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American Postfeminist CinemaWomen, Romance and Contemporary Culture$
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Michele Schreiber

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748693368

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748693368.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

. Sexy Vs. Funny

. Sexy Vs. Funny

Sexuality in the Postfeminist Cycle

(p.108) 4. Sexy Vs. Funny
American Postfeminist Cinema

Michele Schreiber

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter Four continues Chapter Three’s examination of the reverberations surrounding contemporary romance’s preoccupation with the past, but here the past is that of girlhood. Postfeminist culture’s fixation on naive girlishness and hyper-sexualized boldness simultaneously results in a paradoxical representation of sexuality and romance. Case studies of comedy films—When Harry Met Sally (Reiner, 1989), Pretty Woman, and 13 Going on 30 (Winick, 2004)—alongside thrillers—Fatal Attraction (Lyne, 1987), Unfaithful (Lyne, 2002), In the Cut (Campion, 2003)—make it clear that the postfeminist romance film struggles to maintain a balance between depicting women as demure girls and sexual coquettes. The chapter concludes with a brief consideration of how these contradictory representations find some degree of balance in the more recent films No Strings Attached (Reitman, 2011) and Friends with Benefits (Gluck, 2011) and the television program Girls (2012-) even amidst increasingly contentious cultural conversations about women’s sexual rights.

Keywords:   film, girls, sexuality, romantic comedy, sexual thriller

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