Seaton, Wallis Anne (2018) The labour of feminist performance: postfeminism, authenticity, and celebrity in contemporary representations of girlhood on screen. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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This thesis examines the labour that is made visible by the individual on-screen performances of five distinct postfeminist identities from contemporary popular culture. Each chapter focuses on one of three texts: the English-language film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011); The Hunger Games film adaptations (2012-2015); and HBO’s cable-television series, Girls (2012-2017); as well as the girl figures at the centre of them: Lisbeth Salander; Katniss Everdeen/ Jennifer Lawrence; and Lena Dunham/Hannah Horvath. In these analyses I identify two marked strands of work acting as a conceptual thread that harnesses the potential of these gendered performances: firstly, the narrative, thematic, aesthetic, and representational work of the texts, which complicate current ideological and conceptual understandings of girlhood, feminism, and postfeminism; secondly, the cultural and ideological work of the magnetic identities of the girls at the centre of these texts, who help to bring these politics to the surface. The texts and the performances that inform my analyses are often associated with feminism, although the value of this work is often contradictory in nature, both questioned and reinforced by virtue of the performative, creative labour that underpins their authentic, yet commodified, representations. In the case of Lawrence and Dunham, this concerns their work as celebrities and how they mediate feminist ideas through their branded performance. The main objective of this thesis, then, is to demonstrate how each of the identities in this corpus effectively open out the tensions involved in performing feminism in twenty-first century culture, and thus to render the gendered labour attendant with this as politically imperative towards current understandings. This is an interdisciplinary study, drawing on scholarship from film, media, celebrity, gender, and cultural studies in order to grapple with the complexities and myriad meanings of contemporary feminism in the broader context of media culture.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: This electronic version of the thesis has been edited solely to ensure compliance with copyright legislation and excluded material is referenced in the text. The full, final, examined and awarded version of the thesis is available for consultation in hard copy via the University Library.
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Contributors: Archer, Neil (Thesis advisor)
Giraud, EHS (Thesis advisor)
Johnson, Beth (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2018 10:56
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2020 11:58

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