Title: The geometry of gendered conflict in popular film: 1986 – 2000
Journal / Publication: Sex Roles
Issue: 5 – 6
Pages: 201 – 217
Authors: Hedley, Mark
In this qualitative content analysis of 150 popular films, the meaning of gendered conflict in contemporary popular culture is addressed from a systems theoretical perspective. Gendered conflict occupies a central position in these films and is normatively structured in terms of networks of romantic/sexual conflict based upon the geometric foundation of the triangle. Triangles are found to invoke dualistic pairs of stereotypes among characters who are competing for the attention of a common focus of attraction. When men occupy the center of triangles, dualism involves the Madonna/Whore archetype. When women occupy the center, dualism alternates between Hero/Villain and Prince/Scoundrel archetypes. Norms, values, and expectations regarding gendered conflict are found to foster male privilege in each archetype.