Representation of Women in the Connecting of the Public Space Area/Special Area: Mother!

Representation of Women in the Connecting of the Public Space Area/Special Area: Mother!

Özge Gürsoy Atar (Beykent University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1774-1.ch008


With the industrial revolution, the public/private distinction became even more acute. From the traditional point of view, those who make a living (men) by working outside the home in paid work are perceived as part of their participation in public life. Economically dependent people (women) were perceived as belonging to the private sphere. We see that the concept of private space is mentioned together with women. It is always criticized that the concepts of private sphere and motherhood limit women. The existing order is maintained by repeating these discourses in mass media such as cinema and television. In contemporary narrative cinema, however, this limitation of women is intended to be altered by addressing it with a different language or by going beyond conventional stereotypes. In this context, Mother! the film will be examined in the context of feminist film criticism through the representation of space.
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In this study, Aranofsky’s film Mother! is examined in the context of the relationship between space and story elements with the character based on the presentation of the main female character in the space through the representation of the film space and on the feminist film criticisms. The differences of the film Mother! were put forward from the classical narrative cinema which presents women to the spectators only in their private spaces and only as “mothers” and “housewives”. Thus, the study aimed to explain whether it is possible to present patriarchal stereotypes to the spectators by questioning them with a different film language. This study discusses the relationship between the characters and space and the effect that the spectators feel about this narrative within the framework of Mulvey’s article Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.

I would like to express that this study does not claim to be in the field of film criticism or film analysis and that I wish the study to be treated as a text analysis in the field of media and cultural studies. Therefore, it aims to make discourse analysis of the sample film with the help of feminist film theory.

In the film, the “mother” character portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence is a woman who puts her love into everything she does and feels it while fixing the house up that belongs to her husband. The house is depicted as a paradise where the woman feels that she belongs in and breathes. However, life will begin to transform for the “mother” as the man wants to go out, brings in guests from outside and learns that the woman is pregnant. In this study, it is claimed that an alternative perspective can be brought to the representation of women in the cinema through the film to be examined.

In this study, patriarchal stereotypes will be introduced with a different film language and the representation of women in cinema will be questioned. As a result, the study aims to produce solutions for film practice in the context of women’s representation.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Feminist Film Theory: A research method that focuses on gender inequality and feminine discourse.

Communication Research: The media-related systematic investigation and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and to reach new conclusions.

Gender: The state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones).

Feminism: The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Place: A particular position or point in space.

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