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Unruly Women in Contemporary Pop Culture

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Organizer: Lisa Timmermann

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Recently, we have seen a growing number of unconventional female characters in literature, film, and on TV – characters that do not conform to patriarchal and capitalist constructions of femininity, that defy our expectations and refuse to follow the (written and/or unwritten) rules. In her monograph The Unruly Woman: Gender and the Genres of Laughter (1995), Kathleen Rowe focused on the representation of “unruly women” in comedy. According to Rowe, the romantic comedy genre has “provided one of the few outlets for representations of female unruliness in Hollywood film” (Rowe 19). In which genres can we find the most compelling examples of 21st-century 'female unruliness,' and how is this unruliness presented? The figure of the ‘unruly woman’ not only opens up discourses around gender roles, but can also emphasize satirical aspects of fictional works that may not be immediately evident, such as subtle critiques of capitalism and consumer culture, and their links to the oppression of women and nature.

This seminar welcomes submissions about the role of the ‘unruly woman’ in 21st century fiction, film, and/or TV series.

Work cited: Rowe, Kathleen. The Unruly Woman. University of Texas Press, 1995.

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