Maud Lavin - Push Comes to Shove: New Images of Aggressive Women

11/03/2010 6:00 pm

In the past, more often than not, aggressive women have been rebuked, told to keep a lid on, turn the other cheek, get over it. Repression more than aggression was seen as woman’s domain. But recently there’s been a noticeable cultural shift. With growing frequency, women’s aggression is now celebrated in contemporary culture—in movies and TV, online ventures, and art. In Push Comes to Shove, Maud Lavin examines these new images of aggressive women and how they affect women’s lives.

Aggression, says Lavin, is necessary, large, messy, psychological, and physical. Aggression need not entail causing harm to another; we can think of it as the use of force to create change—fruitful, destructive, or both. And over the past twenty years, contemporary culture has shown women seizing this power. Lavin chooses provocative examples to explore the complexity of aggression: the surfer girls in Blue Crush; Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect; the homicidal women in Kill Bill and artist Marlene McCarty’s mural-sized Murder Girls; the erotica of Zane and the art of Kara Walker; the group dynamics of artists (including the artists group Toxic Titties) and activists; and YouTube videos of a woman boxer training and fighting.

Women need aggression and need to use it consciously, Lavin writes. With Push Comes to Shove, she explores the crucial questions of how to manifest aggression, how to represent it, and how to keep open a cultural space for it.

Book List
$28.00
ISBN-13: 9780262123099
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: MIT Press (MA), 8/2010

$20.00
ISBN-13: 9780262621700
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MIT Press (MA), 8/2002

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