Femininity In Gangster Films

1810 Words8 Pages
In this essay I shall be discussing the representation of femininity in gangster films. I shall be discussing femininity in the way gangster films present their female roles. They do this by creating a sexualised weak role in this genre. As time progresses we see a shift in dynamic. Looking at roles such as the mother, sister and that of a girlfriend. Using these depictions of females to explore the role of a female in a gangster film. I shall be discussing films such as Scarface with particular reference to that of the brother and sister dynamic we see throughout the film (1932). Then moving onto the Godfather (1972) looking closely at the mother figure in this film. Then lastly moving onto Gangster Squad (2013). Discussing the role of the…show more content…
She is the centre of matriarchal Italian culture. Gangsters always talk of such fondness for the mothers as they are really the only female that look up to in their lives. Although they are never really involved in what the mob does especially in this film but they always seem to know what is going on. Their children could do anything but they would love them none the less. When watching through scenes we see how the mother seems to hold some power over her children when it comes to mundane things. As Fran puts “family as a close-knit community with a set of loyalties.” (2002, p130) However, this power always seems to disappear when her children leave for a job. In many aspects she isn’t really seen as feminine in the idea of what we believe to be feminine in gangster films. But she is as the mother, the nurturer in her family’s life. This then helps with allowing to show femininity as it is foreshowed in the actions she does for her kids. We almost see a similar relationship from that of Scarface with the idea that ‘blood is thicker than water.’ This idea that a family member could do anything to that of a blood relative in the days of these older gangster films it seems that there will always be this unconditional love that could never break ties. Her children could do the worse thing imaginable but she will still love them with all her…show more content…
In this film we sort of see a shift in the role of the female protagonist in this film. Grace Faraday lives a life that is first show as a free and easy life. Being Cohen’s etiquette tutor. Marjorie gives as the idea that sometimes we are shown “varied but superficial and sometimes demeaning depiction of women” (1973, p416). This becomes particularly relevant when we first see her in this remarkably stunning red dress. We see that she has class and is an intelligent female when she does speak. One without complication as she sits in the table across the room surrounded by gangsters, a judge and the police commissioner. She doesn’t speak nor does she smile. She sits there waiting on Mickey Cohen for her to react to what he asks of her. We could take this firstly to show that mickey Cohen could have any female he wants because of the power he holds but also because he is a man that wants to show what kind of women he can get. She is a female that has been ‘superficially’ presented to us by just the image we have been given. Marjorie,R. puts it in a way that sums up the other elements put in place in this industry. “charm and sexual allure of actresses to assure economic success.” (1973, p416) There is a way in this industry that uses sex as a use of money to almost exploit the female especially in gangster films. Now this can also be said for males. There is always a thought process behind using a male actor like Ryan

More about Femininity In Gangster Films

Open Document