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The University of Southampton

FILM2019 Women and Hollywood

Module Overview

Using ‘Women and Hollywood' as its starting point, this module offers three areas of investigation: Hollywood's representation of women; women who make films in Hollywood and outside it; and the female spectators who make up the audiences and fans of Hollywood's women's films.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Key women filmmakers and stars of Hollywood and key Hollywood films that have been popular amongst female audiences.
  • The genres most associated with female audiences: romantic comedies, the woman’s film, melodrama.
  • Selected feminist film theories and feminist film histories of Hollywood.
  • The latest research on women’s production in early Hollywood and contemporary theories of women’s popular cinema.
  • Key approaches to audience research.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • List key women filmmakers, female stars of Hollywood and discuss the significance of their films.
  • Differentiate amongst and compare representations of women in Hollywood cinema and alternative (independent/art) cinemas.
  • Articulate, evaluate and apply feminist film theories of authorship, genre and representation.
  • Synthesize an analysis of a women’s film with the historical and cultural context.
  • Evaluate critically the theoretical and methodological approaches to spectatorship and audience research.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Contribute productively to group discussion through active listening, critical questioning and offering peer feedback.
  • Analyse and synthesize primary and secondary research materials.
  • Construct a proposal for audience research using quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • Organise and structure materials and knowledge to write clearly and confidently.


Teaching methods include: • A weekly screening of films • A weekly hour-long lecture • A weekly hour-long seminar • Lecturer-led analysis and discussion of sources Learning activities include: • Preparatory reading before each seminar • Participation in group and class discussion • Independent reading of the sources provided and of related secondary works • Independent research of additional information and source materials • Short group presentation • Field trip to local cinema to see a recently released women’s film or film by a female director. Participation on this trip is not a formal requirement of the module, though you are strongly encouraged to attend. Lecture elements will provide you with general knowledge and understanding about chronology, sources and key concepts. This will be consolidated through readings and seminar discussions of primary and secondary source material. Discussion in seminars will help you to develop your own ideas about a topic, to analyse a range of source material and to articulate a critical argument

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include -workshops that combine tutor input with practical writing exercises -small group interaction, to generate constructive feedback from peers -lectures and workshops led by industry professionals. Learning activities include -generating material and ideas for a specific piece of writing -planning and implementing a strategy for completing a professional piece of work -peer review and feedback -editing and revising pieces of writing (and production, eg a promo tape or a website).

Independent Study114
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Making an American Citizen ( Alice Guy Blaché 1912). Film

Stacey, Jackie (1993). Stargazing: Hollywood Cinema and Female Spectatorship. 

Mayne, Judith (1990). The Woman at the Keyhole: Feminism and Women’s Cinema. 

Rich, B. Ruby (1998). Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film Movement. 

Now Voyager (Irving Rapper 1942). Film

*Funny Girl (William Wyler 1968). Film

Grant, Catherine (2001). Secret Agents: Feminist Theories of Women’s Film Authorship. Feminist Theory. ,2 , pp. 124.

*Dance Girl Dance (Dorothy Arzner 1940). Film

Bean, Jennifer M. and Diane Negra (2002). A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema. 

Brunsdon, Charlotte, ed (1986). Films For Women. 

The Blot (Lois Weber 1921). Film

Negra, Diane (2008). What a Girl Wants: Fantasizing the Reclamation of Self in Postfeminism. 

Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren 1943). Film

Basinger, Jeanine (1994). A Woman’s View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930-60. 

*Jeanne Dielman (Chantal Ackerman 1975). Film

Kaplan, E. Ann (1983). Women and Film: Both Sides of the Camera. 

Thornham, Sue (1999). Feminist Film Theory: A Reader. 

Lane, Christina (2000). Feminist Hollywood: From Born in Flames to Point Break. 

*In the Cut (Jane Campion 2003). Film

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawkes 1953). Film

*Bridesmaids (Paul Feig 2011). Film

Thelma and Louise (Ridley Scott 1991). Film

Radner, Hilary (2010). Neo-Feminist Cinema: Girly Films, Chick Flicks, and Consumer Culture. 

Kuhn, Annette (1982). Women’s Pictures. 

*Erin Brokovich (Steven Soderbergh 2001). Film

Tasker, Yvonne (1998). Working Girls: Gender and Sexuality in Popular Cinema. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal feedback: • You will engage in small group exercises, focusing on specific formative tasks, which will be reviewed in class • You will be encouraged to discuss preparation for your formal assessment with your tutor • You will have the opportunity to seek individual advice on your work in progress from your tutor • Guidance and advice in class on preparation, completion and presentation of assignments will be available to you The formal assessments will promote skills of analysis and critical thinking. They will also reinforce organisational, planning and writing skills.


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 40%
Essay  (2500 words) 50%
Presentation with supporting handout 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

FILM1001 or FILM1002 or FILM2006 or ENGL1079


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Estimated costs for buying DVDs of films listed below that are not held by the library (indicated by *) is £75.00

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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