Disciplining the boundaries of South Asian women's sexuality: an analysis of the representation of women in independent South Asian 'lesbian' cinema

Matoo, Gurbax (2015). Disciplining the boundaries of South Asian women's sexuality: an analysis of the representation of women in independent South Asian 'lesbian' cinema. University of Birmingham. M.Res.

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The thesis analyses how same-sex desire is represented in independent South Asian 'lesbian' cinema. By using the medium of film, the thesis attempts to demonstrate how alternative cinema challenges the dominant cultural norms which are represented in Bollywood films. Central to this argument, is to analyse that whilst alternative cinema represents same-sex desire, it also reproduces normalised gendered and sexual ideologies.

The thesis explores issues of (in)visibility and (re)presentation from within feminist debates on race and ethnicity. By using black and post colonial feminism as a conceptual framework, the thesis demonstrates how historical discourses have shaped the construction of South Asian women as passive and obedient (Brah, 1992; Parmar; 1982; Rattanski, 1994). As such, the thesis considers how pathological constructions and representations continue to be perpetuated within Bollywood cinema and how independent South Asian lesbian cinema has sought to challenge such normative ideologies. Therefore, an exploration of the black female body and the ways in which essentialised ideologies construct South Asian femininities provides some insights into the ways in which such representations still continue to inform our understandings of South Asian women in contemporary society.

The thesis argues that whilst alternative cinema challenges normative ideologies, it also reproduces dominant norms and values through concepts of marriage, motherhood, religion and culture which continue to be perpetuated through nationalist discourses. Whilst the thesis demonstrates that South Asian women negotiate their identities within such complex arenas, the space afforded to them within all three films is often located outside of the 'sanctity' and 'purity' of the domestic sphere.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/5782


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