Impossible Bodies: Femininity and Masculinity at the Movies

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Overview

Impossible Bodies investigates issues of ethnicity, gender and sexuality at the margins of contemporary Hollywood. Examining stars from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood to Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Lopez, Chris Holmlund focuses on actors whose physique or appearance marks them as unusual or exceptional, and yet who occupy key or revealing positions in today's mainstream cinema. Exploring a range of genres and considering both stars and their sidekicks, Holmlund examines ways in which Hollywood accommodates -- or doesn't -- a variety of "impossible" bodies, from the "outrageous" physiques of Dolph Lundgren and Dolly Parton, to the almost-invisible bodies of Asian Americans, Latinas, and older actors. From the Pumping Iron documentaries to The Quick and the Dead and Boys on the Side, Holmlund traces the broad shifts and startling disjunctures in what counts as desirable images of masculinity and femininity in mainstream cinema. From lesbian killers to Swedes who never play Swedes, Impossible Bodies considers how representations of ethnicity and race, gender and sexuality are played out in contemporary Hollywood films, and shows how popular cinema reflects and communicates contemporary values for audiences.
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Editorial Reviews

Chon A. Noriega
Chris Holmlund offers a view of contemporary cinema as outrageous as it is unexpected. This is not the Hollywood we thought we knew. Only Holmlund could bring together such a diverse and stimulating collection of onscreen bodies whose vague promises put us in all sorts of compromised positions as viewers and as consumers. Impossible Bodies is an essential guide to the ways in which genre conventions resolve sexual, racial and class differences. Don't go to the movies without it!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415185752
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: Comedia Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Holmlund is Associate Professorin Cinema Studfies and Women's Studies at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is the co-editor of Between the Sheets, in the Streets: Queer, Lesbian, Gay Documentary (Minnesota UP, 1997).
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Table of Contents

List of figures
Acknowledgements
Introduction: Impossible bodies, compromised positions 1
Pt. I Gesturing toward genres 13
1 Visible difference and flex appeal: The body, sex, sexuality and race in the Pumping Iron films 15
2 When is a lesbian not a lesbian? The lesbian continuum and the mainstream femme film 31
3 Nouveaux westerns for the 1990s: Genre offshoots, audience reroutes 51
Pt. II Siding with sidekicks 69
4 Cruisin' for a bruisin': Hollywood's deadly (lesbian) dolls 71
5 Swede as "Other" 91
6 Latinas in La-La Land: From bit part to starlet in "indie" and mainstream films 109
Pt. III Staring at stars 123
7 Channeling desire, making Whoopi 125
8 The aging Clint 141
9 Marketing Dolly dialectics: "The Sky is Green, the Grass is Blue" 157
Notes 171
Filmography 207
Selected bibliography 213
Index 225
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