Chapter

A little difference: equality and the career woman comedy

Kathrina Glitre

in Hollywood Romantic Comedy

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780719070785
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700990 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719070785.003.0020
A little difference: equality and the career woman comedy

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The rise of capitalism in the nineteenth century defined wage labour as a male prerogative. The breadwinner was expected to be competitive and self-seeking, while his female counterpart was characterised as nurturing and self-sacrificing, and these differences were naturalised as biological. By the forties, the social realities of female employment and changing patterns of production and consumption were increasingly challenging the traditional complementary sex roles. This chapter discusses the concept of equality and how the role of career women is portrayed in Hollywood comedy films. Insisting upon the naturalness of conventional gender roles, the career woman comedy disrupts and even disproves the logic of gender essentialism. It presents a more contradictory pattern by examining the figure of the career woman more closely—not only at the textual level of plot, but also at the extratextual levels of cultural and star discourses.

Keywords: capitalism; equality; career woman; gender role; gender essentialism

Chapter.  9786 words. 

Subjects: Film

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