How Stereotypes Are Portrayed In Girlfight (Karin Kusama, 2000) Essays Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Women, Cinema, Stereotypes, Gender, Movies, Violence, Men, Boxing

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/23

In the contemporary society, the media has used stereotypes to create perceptions that have always targeted the minority and inferior groups. This has made individual struggle to remain relevant and find an identity in the society. In the Girlfight movie, the director has incorporated gender stereotypes to discriminate against women. The gender stereotypes are used to turn people away from the reality as they consider women inferior to men. In this paper, I will provide insight on how stereotypes are portrayed in Girlfight movie drawing illustrations from specific scenes in the movie. I will also demonstrate how Diana went against all odds to fight against the gender stereotypes that females are a weaker species compared to men.
The “Girlfight” movie illustrates how a female character handled the gender stereotypes and barriers to pursuing her dream of becoming a ruthless box fighter. At the first scene of the movie, we encounter the heroine in a sweetened and ferocious dictatorial debut, in a scenario where a crowd of teenagers is running towards the halls of Brooklyn High school. The lady is inclined against a locker, facing the ground. Karyn Kusama is a baggy trouser and army jacket attire, and she appears to portray a masculine poise and self-confidence (Scott 01). The viewers of the film cannot identify the character until the camera focuses on the upper body of the woman. Slowly, she raises her head and stares with frightening eyes flinging a glower as fearsome as Robert De Niro’s in “Raging Bull.” It’s an enthralling and an iconic scene that depicts the depth of anger in the proud young woman. The same scene presents an influential, and extremely gifted young actress, Michelle Rodriguez. In the beginning, gender differences are not focused on until the moment where the camera reveals the face of the female character.
Kusama is closed, and this illustrates the anger and disinterest associated with the character. The way she stares speaks a lot and leaves the viewers with many questions in their mind. Coincidentally, the camera displays how Diana is approaching the female bathroom as it focuses on the visible “GIRLS” sign on the top of the frame (Scott 01). Throughout her life, Diana’s outfit was closely associated with male figures but the scene helps us to believe that she is a woman and not a man. At the same time, Veronica and Merisol confront each other and quarrels over a boy. The two girls demonstrate the perception in the society that females are supposed to wear heavy make-up and bright clothes. The bathroom scene represents the existing differences between Diana’s female masculinity and other women excessive femininity. The two girls also demonstrate an unusual and impetuous heterosexuality that puff out in females. Diana was different and had less concern about how she appeared. She lacked the aggressive instincts of developing the “lady-like” personality. At school, the other girls struggled to gain skills on how to appear sexy, popular and attractive because of the feminine features inside them. Diana was very different from the normal woman that the society expected (Scott 01). Whenever Diana squabbled with other girls, she used her fists to fight any common enemy that failed to respect her views and opinions. A critical analysis of how the Diana fights indicate that she used boys’ tricks of fighting. Interesting, the girls in the Girlfight” movie used the pinching, biting and tearing tactics to defend themselves whereas Diana used her fists.
Another scene that depicts gender stereotypes is the boxing gym. Inside the area, male figures are working out in preparation of the fights. Unexpectedly, Diana decides to enter the male-dominated game to sort the required compensation for her brother, Tiny. Unpredictably, Diana found her brother fighting in the ring. His competitor knocked him out by punching him direct on the face. The situation made Diana furious, and she could not take it easy. She decided to respond punching Ray back trying to defend Tiny. Since time immemorial, male figures were believed to be in a position to protect and fight for sisters or girlfriends. As a boxer, Diana’s brother was expected to protect his family but this goes as unexpected (EL CINE 01). Diana is a testimony that females should also be respected, and the society must do away with stereotypes that illustrate that she gender is weak and inferior to men. The female character shook the world by fighting back even the physical trained males.
The director of Girlfight film takes the opportunity to reconstruct the female gaze by taking advantage of the dynamics of boxing to give Diana a masculine identity despite being a woman. In the past, most Hollywood movies never paid attention on the failures of men but always talked about their success (Fojas 104). This movie breaks this tradition as Diana retaliates in defending his younger brother by punching his competitor in the boxing ring. The success of Diana in boxing raises question and puts bring about a complicated scenario of heterosexual women competing with men and the same level and winning important events.
