Women and US Film

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 13 December 2024
02 March 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module aims to explore critical issues pertaining to women and US film from the mid-20th century to the present day. The course will look at questions surrounding women's production and women's representation across US film, and interrogate the links between the two.

Students will be introduced to key issues in feminism, feminist film theory and women's filmmaking to consider how various forms of cinema, from mainstream Hollywood films to independent productions and art cinema, explore these issues. Students will engage with a range of conceptual and theoretical frameworks from foundational arguments in feminist film theory (such as issues surrounding the male gaze and auteur theory) to the most pressing questions relating to women and film today, such as intersectionality, #MeToo, and the value of women`s creative work.

Module aims

1. To outline critical moments in women’s film production and representation from the mid-20th century to the present day
2. To explore key theoretical and conceptual issues in feminist film theory, feminist film history and women’sfilmmaking
3. To situate representations of women within their relevant political, social, cultural and historical contexts
4. To critically evaluate the ways in which women’s film production engageswith representations of women

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of issues relating to women’s film production, representation and reception
2. Demonstrate an ability to interrogate women`s representation within various theoretical and contextual frameworks
3. Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate the links between women’s filmmaking and women’s representation
4. Submit written material for assessment which meets academic conventions and demonstrates a critical-analytical understanding of the themes covered on this module.

Module information

Wk Contents

1 Why Feminist Film Theory? #MeToo, Women and Film

2 The Male Gaze

3 Disrupting the Male Gaze I: Women Audiences

4 Disrupting the Male Gaze II: Women Authors

5 Feminist Film Theory and Race

6 Feminist Film Theory and Sexuality

7 Preparing for the Assignment

8 Genre I: The Erotic Thriller and the Femme Fatale

9 Genre II: Chick Flicks and the Postfeminist Girl

10 Women's Authorship: Past, Present and Future

Learning and teaching methods

1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar per week


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay 1    20% 
Coursework   Essay 2    75% 
Practical   Participation    5% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Sarah Smyth, email:



External examiner

Dr Andrew Birtwistle
Canterbury Christ Church University
Reader in Film and Sound
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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