- This term is often used loosely to refer to any Western in which women dominate, but it applies most directly to Westerns in which gender roles are reversed and the female characters play male roles and the male characters are subservient to the females. An early anomalous classic Western often labeled feminist is Johnny Guitar(1954) in which two women dress and act like men while squaring off for a traditional showdown. The trend for such feminist Westerns naturally accelerated after the women’s movement of the 1960s, and from the late 20th century to the present, certain movies have appeared that have clearly intended to make a feminist statement. The Quick and the Dead (1995), for example, has a woman gunfighter who bests all her male opponents. The Ballad of Little Jo (1993) tells the story of a woman who is disgraced by nice society and forced to live her life disguised as a man. Some films like Bad Girls(1994) and Gang of Roses(2003) revolve around gangs of women gunslingers who band together for strength and protection. In The Missing (2003), a mother tracks across treacherous desert in search of her daughter who had been captured by Apaches. In all these movies, the male characters prove ineffective and weak when confronted by strong women.
Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. Paul Varner. 2012.
Look at other dictionaries:
ALTERNATIVE WESTERNS — The Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the American Indian movement, and other historical events of the 1960s and 1970s brought paradigmatic changes in American culture that affected every form of art and… … Westerns in Cinema
CULTURAL VALUE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF WESTERNS — While many Hollywood Westerns are little more than whimsical stories of legitimated violence, serious Westerns attempt to examine social issues in ways that no other medium can. An underlying assumption of all serious study of Westerns is that … Westerns in Cinema
WOMEN — Westerns traditionally have been stories of men struggling against the forces of the frontier. Women’s roles in these stories have usually been secondary at best. Symbolically, however, women have played a major role. While the frontier is a… … Westerns in Cinema
Chronology — 1890 The year traditionally considered the official closing of the West according to the U.S. Census Bureau and also according to Frederick Jackson Turner, whose interpretation of the Western experience would dominate Western historical and… … Westerns in Cinema
LANDSCAPE — Part of what makes a Western a Western is the magnificent landscape that serves as an independent element of the film, almost like another character, and the relationship of the characters to it is basic to the premise. The clear message of… … Westerns in Cinema
AMIS, Suzy — (1962– ) Suzy Amis is most remembered for her role as Little Jo Monaghan in Maggie Greenwald’s The Ballad of Little Jo (1993) a character who passes for a male rancher, undetected except by an Asian ranch hand who becomes her lover. Only at… … Westerns in Cinema
SILENT ERA CINEMA — The beginnings of cinema Westerns is an exciting story considering that there was still a lot of untamed frontier in the western United States when filmmakers started making Westerns back East. It all began in 1903 when the first Western, and… … Westerns in Cinema
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD (1995) — Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Woody Strode, Sam Raimi (director) The town of Redemption is holding a world championship quick draw tournament, and the best shooters from around the world have gathered. Herod… … Westerns in Cinema
GREENWALD, Maggie — (1955– ) Since the 1980s, Maggie Greenwald has worked behind the cameras in numerous roles. Her work is unapologetically feminist and her feminist Western, The Ballad of Little Jo (1993), sought to change the way Westerns portray women. The… … Westerns in Cinema
COWBOY HERO — The center of every classic Westernis the cowboy hero, such as Shane, who at the edge of the frontier mediates between the coming civilization and the innate savagery of the wilderness. The cowboy hero inhabits two worlds: he can live in the… … Westerns in Cinema