MIT: Independent Activities Period: IAP

IAP 2015 Activities by Sponsor - Student Activities Office

Full Throttle: Gender Representations in Car Films

Renee Blackburn

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

Like a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, gender stereotypes of women in car films should be broken. The dominant stereotype of gender in car films centers on a beautiful woman with little or no knowledge of cars who plays the eye candy or prize to be won of the dominant male “car guy.”  During this IAP series we will examine this portrayal of gender in car films and challenge its validity as a stereotype. After each film, we will discuss questions such as: What is “car culture” and how is it portrayed in the film? What gender stereotypes were present? What are the major themes of the film? How are minorities portrayed? Do these films break any barriers or stereotypes about gender and cars?

During this short series we will watch four films.

Heart Like a Wheel (1983)

Christine (1983)

Disney's Cars (2006)

Trucker (2008) 


Snacks will be provided. The website for the series, with additional content and the required registration form to sign up for each film, is availabe here:


Please note that this is taking place in 3-310, the Margaret Cheney Room, MIT's Women's Community Center. Usually a women's only space, for this series the main community room will be open to the entire MIT community regardless of gender.

Sponsor(s): Student Activities Office, Women's and Gender Studies, Science, Technology, and Society
Contact: Renee Blackburn, RMBLACK@MIT.EDU

Heart Like a Wheel (1983)

Add to Calendar Jan/20 Tue 05:00PM-08:00PM 3-310

Shirley Muldowney is determined to be a top-fuel drag racer, although no woman has ever raced them before. Despite the high risks of this kind of racing and the burden it places on her family life, she perseveres in her dream. From IMDB

Christine (1983)

Add to Calendar Jan/22 Thu 05:00PM-08:00PM 3-310

A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own and his nature starts to change to reflect it. From IMDB

Disney's Cars (2006)

Add to Calendar Jan/26 Mon 05:00PM-08:00PM 3-310

A hot-shot race-car named Lightning McQueen gets waylaid in Radiator Springs, where he finds the true meaning of friendship and family. From IMDB

Trucker (2008)

Add to Calendar Jan/28 Wed 05:00PM-08:00PM 3-310

A trucker, leading a life free of depth and on the way to nowhere, is forced to make a decision about her aggressive loner 11-year-old son whom she openly deserted ten years previously. From IMDB

Note: movie is rated R for reasons including a scene involving a sexual assault.