Shapiro, B. (2017). Examining portrayals of female protagonists by female screenwriters using feminist critical discourse analysis. The Young Researcher, 1(1), 37-47.
This study explores the portrayals of female protagonists by female screenwriters through feminist critical discourse analysis. Specifically, this study examines the female protagonists in the four Academy-Award winning films Thelma & Louise, The Piano, Lost in Translation, and Juno. By analyzing the roles and behavior of the female protagonists in these four films, I reveal how these female protagonists each experience the Heroine’s Journey, where they transcend their gender constraints and become more independent and empowered. These portrayals by female screenwriters are vital to the off-screen sector of the film industry because of the Social Cognitive Theory of Gender Development and Differentiation, which states that human beings gain knowledge from the messages communicated to them by the media. Therefore, I conclude that the existing gap between female and male screenwriters must be closed to counter the reinforcement of gender roles and stereotypes, as well as ensure that women are inspired, not discouraged, by what they see on screen.
Keywords: feminist critical discourse analysis, feminist lm analysis, female screenwriters, male gaze, Heroine’s Journey, female protagonists