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IMAGES OF WOMEN IN MAINSTREAM CULTURE The most successful box office hits in history are science-fiction films This indicates that the audience - society - likes what they see in these movies Science-fiction has long been viewed as a male dominated genre Although there have been notable exceptions in such films as Alien and its sequels and the original Terminator for the most part science-fiction films have been laden with male heroes in powerful positions Females in most of these films have been subjected to three roles reasonercomforter sex object and victim While the male characters are allowed to make the difficult decisions and handle the demanding physical tasks the female characters are often forced to stand behind them and console or reason with their man when things dont go according to plan By employing a textual analysis of two recent science-fiction box office successes Star Trek First Contact Jonathan Frakes 1996 and Independence Day Roland Emmerich 1996 one can clearly see the above pattern of malefemale power relationships in full effect Both films present female characters as victims reasonercomforter and sex objects Furthermore the pattern demonstrated in these two films can be further examined by observing its absorption into the dominant mainstream culture through the overwhelming audience responses to the two films According to Douglas Kellner Media images help shape our view of the world and our deepest values and these two films were major media images during their time of theatrical release When the textual analysis and observation of audience response to the films are combined with the theories of some of todays cultural studies writers one can develop a clear view of how societys view of women in relation to men becomes clearly defined in the products of the societys culture In the articles Oppression by Marilyn Frye and Cultural Studies Multiculturalism and Media Culture the arguments on the position of woman are clearly presented and can be
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