An Intersectional Analysis of Women, Power and Feminism in Film.

Jean-Anne Sutherland and Kathryn Feltey’s writing in the Journal of Gender Studies comes with a unique intentional approach on the power of women in film and the types of power this implies. The source draws from Amy Allen's “conception of power” and notes the difference in power over women through domination, the power to women through empowerment and/or resistance, and the power women hold with others through solidarity. Sutherland and Feltey also focus on this concept of power and feminism in film through an intersectional female lens commenting on the lack of representation as well as the lack of power “given” to women in film who do not fit into the political, economic, and social stereotypes of society at the time of a film’s release. Classically, the notes of solidarity we see in feminist films do not often extend a hand to those women who are different, and this intersectional analysis works to find out and investigate why and how this occurrence, or lack thereof, developed in film.

When considering some feminist films, this analysis of power and feminism is applicable to media such as Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (1975), Priscilla Queen of the Desert (1994), Matilda (1996), and Maid (2021). 

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, an inherently queer feminist film despite lacking any female lead actresses. The article discusses the film’s LGBTQ+ themes and the stereotypes the film recognizes before turning on their head and making fun of, aiming to cause a laugh, and let the disparities and mistreatment of queer individuals slide from the character’s backs. However, as Sterk notes, there are several times in the film where the laughter does not catch and instead the audience is left stunned and silenced at the hate and violence these characters endure. Through homophobic, transphobic, and racist slurs and violence, this film does not shy away from the hate people are capable of which is often aimed at women and femininity or, in this case, two drag queens and a transgender woman.

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