September 24, 2008

Framing (in films)

Framing is the technique of centering the attention on what the director wants the audience to focus on. The subject can be framed by other objects or how the film is shot. Framing can convey meaning to the object being framed and direct the audience's attention to where the director is going with the film.

September 21, 2008


Avant-Garde is a french term that means advance guard. It is typically used as an adjective to describe art that pushes the boundaries of the cultural norm and what is acceptable in our society. Avant-Garde can be fashion, theater, music, film, dance, or anything else that can be expressed as sort-of over the top/out there in essence. Because avant-garde is new and experimental, it can sometimes appear as complicated, dark, and very hard to read.

September 16, 2008

First Wave

The first-wave feminism movement refers to the 19th and early 20th century feminist activities that were beginning to take place. This suffrage movement focused mainly on the inequalities that were being supported through the de jure process. It is hard to concentrate on the details of everyday unfairness that you have to deal with as a woman when the law doesn’t even see you as a full citizen. After gaining the right to vote in 1920 the women’s movement started to challenge the de facto inequalities. The first-wave feminist movement set the cornerstone for womens right.

September 14, 2008


Transgender questions one's self-identification as male, female, or neither--in divergence with the normal "gender" determined at birth and by societal opinions. Transgenders often feel the gender assigned to them is a false or incomplete description of them.

September 9, 2008


An imitation of a person, event, literature, etc. that is often satirical or humorous.

The "Other"

The "other" is generally viewed as that which is different from the "norm" of sociocultural standards. Any variation from these standards are demonized and pushed to the peripheries of society. This, in turn, seeks to invalidate the struggles of those that fall outside of the white, patriarchal and heteronormative dominant culture by making them invisible. The term "other" describes this forced invisibility as a result of the denial of one's personal identity.


Avant-Garde is used to describe something as new or experimental, especially in the arts such as filmmaking, photography, etc.

Fat Positivity Movement

Fat Positivity Movement is a type of feminism that promotes acceptance and equal treatment for overweight women. Women who do not fit into society's preferred body image - the starving model - are automatically at a disadvantage in every day life. Not every woman can physically achieve this model size, and the women who do are usually unhealthy. Women naturally carry more weight than men, are expected to be thin again right after childbirth, and are ridiculed for liking food and having curves. Society needs to change its view on the female body!

(to) Fetishize

To be obsessively fixated on an object, a person, a body part, an action, a reward, etc.


A derogatory term applied to feminists who are considered "militant" and "extreme" in their views. The term was brought into the mainstream by none other than Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk-show host.

September 8, 2008


Literally: "the love of looking". The desire to watch others in order to fulfill voyeuristic fantasies. In feminist film theory this term is often connected with the idea of the "male gaze", in which women are seen as merely passive objects to be looked at.


Intersexed is the term for an individual who cannot be categorized as either male or female. An intersexed individual can have both male and female characteristics including genitalia, secondary sex characteristics, and sex chromosomes (or a combination of the list above).


Objectification is regarding a person as if they were an object. Neglecting a person's free will, or treating them only as a tool towards an end is objectification. Commonly pornography is seen as objectification because women (and men) are viewed as objects of lust rather than individuals.


Montage, most often refers to collage including photomontage and sound collage. Montage is also a technique in film editing that can refer to a segment which uses rapid editing, special effects and music to present compressed narrative information.

September 7, 2008


Diegesis is the term which refers to a story that is told to a given audience through spoken words rather than by the actions and scripts spoken by actors.

Buddy Film

Buddy Film-Productions that emphasize the relationship between two males in friendship. This is an important part of popular culture and has only recently been realized in film parlance within the context of female friendships ("Thelma and Louise"). Prominent examples of the Buddy Film highlighting the importance of comradery include "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" as well as "The Sting".

Penis Envy

Penis envy is a freudian term relating to young girls being ultimately jealous of their father's penises. Freud claims that at a certain stage in a young girls psycho social development, she begins to imitate her mother in an attempt to take over her mother's role and ultimately reach her father's penis. Freud claims young girls want to cut their mothers out of their lives, because they have a sexual desire to be with their fathers and they want to control their fathers.

Today, the term can mean men being jealous of the size of other men's genitals or women wanting to physically have a penis instead of their own sex organs.

September 6, 2008


Refers to the specific arrangement or placement of all visual elements (props, actors, etc) in a particular shot according to the director's preference.

In French "mise" is a form of the verb "mettre" which means "to set," "en" means either "in" or "on" and "scene" means "stage." So put together it means "to set on stage," so it's actually a quite literal term (at least in French).

Glass Ceiling

Glass ceiling is a term used to describe when a person, often a woman, person of a different race, class, gender or religion is unable to be promoted or reach the top of their field or profession because of discrimination. The person knows that he/she has all of the qualities and experience necessary for the position or role but will never be able to attain it.

Femme (Lesbian)

Femme is a term used to describe a distinct group of lesbians who emphasize their femininity and feminine characteristics through the way they think and behave. This term may also be applied to gay men, although less commonly. In a butch-femme lesbian relationship, the femme lesbian may take on the female role as in a heterosexual relationship while the butch may take on the male role.

