The Ambivalent Machismo: Representation, Mediascape, and Female Leads in Cinema

deadline for submissions: 
January 13, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Postcolonial Studies Association newsletter
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Carrie Paechter, in her article “Rethinking the possibilities for hegemonic femininity: Exploring a Gramscian framework” (2018)6, discusses the challenges and possibilities of conjuring a space where the discursive model of feminine essentialism can be better perceived as a binary opposite of hegemonic masculinity and patriarchal oppression. A few popular generic spaces within the mediascape, where machismo claims a front row within the psyche of the audience, have hitherto been dominated by male leads. Since the early 2000s, media representation has been witnessing a tangible shift with the emergence of female leads. The characters played by women started appearing more convincing. The politics of representation becomes problematic as these depictions of female characters are essentially directed towards appropriating stereotypes of hegemonic masculinity where physical strength, affinity towards violence, and lack of emotional vulnerability get showcased. The canonization of ‘femininity’ through an exquisitely crafted balance between masculine and feminine temperaments hardly finds prominence. This ambit of ambiguity around the notion of empowerment invites academic interventions in decoding the representation of these female leads as it simultaneously empowers women and the cornerstones of hegemonic masculinity. We encourage submissions that consider, but are not limited to the following topics:

• Female prototype in Cinema

• Objectification, femininity, strength

• The Costume Construct

• New Generation Female Protagonist in Cinema

• Cons, Cops, Corporate, and other vanquished territories of 'Masculinist' depiction

• Brain and brawn: hitting the sweet spot between ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ temperament

• Negotiating with the male gaze?

• Reconstructing Agency: femme fatale to femme castratrice

• Interplay between gender and race in cinematic female characters


Original contributions should be between 700 and 1,200 words and should be fully referenced using Harvard Referencing Style. The deadline for submissions is 13th January 2023.

Please submit your contribution via email to the PSA Newsletter editorial team: Francesca Mussi, Jennifer Gray, and Priyanka Tripathi