Advertisement

Scarlett Johansson: Into the Flesh and Out of the Flesh

  • Elsa Cascais AndradeEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)

Abstract

This chapter aims to establish connections among three films which pose interesting questions about the female body and the gendered subject in a post-feminist universe where, allegedly, emancipation is taken for granted and yet women are still objectified as “enfleshed” and materialized subjects or as disembodied, artificially intelligent, sex-fantasies created by technology. The films Under the skin and Her (both 2013) explore the idea of embodiment/disembodiment, dramatizing melancholy insofar as the physical materiality of the body becomes a fantasy, eliciting desire (as in Her) or a site where self-awareness gives way to vulnerability (as in Under the skin). The three films analyzed star Scarlett Johansson, whose role in Lost in Translation resonates with the difficulties of intimacy and with the predatory quality of heterosexual relations that Under the skin (2013) and Her (2013), in very different but disturbing ways, also explore. Lucy (2014) proposes the reversal of the former’s melancholy, by making its female protagonist a sort of machine-like goddess to become a Deleuzian rhizomatic, nomadic being, un-moored by gender. Yet, the body remains a memory, a reminder of humanity, which shores up the promise of tactile engagement with other bodies. Thus, these films explore in different ways the constitution of female subjectivity in a world where intimacy and heterosexuality are always already imperiled.

Keywords

Body Embodiment Post-feminism Gender Female subjectivity Intimacy 

References

  1. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter: On the discursive limits of sex. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Butler, J. (2004). Precarious life: The powers of mourning and violence. London, UK: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Braidotti, R. (2002). Metamorphoses: Towards a materialist theory of becoming. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  5. Braidotti, R. (2011). Nomadic subjects: Embodiment and sexual difference in contemporary feminist theory. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Braidotti, R. (2013). The posthuman. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  7. Doane, M. (1992). Film and the masquerade: Theorizing the female spectator. In G. Mast et al. (Eds.), Film theory and criticism (4th edn., pp. 758–772), New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Dyer, R. (1986). Heavenly bodies: Film stars and society. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  9. Eng, D. (2000). Melancholia in the late twentieth century. Signs, 25(4), 1275–1281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Freud, S. (2005). On murder, mourning and melancholia (S. Whiteside, Trans.). London: Penguin (original work published 1917).Google Scholar
  11. Haraway, D. (1991). A cyborg manifesto: Science, technology and socialist-feminism in the late twentieth century. In D. Haraway (Ed.), Simians, cyborgs and women: The reinvention of nature (pp. 149–181). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Hayles, K. (1999). How we became posthuman: Virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature and informatics. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hicks, H. (1996). “Whatever it is that she’s since become”: Writing bodies of text and bodies of women in James Tiptree Jr’s “The girl who was plugged in” and William Gibson’s “The winter market”. Contemporary Literature, 37(1), 67–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hettinga, L. (2016). Encountering unruly bodies: Posthuman and disabled bodies in Under the skin. Digressions, 1(2), 19–30.Google Scholar
  15. Kristeva, J. (1982). The powers of horror: An essay on abjection (L. Roudiez, Trans.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Mann, B. (2006). Women’s liberation and the sublime: Feminism, postmodernism, environment. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. McRobbie, A. (2009). The aftermath of feminism: Gender, culture and social change. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Osterweil, A. (2014). Under the skin: The perils of becoming female. Film Quarterly, 67(4), 44–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Plantinga, C. (2009). Moving viewers: American film and the spectator’s experience. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  20. Williams, L. (1992). When the woman looks. In G. Mast et al (Eds.). Film theory and criticism (4th edn., pp. 561–577). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Williams, L. (1999). Hard core: Power, pleasure and the “frenzy of the visible”. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AveiroAveiroPortugal

Personalised recommendations