*The following websites were used as resources for this entry:

Castration Complex

Castration Complex:
Also known as "Castration Anxiety" is an idea by Sigmund Freud. Freud says that a Castration Complex is a fear, in small boys, that usually develops during the phallic stage of sexual development. The Complex makes the boys think, when seeing female genitalia, that she had her penis cut off as a form of punishment. The Complex turns into an anxiety as the boy thinks the same will happen to him.
On a more profound level, Freud thinks that the boy fears he will ultimately lose his power in society via the loss of his penis.
**I would like to credit MSN Encarta Dictionary for helping me with this term.

Internalized Oppression

According to wikipedia, internalized oppression is when people believe and accept others' negative opinions and stereotypes of themselves. It is often associated with internalized racism, which is a more specified version of oppression. One example would be the women who don't believe that a woman could be president because she would be too emotional or too weak or something like that.

I would like to apologize for posting this in the wrong place, but I can't figure out how to post a comment on someone else's entry.

First Wave Feminism

According to Wikipedia the First-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity during the nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United Kingdom and the United States. It focused on de jure (officially mandated) inequalities, primarily on gaining women's suffrage (the right to vote). The term first wave was coined retroactively in the 1970s.
What I got out of First Wave Feminism is that it was the first time in history that women were standing up for their right as human beings to equal rights.

September 5, 2008


Intersectionality according to Wikipediea states that it is a “theory which seeks to examine the ways in which various socially and culturally constructed categories interact on multiple levels to manifest themselves as inequality in society?. Basically, intersectionality looks at the many different identities a person has and how they all interact with each other in every individual’s life. This theory is used to assess the oppression within a society based on such identities as gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation, class, etc. Through this we see the many different forms of discrimination that exist. An example of this would be an African American woman; she feels oppression as an African American as well as for being a woman, another “intersection? could be added if she was also a lesbian, for she would feel discrimination for that too.

Film Noir

Film Noir:::French for “black film?, is a gloomy style of black and white cinema from the post WWII era. Film Noir can fall into several different genres, from drama to suspense. The titles alone describe the nature of Film Noir, Touch of Evil and Kiss me Deadly are a few example. The femme fatale are the smart and independent women of Film Noir; who assist the male protagonists to their rarely happy or optimistic endings.

Sex Worker

The term sex worker refers to someone who works in the sex industry. This includes prostitution, stripping, pornography, escort services, phone sex operators, etcetera. The term was coined in 1978 by Carol Leigh, a political activist for prostitute's rights.

*assistance from Wikipedia, photo from


Pro-Sex is a term that is in some senses entirely self explanatory. It is often closely indentified with sex-positive feminism. Being Pro-sex often means explicitly rejecting the sex-hiearchy (often Juedo-Christian) that establishes notions of "good sex" and "bad sex". Being pro-sex often means embracing sex and sexuality in the plethora of forms and variety it is experienced through (not necessarily as the individual participating --but ideologically). Judging sexuality and sexual acts by the levels of consent and presence or lack of coercion as opposed to notions of heterosexuality/monogamy/unpaid/two partnered/without object/without explicit role playing (or the long host of engineered ways in which we are told sex is to occur in the "good way")

Pro-sex/Sex-positive feminism embraces sexual minority groups and rejects any and all attempts to control the sexualities and sexual identities of consenting people. There are many other connotations and important aspects of being pro-sex such the importance of decriminalizing prostitution, the place of pornography, and the centrality of sexuality as a cornerstone of the human experience.

September 4, 2008

White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy

White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy - is often used phrase from bell hooks . The way I understand it, is that present dominant system in the US is is based on multiple forms political, economic, social etc hierarchies and oppressions. White supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy remain largely unchallenged despite various advances made by social movements since the 1960s. The term is put into opposition to dominant mainstream definition of the US political system as "liberal democracy."

Here is what she has to say about politics of this term:

Continue reading "White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy" »

Butch (Lesbian)

A woman who is more masculine in her expression, appearance and personality; this word is often used for lesbian women who identify more with a masculine persona.

Used as assistance:


The idea that men have full control within the family as well as within the community.


Hegemony: Is a social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence when one social group is dominant over the other. It is usually a mean or forceful kind of dominance, which usually involves aggression for world leadership. For example, there are some countries that influence how other countries behave.

Marxist Feminism

Marxist Feminism: A particular form of feminist values focused on utilizing the anti-capitalist Marxist ideals as a means of liberation.
Marxist theory states that private property, production, and consumption heavily influence individuals within the capitalist economy, specifically with reference to class structure. Marxist feminists believe that gender oppression is equivalent to class oppression in that woman's subordination is maintained by the capitalist mode of production because it benefits the "ruling class" (aka: rich white males).

September 3, 2008


stemming from the root latin andr and gyn meaning respectively man and woman. An androgynous person is marked by sexual ambiguity appearing as both or an inditerminate sex, or having inverse of traditional masculine feminine roles.

also a really bitchin' song by Garbage

Documentary Film

A documentary film is a film that attempts to document an event, idea, and/or reality.

September 2, 2008

Feminist Film Glossary

Please use this blog entry to add to our course glossary of feminist film terms by posting your response in the comments section. Answers must be in your own words or cite a source if you are paraphrasing from elsewhere.