Week 3 – Ryan Beggs

This weeks readings focused primarily upon how the characters in Johnny Guitar are portrayed and how an audience might analyze their attributes. In “Camping Under Western Stars: Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar” by Pamela Robertson the character Vienna (Joan Crawford) is taken a closer look at. Crawford’s character “represents the castrating women who usurp masculine power and must be punished or returned to femininity” (34). Crawford’s character challenges common perceptions of how the female should interact with conflict in social, political, and public arenas. I took it upon myself to watch a clip of Vienna interacting and confronting some antagonists and within the first few seconds I could already see simplistic traits that were given to Vienna to embody feminine power. She was dressed in a simple and professional black blouse,  a small tie, a rugged belt with gun holster, and her hair had been done back in such a way that eliminated any whimsical traits she may posses. I am excited to see how this character confront patriarchal motifs within this particular film. In Susan Sontag’s “Notes on ‘Camp'” she discusses some definitions of what camp means and how exactly this trait is perpetuated. Simply by dressing Vienna in such a way that allows her to emulate more powerful and butch feminine traits may speak to a form of camp. This idea is confirmed when Sontag explains that “Camp taste has an affinity for certain arts rather than others. Clothes, furniture, all the elements of visual decor, for instance make up a large part of Camp” (278).

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