1). How is Paikea a female counter-stereotype? Use the “female gaze” theory to
describe how the film and the character fit this model of the female perspective
and female “voice”. Use the web links provided in Week 11 module on the Female


In the film. Paikea  is a young girl who is usually snubbed by her grandfather. From birth hes rejective towards due to the fact shes not a boy. In the article the “female gaze” i feel it best describes the situation Paikea is suffering from within her community. Rubiyat Hossain says the following on paragraph 3,  “a woman must operate, bearing the burden of cultural, national, ideological, and spiritual iconification. She is never fully recognised as a human subject; either a Goddess, or a Whore, an animal who is only valuable because of her body parts that can give pleasure to men”. In the Whale Rider  we see a discriminated Paikea suffer and become neglected by her Grandad because of her gender and he would rather have no part of her. He resists from her taking part in tribal practises with the taihaha sticks stating that he’d rather have the young and stronger boys take part. But throughtout the film we see her thrive in these skills far beyond the other boys. But instead of his support he becomes furious with her actions and feels some sort of shame towards Paikea.


2. How is Whale Rider a statement of empowerment
for women and girls? How does Paikea challenge gendered expectations? Use
scenes/characterization/dialogue from the film to give examples.

The film, Whale Rider spreads a strong message to women to empower themselves and to never be opressed by whomever it maybe.  Throughout the film we see an innocent Paikea suffer from mainly her grandfather due to the fact shes a female. Starting from birth she has been opressed. Her grandfather furious at the fact she wasn’t a boy .  Throughout the film we see an affectionate Paikea try to win over her grandad  but to no avail. For example, Pai wins the fight in the Taipaka battle against one of the boys. As her Grandpa witnesses it he becomes furious with the outcome and embaraced on behalf of the younger male. We see her thrive in her abilites with the Maori ceremonies/ritual practices. She even outshines the boys in retaining her grandfathers whale necklace. Even though with all the scrutiny she gains from her grandfather (Koro), she never stops in any of her attempts to gain his acknowledgement/acceptance. She symbolises strong empowerment throughtout the film and never gives up.


3). How is Whale Rider an example of “counter-cinema” and the “female gaze”? Use the
1990’s Lecture notes in Week 11 Module to help with this answer and the
“Hollywood” article by Kord and Krimmer in the course package.

it shows a young female overcoming major obstacles, such as opression, discrimination, and even doubt from her loved one, Koro.  We see throughout the film that Paikea is no accepted for who she is trying to  become, for example her Koro forbids her in partaking in the rituals as she now has to hide and watch in fear of her grandfather catching her. In the article Female Gaze the author makes a reference stating, “Men and women don’t live the same reality. They belong to different plains of power and are meant to see different versions of the same images as they both stare at one single object, or truth, or reality”.  I felt as if throughout Whale Rider, that the men in the film (mainly Koro) was a heavy representative of that. As he would not respect or acknowledge both His wife, Nanny or Paikeas opinions. Subliminally/inadvertently, it was as if he were to say as long as your females there opinions are none of my concerns and he would be only concerned with ones who is a male. 





HOSSAIN , R. (2011). Female directors, female gaze. Retrieved from http://rubaiyat-hossain.com/2011/06/13/265/

Susanne Kord & Elizabeth Krimmer. (2005). Hollywood.




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