Girlhood Reimagined: Representations of Girlhood in the Films of Hayao Miyazaki Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/b5644x18k

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  • Despite the now common usage of the term “girl”, there has been little call for pause and deeper analysis into what we actually mean when we use this term. In particular, animated film provides a wide scope of media texts that claim to focus on girlhood; but how do we in fact know girlhood? How is girlhood constructed? With these questions in mind, I use feminist textual analysis to examine three films—Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), and Princess Mononoke (1997)—by acclaimed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki in which girl characters and girlhood play prominently into the film's construction as a whole. In particular, I examine how Miyazaki constructs girlhood through his storylines and characters and how these characters (i.e. girls) are then positioned in relation to three specific aspects of their representation: their use of clothing, their relationships to other characters, and their freedom of movement relative to other characters. In doing so, I deconstruct more traditionally held notions of girlhood in which girls are seen as dependent and lacking autonomy. Through Miyazaki’s work, I instead offer up a counternarrative of girlhood in which the very category of gender, and indeed “girls”, are destabilized. In doing so, I hope to provide a wider breadth of individuals the chance to see themselves represented in animated film in both significant and meaningful ways.
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