Summary of Linda Williams' "Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and

             In the essay "Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess," Linda William critiques the three genres of films with the fundamental elements of sex, violence, and emotion. She analyzes the cultures of past and present, which lead to the three genres of films that came from the pleasures and values of the society. There are certain types of pleasure that are achieved with each type of element in pornography, horror, and melodrama. She associates that women are the main figures that are used to portray these elements, in which she says "...women figured on the screen have functioned traditionally as the primary embodiments of pleasure, fear, and pain" (373). The pleasures are the convulsion or spasm in porn, the screams of fear in horror, and the sobs of anguish in melodrama.
             Within the three genres, the significant feature is the excess of the body. In pornography, melodrama and horror films, the body is shown as being the spectacle to the pleasures previously informed. It is not just a regular body that becomes the object of spectacle, but the female body and it is through "the sexual saturation of the female body that audiences of all sorts have received some of their most powerful sensations" (373). These type of films are deemed to be low cultural status, but they exist in excess and are also popular because the spectator might perceive that the body is "caught up in an almost involuntary mimicry of the emotion or sensation of body on the screen" (374). These types of films become successful based on how extreme that audience sensation imitates on what is being seen on the screen. The success of these genres can be measured by the bodily response.
             Williams also talks about how it has been a cliche that women make the best victims, and the feminist critics agree by saying that "... the image of the sexually ecstatic woman so important to the genre is a celebration of female victimiza...

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Summary of Linda Williams' "Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:41, October 06, 2022, from