The reception of female directors in contemporary Hollywood

This project was concerned with interrogating how cultural and media economies of female directors are created through the reception of their work and their treatment by the mainstream media. The research analysed how power/gender structures are reinforced – and challenged – through the media treatment of Hollywood’s female directors.

In so doing this project contributed to wider discourses concerning cultural economies and how these are bound up in issues of gender, privilege and taste cultures. At the time, there was no overview of the work of Hollywood’s most prominent female directors (such as Nancy Meyers, Kathryn Bigelow, Nora Ephron, Katherine Hardwick and Sam Taylor-Wood).

In a context in which the treatment of women in Hollywood were called into question by both academic critique and the mainstream press, this project looked to unpick the ways in which the critical and popular discourse surrounding female directors, and their films, actually works to enhance gender divisions.