The Image of Gender Stereotypes Reproduced in “Hable Con Ella”

By Zoi Arvanitidou and Dionyssios Gouvias.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The purpose of this proposal is to present a “different” dimension and view of the cinematic image through the gender looking glass. “Hable Con Ella”, by Pedro Almodovar fulfils that purpose. This film is signalled by the powerful presence of women and the discussion of the feminine wishes and desires. There is always an apparent ambiguity of gender in the characters. This ambiguity exceeds the conventional assumptions concerning “masculinity” and “femininity”.
The four heroes of the film interpret complex gender roles and in certain cases overlook them. Hidden under the narrative exists an underlying perversion and an invisible irony that very thinly mocks the inflexible binary gender stereotypes determining the relations between men and women. In Almodovar’s world the gender’s identity is never determined in an absolute manner, let alone binary. Rather, it always exists in an intermediary situation of instability easily inverted and overthrown by the director in order to reverse the prevailing gender stereotypes.
Marco is a sensitive man presenting many of the feminine qualities in his character contradicting the stereotypical masculine image. Opposing that is Lydia, a female matador, an “absolute” female, carrying many masculine characteristics against her feminine sensuality and image.
The other two characters, an orderly and a comatose dance student assist Almodovar’s laborious exploration of women, of the physical body representing them and their vulnerability and enigmatic nature. The imaginative communication between them is the mechanism forming wishes and desires innate in the flow process of libido. With the conviction that the untold wish will be revealed at its realization stage, men tend to invest on an imaginative woman that encourages and facilitates the flow of libido between the sexes. The man undertakes the role of the charmer or the regulator of the relationship. The reality is that such a woman does not exist.

Keywords: Gender, Communication, Body, Cinema, Gender Ambiguity

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.35-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 654.721KB).

Zoi Arvanitidou

MA Student, Dept. of Sciences of Pre-School Education and Educational Design., Gender, New Forms of Education, New Forms of Employment and New Technologies in the Information Age Postgraduate Program, University of Aegean, Thessaloniki, Greece

Zoe Arvanitidou is a graduate of the Department of Clothing Design and Technology of the Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki in Greece. She is nearing completion of her MA in “Gender, New Forms of Education, New Forms of Employment and New Technologies in the Information Age” at the Univeristy of Aegean and also has a degree from the School of Pedagogical and Technological Education of Greece. She has also been a fashion designer assistant and stylist and a trainer for more than four years in the area of Fashion Education and Design. Mrs. Arvanitidou also wrote a book on Organizing and Presenting a Fashion Collection (ISBN: 978-960-930481-8). She is a fashion editor in various fashion e-zines and magazines, authored a paper on “Advantages and Disadvantages of e-Learning” and co-authored two more papers on “Using Open Source Software in GIS Training and Education” and “The need for Quality Management Systems in GI related education in Greece”.

Dr. Dionyssios Gouvias

Assistant Professor in Education Policy, Department of Pre-school Education and Educational Design,, University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece

Mr Dionyssios Gouvias is an Assistant Professor in Education Policy of the Department of Pre-school Education and Educational Design at the University of the Aegean.