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The Ugly Duckling: Female Stereotypes and Psychological Disorders in Black Swan

The conventions of mainstream horror films have transformed ostensibly in parallel with socio-cultural development. The narrative structure and even the nature of the ‘monster’ have undergone broad, noticeable changes with the advancement of movements such as postmodernism and feminism. This particular genre holds a great deal of significance with regard to the representation of women in film: usually confined to a caricatured stereotype, the portrayal of women has evolved broadly from monster to victim to hero. black swan

Whilst there is a general trend of transformation in Hollywood productions, conventions persist in American cinema, promoting negative stereotypes based on clichéd gender roles. Black Swan achieved box office success as well as critical acclaim but also appeared to implement these regressive gender roles. The following analysis is concerned with the resurfacing of archaic female stereotypes in the film Black Swan and how they are ultimately used to subvert mainstream Hollywood conventions through pastiche.


The Ugly Duckling: Psychological Disorders in Black Swan

This here analysis evolved into something a lot bigger and a tad more comprehensive available here

black swan

Aronofsky’s Black Swan utilises fantasy and the unreal to build suspense and consequently unnerve the audience in moments of classic horror. The extravagant device of physical metamorphosis reflects the transitional state of the Swan Queen and is the result of a flexible equilibrium suggested by Nina’s mental state. However, her psychological condition coupled with the subsequent moments of surrealism support a subtext that is prominent in the film.