Nandana Menon-Theory in Feminist Film Studies

Smelik, Anneke. “Lara Croft, Kill Bill, and the Battle for Theory in Feminist Film Studies.” Doing Gender in Media, Art and Culture. Ed. Rosemarie Buikema and Iris Van Dertuin. Oxon: Routledge, 2009. 178-92. Print.


This article concerns itself with the study of feminist film theory in movies like Lara Croft and Kill Bill where there are powerful female protagonists. Annette Smelik traces the development of feminist film theory and its growth in the consequent years. She looks at the close association feminist film theory shares with psychoanalysis; the concept of voyueurism and male gaze. Smelik examines the way women’s bodies are portrayed in such films and how also looks at how popular body images have changed over the years.

Smelik observes that portrayal of the female body has become increasingly “naked and erotic” and quotes Levy while calling it “pornofication” in today’s visual culture. She also studies these films using theories of Lacan, Freud to study narcissism and Oedipal complex. She says it helps to study and gain perspective about the “complexity and paradoxes for contemporary visual culture”.


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