A textual analysis of traditional representations of women in The Queen's Gambit
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The following research was conducted to answer its central question: In how far does the representation of the main protagonist in the TV miniseries The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix, 2020) break with traditional representations of women in audiovisual media? The process of answering the research’s main question entailed a textual examination of chosen materials gathered for investigation. The author chose four separate scenes from series’ four different episodes. The choice selection of four scenes relied on their connection to each other regarding the show’s repeating themes and problematics linked to the concepts related to traditional representations of women in audiovisual media (representation, traditional gender representations, and gender ideals, traditional representations of women in audiovisual media). Chosen scenes were also selected to point out the main protagonist’s character development and to help analyze how she deals with and views issues concerning the impact that her gender has on her profession throughout different stages in her life and career in the series. The scenes were analyzed using a textual analysis method based on John Fiske’s theory regarding cultural codes and their categorization to levels in television. The analysis’s results were based upon further contextualization of the author’s detailed analysis of scenes’ mise-en-scene elements and dialogues, as per Fiske’s television codes theory. Conducting textual research of The Queen’s Gambit’s four scenes showed that the portrayal of a series’ protagonist as a highly independent, intelligent, and driven woman goes against traditional representations of gender ideals and women in audiovisual media on a large scale. The results have also shown that contemporary audiovisual media needs more series with unrestrained female protagonists such as Beth Harmon from The Queen’s Gambit to point out and separate from biased stereotypical representations that are influenced and consolidated by oppressive systems such as patriarchy. The research aims to contribute to the current academic debate on traditional representations of females in audiovisual media through these results.