After the incident, spectators find themselves in a scene in front of the gym where a dialog between Ray and another boxer is revealed. “..You get slapped by a girl that’s weak Ray” (Scott 01). Adrian, the boxer was furious because Diana had undermined the pride and prestige bestowed on men. It was unusual for a girl to punch a man, and this whole situation was raised mixed reactions across the board. According to the gender stereotypes, females were meant to look inferior and protected by the ‘he’ gender (Mendible 105). Moreover, girls are expected to remain loyal, pretty, and sweet. In the similar scene, a gorgeous, attractive lady dressed to kill with make-up and nice attire passes by. She excites the two boxers as they stare at her in disbelief. The girl responds by smiling back with an elegant smile. The director of the movie is brave to identify the uniqueness of Diana with other ordinary girls. The filmic contrast was used to show how gender stereotypes denied women an equal space with the men. The characters of the ordinary females in the film help the spectators to disassociate Diana from the female stereotype and at the same time put emphasis on female masculinity.
Interestingly, Diana decides to go against all odds and enroll to boxing. When Diana tells Hector that she is ready to be a boxer, the boxing tutor is amazed and responds by telling her that Boxing was meant for men. Hector tells us, “You just can't. Girls don't have the same power as boys.” Hector’s wanted Diana to subscribe to the boxing fees before enrolling to the training sessions. The instructor was sure that the charge would scare away Diana and denies her a chance to train in the game. He changes his mind and makes a decision to train Diana though she believed that Boxing was not meant for girls. From the start, Hector has apperception that Diana was not in a position to remain patient and humiliate the tough exercises encountered in boxing. Diana has made a decision to prove people wrong and ensured that she gave out the best in trained. She was undergoing a process of seeking for gender identity in the society (Fojas 105). As she looks in the mirror, we discover that she had acquired a distorted face during training. The training sessions were too physical, and Diana did everything to cope with the situation.
The training sessions are encountered with arguments between Hector and Diana. The instructor asks for persistence as he agrees that boys and girls had to train for them to master the art of war since it never came through natural means. In this conversation, it is funny how Hector regards boys and girls to be of the same qualities despite his previous beliefs that boys were superior to girls. In her first match, Diana is expected to battle with Ray. The coach asks her to “try to be a gentleman.” Such a statement indicated everybody undermined women and never believed that they could fight in wars. In this fight, Diana appears to be physical stronger and mighty than Ray despite the Director failing to focus on the outcome of the match (Scott 01).
As the events unfolded, gender stereotypes continued to dominate in most scenes of the movie. As Diana and Merisol are conversing, her friend is astonished by the fact that Diana was participating in a men’s game. Nonetheless, she also narrates to her of a gentleman called Adrian but her friend claims that the male name was girlish to some extent. This is the first scenario where we discover that Diana was also attracted to men. She had developed feelings towards Adrian, and it reaches a point where they even had dinner together. The food that the two orders in a restaurant creates attention. Diana asked for a heavy meal unlike what girls used to order. At the same time, Adrian is on a dieting mission as he orders soup, garden salad and Italian dressing. The movie reverses the traditional setup where women are always expected to be concerned with their weight and keep on dieting. The situation may have been developed to break away the stereotype that woman are the only one who were concerned with their weight. Throughout the film, females are stereotyped into softer, subsidiary femininity. The life of girls cannot be compared to them of boys. According to the stereotypes, males possess more natural abilities and are the strongest species (Hedley 11). The director depicts the representation of gender in the society by creating male characters that are aggressive when most of the ladies are shy and timid. Surprisingly, Diana demonstrates that girls also had powerful traits and could fight on their own.

Works Cited

Fojas, Camilla. "Sports of Spectatorship: Boxing Women of Color in Girlfight and Beyond." Cinema Journal 49.1 (2009): 103-115.
Hedley, Mark. "The presentation of gendered conflict in popular movies: Affective stereotypes, cultural sentiments, and men's motivation." Sex Roles 31.11-12 (1994): 721-740.
Mendible, Myra, ed. From bananas to buttocks: The Latina body in popular film and culture. University of texas Press, 2010.
Scott, A. O. "Girlfight (2000). FILM REVIEW; Floating Like a Butterfly, Stinging Like a Bee." New York Times 29 Sept. 2000: n. pag. Print.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 23) How Stereotypes Are Portrayed In Girlfight (Karin Kusama, 2000) Essays Example. Retrieved August 14, 2022, from
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How Stereotypes Are Portrayed In Girlfight (Karin Kusama, 2000) Essays Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 23, 2020. Accessed August 14, 2022.

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