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“Psycho Bitches”: A Discourse Analysis of the Representation of Mentally Ill Women in Modern Film (2003-2014)

Disley, Beth (2016) “Psycho Bitches”: A Discourse Analysis of the Representation of Mentally Ill Women in Modern Film (2003-2014). Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

"In past research, it has been found that mental illness is depicted negatively in film and television, and that people often display stigmatising attitudes towards the mentally ill. Additionally, the knowledge that mental illness is often a gendered experience leads the researcher to ask how mentally ill women specifically are depicted in contemporary film (from the past 11 years). This research was done from a social constructionist point of view, using a mixture of discourse analysis, polytextual visual analysis and Foucauldian discourse analysis to analyse the construction of mentally ill women in film. During the process of analysis, it was found that mentally ill women in contemporary film are depicted as crazy, troublemakers, powerless and infantilised. Therefore it was established that negative depictions of this group are still prevailing, albeit in a more insidious and inconspicuous manner than in the past. It is hoped that this research, as well as further research in this area will contribute towards a positive shift in depictions of mentally ill women in film in the future. "

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