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The Runaways: Music, fashion and 'post-feminism'

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This article considers the intersection of biographical myth, music and gender politics through a discussion of the film The Runaways (Floria Sigismondi, 2010). In focusing in particular on themes of gender identity and fashion, it not only aims to uncover the ways in which this film presents the individual biographical stories of lead band members Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, but also to retell these histories through what it will argue is a clear 'post-feminist' lens. In doing so, the film cultivates a number of cultural myths about the participation of women in the music industry. This article is ultimately interested in how music as a particular cultural space has been idealized, romanticized and thus overestimated as a place where such issues could be addressed, and how critical engagement with music fails to fully consider the position of women within the industry. Consequently, popular culture becomes an important reference point for audiences' understanding of women's lives within music, the reality of which can be obscured because of the retrospective stance of biographical film in particular. Importantly, this article is concerned with the consequences of such positions, which locate issues of gender inequality in music in the past rather than the present.

Keywords: biographical film; cultural myth; fashion; music; post-feminism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of the Arts London

Publication date: February 9, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Film, Fashion & Consumption is a peer-reviewed journal designed to provide an arena for the discussion of research, methods and practice within and between the fields of film, fashion, design, history, art history and heritage. The journal seeks to stimulate ongoing research on these topics and to attract contributions not only from scholars researching in these areas but also from practitioners, who are traditionally excluded from academic debate. The journal thus aims to unite and enlarge a community of researchers and practitioners in film, fashion, consumption and related fields, whilst also introducing a wider audience to new work, particularly to interdisciplinary research which looks at the intersections between film, fashion and consumption.
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