This paper addressed the issue of under-researched area of understanding the portrayal of gender in sports movies. The research focused on understanding the representation of gender in sport movies that center on traditionally-perceived feminine sport, figure skating. The research question asked How is gender represented in The Cutting Edge movies? The Cutting Edge movies are four sports and romance comedy movies that have been produced in Hollywood between 1992 and 2010. These movies in particular are interesting to study because they depict one male and one female main character per movie, thus providing equal importance to the characters in regard to the movie plots. The research was conducted following the feminist film theory, masculinity studies and cultural studies. Feminist film theory guided the research because it theorizes about unequal, biased and discriminatory representation of women and femininity on screen. Masculinity studies argues that a plurality of masculinities exists, but only one is commonly accepted by the society as the dominant and manliest representation of men’s gender. Cultural studies embrace the former two academic fields and seek to understand the portrayal of gender in cultural products, ultimately answering what ideology is spread through the consumption of movies. Therefore, the study is situated in critical gender perspective that paid special attention to the progress of gender portrayal throughout the movies. Furthermore, the answers to the research question were obtained through the social semiotic and thematic analyses. The researcher observed patterns and themes in the movie scripts, which were created both deductively and inductively, although they were always based on the aforementioned theoretical framework. By utilizing the social semiotic analysis, the researcher seeked to find signifying indicators of gender representation in the movies. The signifying indicators were technical movie elements, such as angle and lighting. Findings of the research showed that ample of theoretical gender-related concepts were applicable to The Cutting Edge movies. Sixteen themes exuded from the scripts and the findings in the social semiotic analysis resulted in 7 subsections that answer the research questions. The subsections that explain the findings of the research are (1) Portraying gender through sexuality, (2) Masculinity as an exclusion of femininity, (3) Virginal daughters, (4) Gendering nicknames, (5) Shrewish behaviour, (6) Emotional expressiveness and (7) Negotiating identity. Moreover, the analysis suggests that the four analysed movies reinforce the traditional gender values, which in turn supports the patriarchal ideology. The applicability of concepts like virginal daughter and shrew onto female characters reduces with the movies published more recently. The portrayal of masculinity evolves within male characters and is accepted as an updated version of masculinity.

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M. Sommier
Media, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

K. Weygand. (2019, June 24). Qualitative analysis of The Cutting Edge movies and their gender representations. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from