, Volume 62, Issue 11-12, pp 734-746

Violent Female Action Characters in Contemporary American Cinema

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Abstract

This research is a content analysis of violent female action characters (“VFAC”) shown in American action films from 1991 through 2005. The analysis focused on three aspects of VFACs: (1) gender stereotypes, (2) demographics, and (3) quantity and type of violence. Findings showed that 58.6% of VFACs were portrayed in a submissive role to the male hero in the film, and 42% were romantically linked to him. The average VFAC was young, white, highly educated, and unmarried. VFACs engaged in masculine types of violence yet retained feminine stereotypes due to their submissive role and romantic involvement with a dominant male hero character. The findings suggest continued gender stereotypes set within a violent framework of contemporary American cinema.