Marked Women: Prostitutes and Prostitution in the Cinema

Univ of Wisconsin Press, 05.04.2006 - 464 Seiten

Julia Roberts played a prostitute, famously, in Pretty Woman. So did Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, Jane Fonda in Klute, Anna Karina in Vivre sa vie, Greta Garbo in Anna Christie, and Charlize Theron, who won an Academy Award for Monster. This engaging and generously illustrated study explores the depiction of female prostitute characters and prostitution in world cinema, from the silent era to the present-day industry. From the woman with control over her own destiny to the woman who cannot get away from her pimp, Russell Campbell shows the diverse representations of prostitutes in film.

Marked Women classifies fifteen recurrent character types and three common narratives, many of them with their roots in male fantasy. The “Happy Hooker,” for example, is the liberated woman whose only goal is to give as much pleasure as she receives, while the “Avenger,” a nightmare of the male imagination, represents the threat of women taking retribution for all the oppression they have suffered at the hands of men. The “Love Story,” a common narrative, represents the prostitute as both heroine and anti-heroine, while “Condemned to Death” allows men to manifest, in imagination only, their hostility toward women by killing off the troubled prostitute in an act of cathartic violence.

The figure of the woman whose body is available at a price has fascinated and intrigued filmmakers and filmgoers since the very beginning of cinema, but the manner of representation has also been highly conflicted and fiercely contested. Campbell explores the cinematic prostitute as a figure shaped by both reactionary thought and feminist challenges to the norm, demonstrating how the film industry itself is split by fascinating contradictions.


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1 The Sex Trade and Cinema
2 Depicting Prostitution under Patriarchy
3 Gigolette
4 Siren
5 Comrade
6 Avenger
7 Martyr
8 Gold Digger
13 Adventuress
14 Junkie
15 Baby Doll
16 Working Girl
17 The Love Story
18 Prostitute and Pimp
19 Condemned to Death
20 The Paradigm and Its Challenges

9 Nursemaid
10 Captive
11 Business Woman
12 Happy Hooker

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Häufige Begriffe und Wortgruppen

Beliebte Passagen

Seite 26 - The sensual feeling that has remained active seeks only objects evoking no reminder of the incestuous persons forbidden to it; the impression made by someone who seems deserving of high estimation leads, not to a sensual excitation, but to feelings of tenderness which remain erotically ineffectual.
Seite 27 - , he says, ' that I dread her ; it is that she herself is malignant, capable of any crime, a beast of prey, a vampire, a witch, insatiable in her desires. She is the very personification of what is sinister...
Seite 27 - Homey goes to literature to show that "men have never tired of fashioning expressions for the violent force by which man feels himself drawn to the woman, and side by side with his longing, the dread that through her he might die and be undone...
Seite 25 - In only very few people of culture are the two strains of tenderness and sensuality duly fused into one ; the man almost always feels his sexual activity hampered by his respect for the woman and only develops full sexual potency when he finds himself in the presence of a lower type of sexual object...
Seite 27 - ... he says to himself with cynical logic that the difference between his mother and a whore is after all not so very great, since at bottom they both do the same thing.
Seite 34 - girls emerge from this period with a basis for 'empathy' built into their primary definition of self in a way that boys do not.

Über den Autor (2006)

Russell Campbell is senior lecturer in the Film Programme at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including Cinema Strikes Back: Radical Filmmaking in the United States, 1930–1942. Campbell was the founding editor of The Velvet Light Trap and is also a professional script consultant and documentary filmmaker.

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