The mirror has many faces : an exploration of women's aesthetics in contemporary mainstream Australia

Weightman, Elise (1999) The mirror has many faces : an exploration of women's aesthetics in contemporary mainstream Australia. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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This thesis investigates the concept of "women's aesthetics", as distinct from "feminine" or "feminist" aesthetics, asserting that an original and liberated women's film practice and spectatorship may be realised, in the late 1990s, by reinterpreting women's aesthetics as diverse social and artistic processes. Aesthetic concepts such as pleasure, value, art and sensory experience are also tested in this study to establish their relevance to feminist discourses on film, the wider culture and society. The study also argues that the aesthetics of Australian women filmmakers working in mainstream cinema may be characterised by certain social and artistic processes. Further, it is suggested that these women achieve a more liberated and empowered artistic practice through their distinctive and personal explorations of particular aesthetic processes. Through case studies of films by Gillian Armstrong, Jane Campion, Samantha Lang and Rachel Perkins, certain characteristics of women's aesthetics are identified, and their power and relevance for Australian women filmmakers are evaluated. While focusing its investigation on the concept of "women's aesthetics", this study also interrogates recent and seminal feminist film theory as well as the historical development of Australian national cinema, establishing a context and justification for the exploration of women's aesthetics. The revised, inclusive concept of women's aesthetics is then applied to a practical project, in which my own artistic processes are explored through the production of three short films. This practical component is reported and critiqued to establish the relevance of the concept of women's aesthetics to my own film practice. Finally, this thesis concludes that the concept and practice of women's aesthetics as a negotiated process can be used to promote and develop a more relevant, political and productive relationship between women, mainstream cinema and the wider culture and society.

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ID Code: 35918
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: McGown, Jeanette & Yeates, Helen
Additional Information: Presented to the School of Media and Journalism, Queensland University of Technology.
Keywords: Aesthetics Australia, Feminism and motion pictures Australia, Motion pictures and women Australia, Short films Australia, thesis, masters
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Elise Weightman
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:03
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2017 03:51

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