Once again I’m happy to have co-written a chapter with editor Doug Brode. — Westward Ho! The Women!: Frontier Females in Postfeminist Films
Our first was collaboration came in The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color – this one gave me a chance to analyze female characters in westerns produced after 2000.
Sadly, you’d think their new-ness would have made for more interesting, nuanced female characters but, as I say in the chapter, the most well-rounded, honest and real representations of females in westerns in the (supposedly) 21st century came from one of the youngest characters (Mattie Ross in True Grit) and from one of the animated characters, who is not even a female human, but a female lizard (Beans in Rango). And once again, as I am finding more and more, whether the screenwriter was female or male often made a difference.
Focusing on twenty-first century Western films, including all major releases since the turn of the century, the essays in this volume cover a broad range of aesthetic and thematic aspects explored in these films, including gender and race. As diverse contributors focus on the individual subgenres of the traditional Western (the gunfighter, the Cavalry vs. Native American conflict, the role of women in Westerns, etc.), they share an understanding of the twenty-first century Western may be understood as a genre in itself. They argue that the films discussed here reimagine certain aspects of the more conventional Western and often reverse the ideology contained within them while employing certain forms and clichés that have become synonymous internationally with Westerns. The result is a contemporary sensibility that might be referred to as the postmodern Western.