The spatial ideologies and narrative tropes of gendered victimhood, which are designed to induce fear and anxiety, are routinely employed to govern and restrict female access to and experience of urban spaces—both in cinematic depictions and in the real world. This paper explores how such tropes are challenged and rewritten in three screen narratives based in urban landscapes: London in Happy-Go- Lucky (2008), Paris in Amélie (2001), and New York in Sex and the City (1998–2004). Contrary to the ideologies of fear that routinely dominate urban narratives, I will argue that the texts under discussion instead display the city as a space of potential female sexual, social, and spatial emancipation—most notably achieved through employing the comedic genre to express the potentially subversive power of comedy in overthrowing gender and social hierarchies. My primary focus will remain on the narrative techniques that these texts employ to rewrite what I refer to as the “fear script” and to dismantle motifs of gendered victimhood.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.