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Case Study Bridget Jones' Diary Lecture Notes.docx
Case Study Bridget Jones' Diary Lecture Notes.docx

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McMaster University
Women’s Studies
Melinda Gough

Page 1 of5 Case Study: Bridget Jones’ Diary Gough Womens Studies 1A03 January 8 and 15 2014th Author – Helen Fielding Film – 2001 Things to note: - Gender, body image - Advertising, media - Consumerism (Bridget’s in the novel, and people in world who buy book and see the movie) Chick Lit - Gains popularity in 90’s - Mass (popular) cultural genre. Very large audience. - Vapid, formulaic, mind fluff? Not serious and predictable? - Central characters = marriage obsessed, love to shop, young women therefore uninteresting? - Audience: Young reading, not reading for their life ideal. Generation after the second wave of feminism. (“Post-feminists” / “third wave feminist”) - Protagonist: female, white, middle class, almost always straight. - Plot: search for love. Key is marriage. Plot in the struggle to negotiate her relationship into the institution of marriage. - The “chick”: independent, successful but also rendered less by her society because she is not skinny enough, not married, no kids, doesn’t have the best clothes etc. - Literature by women, for women. - Light hearted and humorous and sentimental. - Issues with relationships (family, friends, lovers.) - Written in intimate and confessional tone. - “Women”? - Not all women have the same experiences. - Have different race, class, sexuality. - So how do we gear to all women when not all women are the same? Not all women are positioned equally on global hierarchies. All women have different access based on status. - What group of women does this novel appeal to and why? Women vs Gender “woman” – sex = female. Vagina. Person in a female body. “gender” – living in a sexed body, defined as a female or male (cultural) Gender::Power - Meaning of living in a sexed body, factor on how societies distribute power. - Gender, culture, power, all connected. Power - Control/access to institutions sanctioned by the state. - Ability to define reality and convince others to accept your definition. Page 2 of 5 Case Study: Bridget Jones’ Diary Gough Womens Studies 1A03 January 8 and 15 2014 th - Ownership/control of political, social, and economic resources and capacity to make and enforce decisions. - Capacity to decide what you want and take action to get it. - Culture = human activity. - Culture defines male and female activities therefore it can change the definition of masculinity and femininity. Culture – Gender – Power Changes to our culture – Change in gender stereotypes –Change in access to power. Culture? - “high end” creative production. E.g. ballet, Broadway, “great” art etc. - Implicitly opposed to nature. Anything not natural in our environment are the practices that define us as humans. - What is significant to humans - Sphere of meaning includes the spheres of production and social relations. (economy and politics) January 15, 2014 Shame and Culture: - Shame a psychological state of the mind. - Freud - Superego (your conscience, the voice inside your head telling you what to do.) Internal agency of self-punishment. Reflects on the individual’s psychic investment in social ideals. When your conscience scolds yourself for stealing, it is reflecting that you confine to shame in society/culture. Feelings of shame = your investment in social ideas and cultural norms. Understanding what is acceptable in society. - Patterns of shame. Shame in Bridget Jones Diary: - Bridget makes herself New Years Resolutions. Wants to be: - More organized, thriftier. Better at saving money. - Healthier, thinner, more attractive. - More confident, better with relationships (less single.) - Wants to improve happiness, self-esteem, agency, integrity, self-determination. She wants to be poise. Makes Contradictions to her Resolutions 1. To save money … and to spend it To resolve: - She will not spend more than she earns. - She will save money in savings. Pension too. Page 3 of 5 Case Study: Bridget Jones’ Diary Gough Womens Studies 1A03 January 8 and 15 2014 th However, she must buy things she needs to improve herself. - Anticellulite books, music, fiber, self help books, photograph albums, better and more expensive food, mood tapes. Needs to buy these things in order to achieve happiness and her life goals. Wants to e the person her shame tells her she needs to be. 2. To be okay without a man… and to find one. - Bridget says she will not skulk about not having a boyfriend, she will have inner poise and a sense of self, for this will help her attain a boyfriend. Examples of Bridget’s shame: - Dinner with smug married people, demonstrates society’s ideal to be married and have a baby by a certain age. Bridget feels shame for not having this. - Evaluates herself and her day in her diary. - Entry describing all the hard work to maintain beauty even though it goes again
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