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Journeys on ScreenTheory, Ethics, Aesthetics$
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Louis Bayman and Natália Pinazza

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474421836

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421836.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 25 February 2020

Spaces of Failure: The Gendering of Neoliberal Mobilities in the US Indie Road Movie

Spaces of Failure: The Gendering of Neoliberal Mobilities in the US Indie Road Movie

(p.252) Chapter 15 Spaces of Failure: The Gendering of Neoliberal Mobilities in the US Indie Road Movie
Journeys on Screen

Anna Cooper

Edinburgh University Press

This article examines the contemporary woman-directed road movie, including Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2006), Gas Food Lodging (Allison Anders, 1992), and Wendy and Lucy (Kelly Reichardt, 2008), through the lens of neoliberal spatial politics. Drawing on Jack Halberstam’s concept of failure as a queer way of life that has paradoxically positive, constructive, even ecstatic potentialities for resistance against neoliberal disciplinary regimes, I explore how poor women’s spaces depicted in these films function as pockets of resistance against neoliberal power. The road movie genre as a whole is full of rebels against society, most of them male and white, yet they are spatially and colonially empowered – traveling freely across the landscape and finding self-expression through mobility. In the women’s road movie, on the other hand, poor women (particularly those who aren’t attached to men) tend to be immobilized, often failing to get anywhere at all. Poor women’s resistance here is instead configured within the fragile, passed-over lives they build for themselves in the in-between spaces of neoliberal failure. These films depict how poor women’s consumer practices and aesthetic tactics function to reject the dominant, colonial and masculine spatial order of neoliberalism.

Keywords:   Neoliberalism, road movie, spatial politics, mobility, failure, women’s road movie, women’s aesthetics

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