The Piano Gender

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In relation to gender in the films The Piano, The Searchers and Meshes of the Afternoon, there are prominent issues in relation to how they are represented within the realm of the movie screen. However, these representations correlate with societal conventions for the times these films were set in. All of these films represent women as being subservient and submissive, while the men are strong, dominant and assertive. However, there is a collapse in relation to these representations as gender roles are subverted, which contrasts with gender ideals from global society. As a result, we see the male characters become feminine and the female characters become masculine. However, we see a unity of the genders at the end, which makes viewers question…show more content…
However, as the films progress, we see that their hard exteriors unravel to reveal a more soft, emotional and caring side to them. In essence, these men are subverted from their gender conventions and have therefore become emasculated. This subversion is clear within women as they turn masculine. Evidence to prove this idea is in The Piano with the character of Ada at the beginning of the film. She has all the qualities of a stereotypical man. For example, she is stubborn as she refuses to leave the beach without her piano. Furthermore, she refuses to show any affection towards Alisdair, who is pining to feel the love of a woman. Moreover, when the couple are taking their wedding photo, it is clear that Ada does not care what her appearance looks like, while Alisdair continuously touches his hair and runs a comb through it. This demonstrates femininity in Alisdair as he cares about what he looks like around Ada. In essence, there is a clear sense of gender reversal between these two protagonists as Alisdair is feminine and Ada is…show more content…
However, there are also elements of all three films that solidify gender conventions and the cultural performance of genders. This is evident in the way that the characters dress as well as behave. However, Meshes of the afternoon subverts this idea with the female lead dressing in what is deemed masculine clothing. Even though there is a hint of masculinity in females such as Ada from The Piano, Debbie from The Searchers and the female protagonist from Meshes of the Afternoon, the downfall of women is still evident and the only way a woman can be saved is by the help of a man, who according to Schatz is the hero (p.570). This is demonstrated in The Searchers and The Piano when Debbie is saved by Ethan and Ada saved by
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