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Postfeminism, Ambivalence and the Mother in Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011)

Smyth, Sarah Louise (2020) 'Postfeminism, Ambivalence and the Mother in Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011).' Film Criticism, 44 (1). ISSN 0163-5069

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Abstract

Despite concerns that, with the rise of popular feminism, we may be post-postfeminism, a postfeminist sensibility is “both intensifying and becoming hegemonic.” What is notable about this renewed postfeminist sensibility is its “turn to interiority,” interpellating subjects through an affective script of happiness and positivity. The mother is a central subject in this construction; she is called forth to display blissful joy and happiness at all times. In contradistinction to the demand for maternal happiness, this article suggests that maternal ambivalence is an emotional state where the hegemony of postfeminism’s affects can be registered and critiqued. Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011) illuminates the feminist political strategies at work in the representation of maternal ambivalence. Reading the film’s mother through ambivalence, this article argues that We Need to Talk about Kevin offers a radical departure from postfeminism’s affective orientation towards maternal happiness.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2020 13:42
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/27887

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