Title

Success Reassessed: Ambitious Women/Midlife Men

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on work and professional achievement as the cornerstones of success. It investigates gender in Hollywood movies in relation to American ideologies about work and success. The first part of the chapter surveys both the representation of professional/managerial women in films from the 1930s to the present as well as the theoretical discourse that has formed around those films. The second part is a close analysis of seven recent films centered on midlife men, in which the cinema’s defining tropes of masculinity are questioned and complicated. Considered together, these movies dealing with professionally ambitious women and professionally disaffected men point to a crack in the consensus about what constitutes success and how gender, work, and success are intertwined.

Disciplines

American Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Film and Media Studies

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