Presentation Title

“What if I Don’t Want to Be a Shoe?”: Rachel on Friends, Feminist Film Theory, and Visual Rhetoric

Presentation Type

Poster

School

School of Arts and Humanities

Discipline

Communication

Mentor

Jamie Landau

Date & Time

April 9th at 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM

Location

L. P. Young Student Center, West Dining and Flag Room

Abstract

This study examines the widely popular television show, Friends, which ran for 10 seasons. By applying feminist film theory and visual rhetorical criticism to the show, I argue that Friends demonstrated the progress women have made on screen through the personal and career development of its female character Rachel Green. Specifically, I use theories by Laura Mulvey, Elizabeth Cowie, and Jackie Stacey to show how Rachel was first represented through the male gaze. For instance, Rachel pleased men with her attractiveness and dependence upon them, but as the show continued she transcended that gaze to become a character that female spectators can relate to through fantasy and identification with her independence at work. Visual rhetorical strategies that work in conjunction with these representations include shapes, color, camera shot type, and video camera movement. This research has implications for gender (in)equality in the workforce today, especially in the film industry.

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Apr 9th, 4:15 PM

“What if I Don’t Want to Be a Shoe?”: Rachel on Friends, Feminist Film Theory, and Visual Rhetoric

L. P. Young Student Center, West Dining and Flag Room

This study examines the widely popular television show, Friends, which ran for 10 seasons. By applying feminist film theory and visual rhetorical criticism to the show, I argue that Friends demonstrated the progress women have made on screen through the personal and career development of its female character Rachel Green. Specifically, I use theories by Laura Mulvey, Elizabeth Cowie, and Jackie Stacey to show how Rachel was first represented through the male gaze. For instance, Rachel pleased men with her attractiveness and dependence upon them, but as the show continued she transcended that gaze to become a character that female spectators can relate to through fantasy and identification with her independence at work. Visual rhetorical strategies that work in conjunction with these representations include shapes, color, camera shot type, and video camera movement. This research has implications for gender (in)equality in the workforce today, especially in the film industry.