I first discovered this book when I was writing my dissertation for my BA. It was one of the few texts that devoted any space to a discussion of the representation of women in action films, which it does in a comprehensive manner. The book is broken into 9 chapters, each one dealing with a different aspect of women in film, from comedy and action to singers who have broken into the world of the movies. This is achieved through the textual analysis of films such as The Long Kiss Goodnight, Body Heat, Aliens, Boys on the Side and Sister Act. The book discusses contemporary films and stars from a viewpoint that is situated in the wake of feminism. Tasker's discussion wanders from Melanie Griffith's ballsy secretary in Working Girl, to Sharon Stone's moody, lone cowgirl in Sam Raimi's The Quick and the Dead and covers topics from cross-dressing & lesbianism to the masculine-woman and the new femme fatale. Tasker doesn't just limit her discussion to the women on screen, but also devotes a chapter to those behind the camera (such as Kathryn Bigelow and Maggie Greenwald). The book is easy to read and Tasker's conclusions are well supported throughout, not least by the inclusion of black and white images at the beginning of the chapters. Her argument flows intelligently throughout the book and can be followed effortlessly. The filmography and bibliography alone are impressive. Anyone with an interest in the representation of women in film should find this book a welcome addition to their bookshelf.
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