Cracks in the Pedestal
Ideology and Gender in HollywoodeBook - 1998
This book analyzes the ways in which the American film and television industry -- the multifaceted, male-dominated institution known as Hollywood -- has responded to the feminist cultural revolution of the past twenty-five years. The focus is on the treatment of those ideals and institutions, especially "the family", within which prevailing notions of gender and sexuality are embedded and take on active life.
Distinguishing his own neo-Marxist approach from that of other media scholars, Philip Green pursues two interrelated themes. In the first part of the book, he looks at the strategies Hollywood has employed to deflect or absorb the ideological challenges posed by the feminist critique of contemporary American society. He demonstrates the ways in which mainstream movies and television programs, no matter how unconventional or "subversive" they may appear, produce and reproduce familiar images of sexuality and gender identity. In the second part, Green highlights instances in which reproduction of the dominant ideology is less successful by examining several recent cinematic genres -- the female action movie, the rape-revenge cycle, and the new film noir -- that portray the real ambiguities of a social order in upheaval.
As a male consumer of the cultural commodities being discussed, the author offers a perspective on American films and television different from that of most other feminist critics.