Sharon Stone, screen diva: stardom, femininity and cult movie fandom

Feasey, R (2003) 'Sharon Stone, screen diva: stardom, femininity and cult movie fandom.' In: Jancovich, M, Reboll, A, Stringer, J and Willis, A, eds. Defining cult movies: the cultural politics of oppositional taste. Manchester University Press, pp. 171-184. ISBN 071906631X


The following chapter will provide an analysis of Edward Margulies and Stephen Rebello’s Bad Movies we Love (1993), a compilation of film reviews that had been published previously in the popular film magazine Movieline, paying particular attention to its handling of Sharon Stone, a star that not only receives a chapter all to herself but who also wrote the foreword to the book. In the process, the book provides different images of Stone, although it is mainly concerned with her early career. Rather than concentrate on her star status, which had been established a couple of years before with the phenomenal success of Basic Instinct (1992), the authors invite the reader to “revisit the career milestones that made the beauteous towhead what she is today” (Margulies and Rebello, 1993: 135). In this way, the authors establish Basic Instinct as the context for a humorous retrospective on Stone’s career: “Before Sharon Stone came on strong as the leggy, scene-stealing stinker in the otherwise forgettable Basic Instinct, she had honed her craft in some real stinkers” (Margulies and Rebello, 1993: 135). These comments also highlight the specific concerns of the authors. Stone is presumed to be not only a bad actress but also one who is defined by her body and hence assumed to be dumb blonde. When her acting is mentioned it is referred to as a “tour de farce” (Margulies and Rebello, 1993: 138), and she is often dismissed as incompetent, mannered and overblown. Her success is therefore attributed to her looks and particularly her supposed penchant for parts involving “lots of sex and acres of bare flesh” (Andrews, 1994: 78). In other words, she is an actress whose appeal is presumed to depend on her status as an object of sexual display. However, Sharon Stone is not simply presented as an object of sexual exploitation but as someone complicit in her own exploitation and hence an exploitative figure herself. However, as we will see, while this position was often used to present Stone as an active and intelligent Hollywood player who maintained power and control over her own career, Margulies and Rebello present her as a passive victim but one who is blamed for her own victimisation. In other words, the authors do not suggest that it is the sexual politics of the industry that is at fault but rather the female performers who conform to its demands.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Divisions: Bath School of Art, Film and Media
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2012 04:45
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 19:40
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