Reel Knockouts / Edition 1

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Overview

When Thelma and Louise outfought the men who had tormented them, women across America discovered what male fans of action movies have long known—the empowering rush of movie violence. Yet the duo's escapades also provoked censure across a wide range of viewers, from conservatives who felt threatened by the up-ending of women's traditional roles to feminists who saw the pair's use of male-style violence as yet another instance of women's co-option by the patriarchy.

In the first book-length study of violent women in movies, Reel Knockouts makes feminist sense of violent women in films from Hollywood to Hong Kong, from top-grossing to direct-to-video, and from cop-action movies to X-rated skin flicks. Contributors from a variety of disciplines analyze violent women's respective places in the history of cinema, in the lives of viewers, and in the feminist response to male violence against women. The essays in part one, "Genre Films," turn to film cycles in which violent women have routinely appeared. The essays in part two, "New Bonds and New Communities," analyze movies singly or in pairs to determine how women's movie brutality fosters solidarity amongst the characters or their audiences. All of the contributions look at films not simply in terms of whether they properly represent women or feminist principles, but also as texts with social contexts and possible uses in the re-construction of masculinity and femininity.

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What People Are Saying

Christine Holmlund
Too violent? Too sexy? Too passive? Too tough? The first book-length treatment of violent women in the movies, Reel Knockouts aims to provoke engagement and launch debate. What do women want these days? Who wants violent women? How? Why? From Hong Kong to Hollywood, contributors track criminals and tail cops, scrutinizing the mixed messages proffered by noir, horror, action, activist, and even porn pix in light of contemporary concerns with violence and the representation of violence. Throughout, political passions prime interdisciplinary insights: beware the Jesse Helms of America! Violent women = unnatural power and/or unruly sex? HA! A 'wanna' read.
Christine Holmlund, Associate Professor of French, Film, and Women's Studies and Head of Cinema Studies, University of Tennessee
Christine Holmlund
Too violent? Too sexy? Too passive? Too tough? The first book-length treatment of violent women in the movies, Reel Knockouts aims to provoke engagement and launch debate. What do women want these days? Who wants violent women? How? Why? From Hong Kong to Hollywood, contributors track criminals and tail cops, scrutinizing the mixed messages proffered by noir, horror, action, activist, and even porn pix in light of contemporary concerns with violence and the representation of violence. Throughout, political passions prime interdisciplinary insights: beware the Jesse Helms of America! Violent women = unnatural power and/or unruly sex? HA! A ‘wanna’ read.
Christine Holmlund
Too violent? Too sexy? Too passive? Too tough? The first book-length treatment of violent women in the movies, Reel Knockouts aims to provoke engagement and launch debate. What do women want these days? Who wants violent women? How? Why? From Hong Kong to Hollywood, contributors track criminals and tail cops, scrutinizing the mixed messages proffered by noir, horror, action, activist, and even porn pix in light of contemporary concerns with violence and the representation of violence. Throughout, political passions prime interdisciplinary insights: beware the Jesse Helms of America! Violent women = unnatural power and/or unruly sex? HA! A 'wanna' read.
-- Christine Holmlund, Associate Professor of French, Film, and Women's Studies and Head of Cinema Studies, University of Tennessee
Christine Holmlund
Too violent? Too sexy? Too passive? Too tough? The first book-length treatment of violent women in the movies, Reel Knockouts aims to provoke engagement and launch debate. What do women want these days? Who wants violent women? How? Why? From Hong Kong to Hollywood, contributors track criminals and tail cops, scrutinizing the mixed messages proffered by noir, horror, action, activist, and even porn pix in light of contemporary concerns with violence and the representation of violence. Throughout, political passions prime interdisciplinary insights: beware the Jesse Helms of America! Violent women = unnatural power and/or unruly sex? HA! A 'wanna' read.
—(Christine Holmlund, Associate Professor of French, Film, and Women's Studies and Head of Cinema Studies, University of Tennessee)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292752511
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 7/15/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • What's a Mean Woman like You Doing in a Movie like This? (Neal King and Martha McCaughey)
  • Part I: Genre Films
    • "If Her Stunning Beauty Doesn't Bring You to Your Knees, Her Deadly Drop Kick Will": Violent Women in the Hong Kong Kung Fu Film (Wendy Arons)
    • If Looks Could Kill: Power, Revenge, and Stripper Movies (Jeffrey A. Brown)
    • The Gun and the Badge: Hollywood and the Female Lawman (Carol M. Dole)
    • Caged Heat: The (R)evolution of Women-in-Prison Films (Suzanna Danuta Walters)
    • Sharon Stone's (An)Aesthetic (Susan Knobloch)
  • Part II: New Bonds and New Communities
    • Sometimes Being a Bitch Is All a Woman Has to Hold On To: Memory, Haunting, and Revenge in Dolores Claiborne (Laura Grindstaff)
    • Waiting to Set It Off: African American Women and the Sapphire Fixation (Kimberly Springer)
    • The Gun-in-the-Handbag, a Critical Controversy, and a Primal Scene (Barbara L. Miller)
    • Action Heroines and Female Viewers: What Women Have to Say (Tiina Vares)
    • Imagined Violence/Queer Violence: Representations of Rage and Resistance (Judith Halberstam)
  • About the Contributors
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