understanding media

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Welcome to the forum for the Oxford Brookes University module U75102 Understanding Media.  The forum is currently closed.

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Author Topic: Representations of Matrixial Women  (Read 14934 times)

Paris95

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Re: Representations of Matrixial Women
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2014, 03:16:51 pm »

I love Chalky's description of Trinity but I would like to extend this slightly further by tying it in with John Berger's theory that in popular cinema, 'men act and women appear'. Whilst this may have been true for contemporary films (the idea was coined in the 1970s), the fact that Trinity displays such strength and independence (I.e. Acting rather than just appearing) shows a change in the way women are viewed within the media, and hopefully this positive representation is becoming more dominant. However, one female who undeniably conforms with Berger's theory is the woman in the red dress, who literally just 'appears'.

Furthermore, I also agree with Inks' idea that the woman in the red dress is a stereotype of a desirable woman, and this is supported by the four parts of a media stereotype; appearance, behaviour, a comparison with 'normal' behaviour and how the character fits the particular medium. The woman's red dress connotes passion and lust and her blonde hair is considered to be particularly desirable, which alongside the inviting smile she gives Neo builds up an image of the 'perfect' woman. Additionally, the way her outfit creates a binary opposition against the black and white business suits everybody else is wearing makes her literally stand out from the crowd. Finally, she fits this particular medium as she is reinforcing the idea that what we may think is real can be a totally fake construction, tying in with Beanie's idea that media's representations of women are often a mere illusion.

With this is mind, can anyone think of another female character who fits in with the four parts to a media stereotype? Also, does everybody else agree that Trinity 'acts' more than she 'appears'?
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solara123_

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Re: Representations of Matrixial Women
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2014, 11:59:58 pm »

I think that The Matrix despite its best efforts does have some negative representations of women not only through the use of dialogue as discussed by others but through the use of costume as well. In the real world trinity is seen wearing a loose fitted sweater and loose fitted trousers drawing no attention to her body but to her maternal and feminine attributes. Whereas in the matrix her whole costume changes completely and she displayed in various different costume all with the same characteristics, black tight leather/latex accentuating her body shape and posture. Although trinity is portrayed as a strong female character who as mentioned by “chalky” goes against traditional female stereotypes by been very dominant and displaying combat skills just as equivalent to the men, that fact that her costume is different in the ‘real world’ and ‘the matrix’, sort of highlights at societies and the medias hidden ideas in what a woman should look like. As in the ‘real world’ you could say she is presented as a typical average woman, however in the matrix she is personified into something much more likewise with the character switch who is also presented the same equally.

As seen in movies such as Tron legacy (Qourra), the avengers (Black Widow) and The Dark Knight Rises (Catwoman) although superhero movies also feature the female characters wearing tight costumes also accentuating their features. Alluding to Laura Mulvey and the ‘male gaze’ the fact that their whole character and nature is sexualised by what they wear similarly with the lady in the red dress who had the same problem of been sexualised and used as a male gaze. The oracle perceived to be the powerful goodness with the insight on the future, however due to the poor representation of her as a domestic housewife baking cookies etc. Similarly to when neo meets her for the first time and asks “you’re the oracle?” and she responds “Bingo! Not quite what you were expecting right”  as in a way the fact she portrayed like so allows her to be overlooked as the strong and dominant character she is as re-presents old ideals and stereotypes of women.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-eoaDaGbICGk/TvtGtWmXUxI/AAAAAAAAATk/Q4J_-MrWzV4/s1600/apocatrinitysweater.jpg - ‘trinity costume real world’

http://www.netbrawl.com/uploads/099b319ef0a732ceb5c8acf98ccf62ac.jpg - trinity costume ‘the matrix’

http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2013/nov/28/frozen-disney-female-body-image - article on how Disney does not reflect real life body shapes in their film aimed at young impressionable kids
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laluna

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Re: Representations of Matrixial Women
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2014, 12:25:43 pm »

'Paris95' presents a very interesting quote by John Berger that really did take my attention. 'Men act, women appear' would be an extremely controversial argument in modern cinema, and is something I would disagree with highly. Both Goffman and Mulvey express similar opinions that women have become accustomed to the idea that they are simply there to be looked at (in media). I think the woman in the red dress is a symbolic representation of temptation, she embodies how women can be used as a distraction for men, an ideology I'm not enormously keen on. However it can illustrate the point of the Neo's internal struggle with the real world and the Matrix, which does he want to be a part of, and what does he need to do to fully engage with it.

As said by many others in this thread, Trinity embodies a much more neutral character, although I am slightly more sceptical with identifying some of her traits as 'masculine' as I believe masculinity and femininity are simply traits we have been conditioned to identify because of society. However for the sake of argument, I can agree with the notion that Trinity does not possess what would be known as traditional, domestic, feminine qualities. It's fair to say she's tough and represents a much stronger female image. 'Tess Grainger' makes an interesting point that Trinity is sexualised because she's wearing a tight leather suit, something i will have to disagree with also because understandably yes, although it can be seen as cat woman-esque, can it not also been seen for practicality issues? Running at high speeds, dodging obstacles would surely require her to be as weightless as possible.

I feel that she is the best female character within the film because she is real, she has emotions. A good female character is someone that exhibits flaws and projects feelings in a human way.
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