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Demon(ized) women: Female punishment in the ‘pink film’ and J-Horror

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This article argues that Japanese ‘pink film’, a cycle of exploitative soft-core pornography popularized throughout the 1960s, frequently brutalized women for their perceived role in declining social values following an assumed transgression of expected gender behaviors. Subsequently, films of this subgenre deployed sexual and fetishistic practices designed to reposition women within subordination, a theme particularly evident in Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion which utilizes this exploitative genre to explore a male fear of progressive female sexuality. Rather than a meditation on gender equality, Female Prisoner can instead be read as a warning from those who face disenfranchisement at the hands of social parity. Such concerns, this article concludes, manifest themselves throughout Japanese cinema, especially J-Horror with films such as Ringu and Ju-On: The Grudge. However, whereas the pink film reflects male fears of female ascension, J-Horror rearticulates such issues from a feminine perspective. In the pink film, women are punished for challenging the status quo whereas J-Horror presents females as oppressed victims of masculine monstrosity within a transitional modernity.
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Keywords: J-Horror; Japanese cinema; brutalization; castration; femininity; masculine redundancy; patriarchy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The University of Portsmouth

Publication date: 01 October 2012

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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