LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MEN AND GIRLS: GENDER REPRESENTATION IN WOODY ALLEN'S MANHATTAN, HUSBANDS AND WIVES, AND CAFÉ SOCIETY
Woody Allen established himself as a household name in the 1960s. His half-century long career is celebrated for its generation of numerous memorable female characters and sullied by back-to-back scandals in 1992. For 25 years following an accusation of child molestation Woody Allen continued to produce films and exist as one of the most distinguished directors of all time. In October of 2017 Hollywood was rocked by the viral, sexual assault awareness campaign, #MeToo. In the wake of #MeToo, Hollywood and the online court of public opinion awakened by the viral campaign is using #MeToo as an opportunity to reevaluate a century-old industry and its many players. Woody Allen is amongst the Hollywood-elite being called into questioning over issues of gender representation and sexual assault. Inspired by the dialogue opened by #MeToo, this senior thesis takes a closer look at Woody Allen, and three of his films produced over the last sixty-nine years he has been active, as a means to better understand gender in Hollywood. Through an analysis of Manhattan (1979), Husbands and Wives (1992), and Café Society (2016), paired with an investigation of Allen's biography, critical reception to his films, and an incorporation of auteur and autobiography theory, I found that Allen is able to exist as both a lover of women and an accused sexual assault perpetrator in a way that other Hollywood directors are not. He can, and does, exist as both uniquely celebratory of and intensely creepy towards women, and he is able to do this because of the form and content of his films. The genre of his films allows him to exist simultaneously as problematic and innovative in terms of gender representations. The types of female and male characters he creates, in the content of his films, exemplify his anomalous status in Hollywood.
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