both genders are portrayed in the films, therefore showing what the stereotype of both sexes was at that time. We found out that there has been a development in the genders, from the early decades till now. The roles have somewhat "balanced out" slightly, and the female has gained more control and more respect. We still consider the male as the "leader", although there are exceptions in recent films, such as "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider", where the woman is visibly in control. Two of the films that we had briefly analysed, "The Searchers" and "The Untouchables", follow the "theory" of males being the more dominant, and females being the inferior gender. Both films are set in earlier decades, and show what it was like for each gender at that time, except in different locations. "The Searchers", made in 1956 and directed by John Ford, stars a major male actor of the time, John Wayne. At the time Wayne was considered to be a "typical male": strong, fierce and everything else a male should be.
When Jones and his acquaintance enter the cave, we see the skills and knowledge that Jones' possess. He uses his ingenuity to evade the traps that are set in the cave, and he also manages to get the artifact that he was searching for. Unfortunately all doesn't go according to plan and the biggest trap sets itself off; the cave starts to "attack". Jones hands the artifact over to his acquaintance but this seems to prove a costly mistake; the acquaintance betrays him and runs off with the artifact, letting greed get the better of him and leaving Indiana to die. Fortunately, like any good hero, Jones finds a way out, and actually retrieves the artifact from his acquaintance, who ironically, and justly dies due to his own greed, and lack of knowledge and skills. This also fits the stereotype of the male because, traditionally, a male hero always succeeds and in this part Jones does exactly that. Although Jones comes out of the cave unharmed, and with the artifact in his hand, when he comes out he is surrounded by a group of African tribe members, and a rival architect, who Jones surrenders the artifact to in almost an instant, which shows that he knows it is futile to resist. The camera shot at this time changes dramatically; Indiana Jones is now made to look inferior with the high angle shot, with the others made superior with low angle shots. This is a major change in the stereotype, because males in films tend not to give up easily, but in this Jones gives up the artifact very easily. The next scene shows a dramatic change in appearance, and location for Jones. From the action-based depths of the jungle/cave he is now in a school in a city. This will interest the audience because this is a major change in the theme of the film; it is very more calm based, and it is the zinger part of the film (build up to the action).
Then when you see the weapons, and they are all large and powerful weapons, such as rocket launches and sniper rifles. This is significant because the weapons tell us that the male likes to use powerful, big action-packed weapons, which is the stereotype of a male. The female stores her weapons in the kitchen, in the oven, which is very stereotypical. The weapons she has also indicate stereotyping, as she has a various number of knifes and small guns, which suggests she is more of the quiet type, apposed to the male who is very action-packed. In conclusion to this film, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" is a very equal-roled film, with the two different genders getting equal parts. Although this is the case, it doesn't mean stereotyping doesn't take place. In fact, I believe that it takes part in the film quite a lot, as both the personalities and the features were there because of the genders. Overall to the question "Through analysis of "Indiana Jones- Raiders of the lost Ark" and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", evaluate how the representation of gender in the action film genre has developed in recent years", I think that the gender representation has changed dramatically in both sexes, as the male seems to of lost his dominancy, and the female seems to be more powerful now. The searches showed us what the stereotypes were at the start; that being the male being the dominant force, with the female sitting back. "The Untouchables" backed this up. But as the years went on the stereotypes changed. In "Indiana Jones- Raiders of the lost Ark", we saw a step up in ferocity in the females character, although the male was still the dominating factor of the film. But the biggest change was in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", as the roles were equal and the characters were both doing things their own way, not afraid of anything. My only query is that all the films we analysed were produced by males; if a female had produced them, would the stereotypes be any different?
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